Jan 15, 2020
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Debenhams lays out sustainability vision for the next decade

Jan 15, 2020

Debenhams is hoping the lead the way to sustainable department store retailing with a series of ambitious new targets for the 2020s.


The new standards build on the progress made by Debenhams in the last year, when the British retailer managed a 22% reduction in the amount of packaging it uses. 

Looking ahead to the next decade, the company has committed to sourcing 100% of its cotton from sustainable sources by 2022. All cotton garments in the core Mantaray collection for the 2020 season will be sourced from the Better Cotton Initiative, and by September 2020, all own brand product sold in a Debenhams store will have at least one sustainable attribute.

Further objectives including sourcing sustainable packaging; reducing water and chemical use; reducing wastage and cost; and recycling and reusing materials wherever possible.

“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,” said Angela Morrison, director of stores, technology & supply chain.

In August, the retailer joined the Better Cotton Initiative, the largest cotton sustainability programme in the world. Almost 1m kg of BCI cotton has already been sourced by the department store, the equivalent of 2.2 million pairs of jeans.

In the future, Debenhams’ cotton garments will be made using either BCI, organic or recycled fibre, it explained. This applies to the core Mantaray collection as well as the Hammond by Patrick Grant label. And it follows the launch of the Kate MacMahon capsule collection last season, with all pieces made with a minimum of 50% sustainable fibres.

“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,” said Steven Cook, Debenhams MD of Fashion, Home & Beauty.

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