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The Retail Brands Trying to Combat Climate Change

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Regular contributor, Dakota Murphey, shares with us some of the brands working to combat climate change, and how. Dakota has more than a decade of experience in business growth, working independently as a business consultant for a number of years.

While the coronavirus pandemic may have stolen the headlines over recent months, climate change remains a very real threat that we all, collectively, need to work towards preventing.

You only need to look at the statistics for the severity of climate change to hit home; not only are atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at their highest for more than 800,000 years, but sea levels are continually rising as well, plastic is still being fished out of the ocean in huge quantities and polar bears are estimated to become extinct within the next century.

In other words, something needs to be done – and fast – otherwise the world as we know it could cease to exist in no time at all.

Fortunately, while a few individuals, companies and countries still have a long way to go, many brands within the world of retail – and fashion – are helping to do exactly that: embracing a more sustainable approach to reduce their carbon footprints and spread an important message to their consumers.

In this article, I’ll shed light on a few of these brands, demonstrating how they have each changed their approach over the years to take the fight to climate change.

IKEA

When you think about sustainability in retail, IKEA – the world’s most popular low-cost furniture producer – is one of the first names that springs to mind. After all, over recent years, they have really been setting the benchmark for other companies to follow.

Whether it be through their decision to equip each store with solar panels, only ever use eco-efficient LED-lighting or grow oxygen-producing plants on their store roofs, it’s safe to say that the Swedish behemoth really does put climate change at the front and centre of its business philosophy.

One of the biggest ways they do this is through recognising the importance of encouraging others to live sustainably, only ever using renewable, recycled or recyclable materials within the products they design.

From sustainably sourced wood to textiles that have been reused from their own recycled products, IKEA makes it their mission to implement sustainable practices in each and every element of their retail process – whether that be through the eco-friendly bio bags they package their food products in, the materials they produce their products with, or the fuel they use to power their vehicles.

Adidas

A few years back, the sports retail giant Adidas decided to completely change its working approach and make a real push towards improving its level of sustainability.

Partnering with the non-profit organisation Parley, the collaboration between the two companies has since led to the production of more than one million pairs of shoes made solely from recycled ocean plastic.

This, in turn, has had a dramatic effect on the amount of plastic that would have likely wound up back in the sea without intervention. In fact, according to Adidas’ statistics, approximately eleven plastic bottles were saved from entering the ocean per shoe that was made.

Moreover, having witnessed the benefits of implementing a more sustainable approach, Adidas then made it their aim to only use recycled plastic in their whole portfolio of products by 2024. They also said they’d cut out their plastic use across all their offices, warehouses, retail outlets and distribution centres, to help drastically reduce their carbon footprint and save more than 40 tonnes of plastic each year.

Apple

While the brand may have a little bit of a controversial reputation, it is difficult to deny that Apple really does have sustainability at its core (pun intended).

Their advertising campaigns may not make a big deal about it but, behind the scenes, Apple has contributed in a big way towards the fight against climate change.

Back in 2015, for example, the tech giants signed an almost $1 billion deal with First Solar – the largest solar farm developer in the USA. Through this business arrangement, every store, office, and data centre based around their California-based headquarters is now powered using renewable energy, replacing the need to use conventional, gas-guzzling fossil fuels.

What’s more, the packaging that Apple use in the design of their products is based solely on a sustainable model, with the paper used either 99% recycled or sourced from sustainable sources.

Plus, the brand’s Apple Trade-In and iPhone Upgrade programs actively encourage users to recycle their old Apple devices, instead of simply throwing them away when they break or a newer version comes out.

To summarise…

The three examples listed above are not the only companies making an effort to stem the tide of climate change. Other retail brands like TOMS, Patagonia and LUSH Cosmetics have all also taken great strides in embracing sustainability in the manufacturing processes they use.

However, the buck doesn’t stop with them. Ultimately, it falls on each one of our shoulders to change our behaviour and play our part in sustaining the planet we love.

Therefore, it’s important to recognise the companies that do operate sustainably and those which don’t. That way, you will not only be able to show your support towards their sustainable efforts, but you will also help do your bit to contribute to the growing movement towards combating climate change.

Lydia Mageean Lydia Mageean has been part of the WhichPLM team for eight years now. She has a creative and media background, and is responsible for maintaining and updating our website content, liaising with advertisers, working on special projects like our PLM Project Pack, or our Annual Publications, and more.Joining mid-2013 as our Online Editor, she has since become WhichPLM’s Editor. In addition to taking on writing and interviewing responsibilities, Lydia has also become the primary point of contact for news, events, features and other aspects of our ever-growing online content library and tools.