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Debenhams unveils new sustainability targets

Debenhams has launched new targets for sustainable fashion, including all of its cotton coming from sustainable sources by 2022.

In 2019, the business reduced the amount of packaging it used by 22%, sourced more than 2 million garments made from sustainable cotton and reduced the number of clothes hangers sent from its stores to landfill to zero.

The department store retailer has now set the following targets:

  • 100% of its cotton requirement to be from sustainable sources by 2022
  • All cotton garments in its Mantaray collection for the new 2020 season to be Better Cotton Initiative sourced
  • By September 2020, all own-brand product sold in a Debenhams store will have at least one sustainable attribute
  • All lamination to be removed from swing tickets by December 2020
  • All swing tickets to be sourced using Forest Stewardship Council paper by December 2020

An operational takeback scheme is to be rolled out to every store this spring to recycle old stock and samples in partnership with the charity NewLife, which supports disabled and terminally ill children and their families.

To achieve these targets, Debenhams has tasked its sourcing and supply chain teams and manufacturing partners with pursuing more sustainable options across all its processes. It has set the specific objectives of sourcing sustainable packaging; reducing water and chemical use; reducing wastage and cost; and recycling and re-using materials wherever possible.

Debenhams’ director of stores, technology and supply chain, Angela Morrison, said: “As a senior leadership team, we are committed to examining everything we do with a more sustainable focus. There is still a lot for us to do, but we made real progress in 2019.

“Reducing the amount of packaging we use by 22% is the equivalent of powering 79 British homes for a whole year.  Our standardised clothes hangers now use black plastic made of 98% recycled material, so we can recycle and reuse them in a closed loop. As a result, Debenhams has reduced CO2 emissions from this product by 40% and now sends zero waste to landfill.”

Steven Cook, Debenhams’ managing director of fashion, home and beauty, said: “In 2019, consumers spent increasing amounts on well-being and experiences and their focus on ethical and sustainable retailing is rising. These trends look set to continue in 2020 – fortunately, department stores are well placed to cater for them. Our goal is that every product we sell should have at least one sustainable attribute.”


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