Primark's Weston claims physical shops are greener than online
George Weston, CEO of Primark owner Associated British foods (ABF) has hit back at eco-based criticism of fast fashion stores saying that physical shops are greener than webstores.
Primark doesn’t currently sell online and Weston said that physical stores on high streets and in malls and retail parks have a lower footprint than online delivery vans "puffing their way up and down a street”.
He also said that the company’s global supply chain is one of the world’s best and ships goods around the world rather than using air freight so “has far lower emissions”.
He was reported in The Times saying that “far from being a problem we are a solution,” although he conceded that the rise of click & collect has boosted the sustainability credentials of omnichannel retailers.
He also refuted the idea that consumers are buying fast fashion to wear only once and talked up his company’s "solid social and environmental credentials”. Evidence for this includes the roughly £10 million Primark invested in 160,000 cotton producers to produce sustainable cotton for its jeans, among other products.
Fast fashion retailers continue to come under fire for their impact on the environment but earlier this year, the UK parliament’s environmental audit committee included Primark in a list of the top five most engaged retailers on sustainable issues, citing its actions on recycling and ethical cotton. Also on the list were Asos, M&S, Tesco and Burberry.
Some of the online sellers that Weston was aiming his comments at were among the worst performers on this front with Boohoo and Missguided being criticised.
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