A key contributor to climate change is how much stuff we buy, and how much of it ends up in landfill, never to be recycled or reused. Destined to remain on earth – intact – centuries after we leave. Seeping toxins into the earth, our waterways and the soils where we grow our food.
So, it pays to be more mindful of where your hard earned money goes and what kind of ‘stuff’ you’re actually paying for. Today, retailers are becoming more conscious of their impact on the environment. They recognise to have a profitable future, they must change the way they operate and adapt their offering to fit in with a society that’s more socially and environmentally aware.
Enter the new generation of retailer; the conscious retailer, keen to win our business, aiming their newfound philosophies on us – the conscious consumer. We care what we buy, we care where it comes from, what it’s made of, how it’s made, who made it, how durable it is and most importantly, what happens to it at the end of its life.
So who are these retailers? They are well known, offer value, quality and variety while still being profitable.
Here’s a list of four conscious retailers to help you make more informed shopping choices…
- Invest in an ethical and transparent supply chain, establishing a Target direct sourcing office in Bangladesh to ensure their factories are operating safely.
- They joined the Impactt Benefits for Business Workers program, working with factories in developing countries to make business improvements that lead to better training, pay and conditions for workers.
- They invested in an energy efficiency program, auditing 130 of their highest energy use stores and implementing remedial works with the aim of significantly reducing overall energy consumption.
- In 2010, Target joined the Australian Packaging Covenant, which aims to reduce environmental impact by designing more sustainable packaging, increase recycling rates and reducing packaging litter. One example includes removing over 200 tonnes of unnecessary packaging from their Footwear range since they joined.
- Launched what it calls People and Planet Positive Initiative to the European market, by adverting its advocacy and supply of energy efficient lighting.
- IKEA committed to all plastic material used in their home furnishing products and packaging to be 100% renewable and/or recyclable.
- They set a goal of producing more energy than they use and are investing in wind and solar power for their own use.
- H&M have an initiative called H&M Conscious focused on making ‘fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable’.Based on seven commitments, ranging from ethical production to using natural resources responsibly
- They launched a garment collecting program to reduce waste and give old products new life. So far, they have collected over 5500 tons of unwanted garments, equivalent to about 25,000,000 t-shirts.
- They introduced recycled, organic and low impact materials across their range, in an effort to close the loop on their production processes; where products are manufactured, used, disposed of and then recycled into new product reducing the need for new raw materials.
- A Danish furniture store in Australia with two locations in Sydney, BoConcept have an Initiative for Life policy, which is a blueprint for the way they manufacture, and contribute to the environment and global community.
- They removed CFC and HCFC refrigerants from the foam in their upholstery products. These are harmful to the environment and human health.
- BoConcept banned the use of PVC (poly-vinyl-chloride),one of the most common plastic materials in the world found in synthetic leather products. In many cases, phthalates are used to soften the PVC. PVC is harmful to the environment while phthalates are considered to disturb our hormonal systems.
- They use sustainable timbers, recycled MDF and furniture board in their furniture. All Furniture has The Indoor Climate Label for good air quality.
- They are supporters of the UN Global Compact, a strategic policy initiative for businesses committed to aligning their operations with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
BoConcept Adelaide Chair
BoConcept Barcelona Coffee Table
BoConcept Boston Armchair
BoConcept Cupertino Desk
BoConcept Kyoto Sofa
BoConcept Monza Dining Table
Where to get it:
Target Store Locations
Ikea Store Locations
H&M Store Locations
BoConcept Store Locations
These retailers are proof that furniture, clothing and everyday items, can be made with less impact on the environment, can be of good quality, value and be profitable for companies that manufacture and supply them.
What’s more, sustainability can be fashionable, sexy, and affordable at the same time – great reasons to shop consciously.
Have you become more conscious of your impact on the environment? What do you do to ensure a more environmentally sustainable future? Tell us below…