Selfridges goes back to paper for eco gift cards
Jul 24, 2019
Selfridges is looking backwards to go forwards and is converting its gift cards from plastic to paper to support its sustainable goals. Gift cards always used to be made of paper but converted to plastic some years ago.
With a wave of anti-plastic sentiment among both consumers and businesses, gift cards are an obvious target given the huge numbers that are sold each year.
Selfridges has been one of the most vocal anti-plastic retailers in recent years, and has taken a number of steps to remove huge amounts of single-use plastics from its four UK stores. It has also banned microbeads from beauty products, used recycled coffee cups to make its distinctive yellow bags and launched other initiatives.
The gift card transformation will happen this summer, the Evening Standard reported, and the firm’s director of sustainability, Daniella Vega, said it’s important to take individual small steps to raise awareness among consumers and focus the mind on what could be done.
She said customers are increasingly asking the store to take responsibility for the plastic products it sells: “They have an expectation that Selfridges really needs to live up to, and they respond very positively when they see the changes. So it's a risk if we get it wrong, but it's an absolute bonus if we get it right.”
She also quoted research that suggested brands need to do more. Over half of customers surveyed told it they think sustainability is a joint responsibility between retailers and brands.
And the research also suggested that consumers could be more likely to patronise a store that behaves sustainably. “[Consumers] see Selfridges as having an ethical filter. And that's one of the reasons they come here because they trust our brand,” she said.
But she added that many consumers don’t seem to be ready to sacrifice any luxury and quality for sustainability, although the two can be made to work together.
She told the newspaper that focus groups showed customers “want to know about the brand story first because they're interested in fashion and design. So that comes first [with] the product and then the sustainability story, and I think if you get that out of order, it's easy to switch people off. If you keep it in the right order, then customers are really engaged and positive about the message.”
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