Left to right: Asta Foufas and John Hackett, Arena Flowers; Co-host Lisa Snowdon; Anne Pitcher, Managing Director at Selfridges; Co-host Stephen Webster. Image: Dave Benett.
The retail landscape is in a constant state of change, and success is a well-executed strategy that readies a business for anything. At our Positive Luxury Awards in February, we aimed to recognise an outstanding retailer facing those challenges head on with our Retailer of the Year category. The judging panel was looking for a business that has future-proofed itself by putting sustainability at the forefront of their plans, and the winner was Selfridges.
Selfridges has developed science-based targets to ensure they achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and has shown real leadership in removing single-use plastics in packaging and products. They also work to educate their customers. In June of 2019, they launched a Beauty Booth that focused on refillable, packaging-free beauty, and they’ve banned disposable wipes in their beauty halls.
“We felt it was the right moment for Selfridges to apply for the Positive Luxury Awards – after ten years of investment and commitment to sustainability, sustainability now sits at the heart of our business strategy,” says the Daniella Vega, Director of Sustainability at Selfridges. “Since launching Project Ocean in 2011, we have explored a multitude of ways in which to engage our suppliers, our partners, our teams and our customers in the journey towards responsible retail. We felt now was the moment to celebrate what has been achieved to date and to recognise the work that is still to be done; the Positive Luxury’s awards seemed a fitting way to do this.”
Asta Foufas and John Hackett from Arena Flowers, our partner for both the ceremony and this specific category, presented the award to Anne Pitcher, the Managing Director at Selfridges. During her acceptance speech, she highlighted the fact that the retailer has been rethinking materiality of both their destinations and their products, and exploring embedding circular business models, as well as changing the mindsets of their consumers.
For Selfridges, 2020 will be a year of bringing those objectives to life. So far this year, they have already phased out the sale of exotic skins, and built on their longstanding fur-free commitment. In January, they announced their intention to phase out all beauty products containing plastic-based glitter by 2021, and continuing their Project Ocean commitment to tackling plastic pollution in oceans.
Selfridges has set ambitious targets to reduce their carbon, water and waste, and they are looking beyond impact reduction to working to create a more meaningful definition of sustainable growth and responsible retail. They are launching new strategic objectives later this year to recognise their commitment to reinvent retail and make the Selfridges spirit synonymous with sustainability. “We can proudly say that sustainability is no longer part of our strategy, our strategy is sustainability.”
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Written by - Tara MacInnis