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Selfridges awarded the World's Best Sustainability Campaign by a Department Store at the Global Department Store Summit 2016

A message from Alannah Weston, Deputy Chairman of Selfridges Group

At the heart of our business philosophy is 'the human element', our social purpose. We want to use our position to inspire our people, partners and customers to respect our environment, buy responsibly and champion sustainable products that contribute to healthy and happy communities. In short, we want to buy better and inspire change.


Our team members are at the heart of the way we do business and it's their talent and skills which help us to achieve our vision of being THE destination for the most extraordinary customer experience – the goal of all our values. That's why the way we work is so important. Through living our values, our team members connect with each other and to the communities in which we live and work through creative volunteering and fundraising opportunities with our charity partners.

Project Ocean is a way that team members can connect with a wider cause. They can do this individually or with their teams. It is about showing respect for the business, yourself and the wider world. Selfridges Team Member 2015


Over the past year our Buying team has been focused on what we call Buying Better. This journey started with a training programme led by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion to understand the issues and impacts of the fashion industry. We began to shape our response to these challenges by focusing on making sustainability part of the buying conversation, ensuring our brands meet our standards on ethical trade, promoting best practice and championing new brands with a sustainable focus.

Selfridges are world leaders, and if you change what people see and what is in fashion, you start to change everything – and we have to change things: at the moment the fashion industry is the poster child for problems to do with environmental degradation, but Selfridges has the opportunity to show the positive contribution fashion can make. Professor Dilys Williams,
Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion


Our ambition is to do more with less, reducing our carbon footprint 15% by 2020. We understand that using natural resources wisely will help us to build a more resilient business for the future and that by working with our team members, brand partners, customers and communities we can continue to do more with less.

Selfridges is showing that a luxury retail shopping experience does not have to cost the Earth, becoming the first department store to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard for carbon, water and waste. Selfridges has a clear commitment to act as a responsible and sustainable business. Darran Messem, Managing Director of Certification at the Carbon Trust


Project Ocean is retail activism in action: a long-term partnership between Selfridges and The Zoological Society of London to protect our oceans. Since its launch in 2011, we have never sold or served endangered fish or seafood at Selfridges and last year we removed all plastic bags and still and sparkling single-use plastic water bottles from our store to combat the pollution of our precious oceans. We also continue to fund the Selfridges Marine Reserve in the Philippines to protect fish species and to support the local community.

Selfridges is well known for pushing the boundaries and setting global trends. It has been an amazing experience working with Selfridges on Project Ocean and using their creative genius to engage the public with ocean conservation and drive forward the sustainability agenda. Professor Jonathan Baillie, Conservation Programmes Director, Zoological Society of London


Our team members are at the heart of the way we do business and it is their talent and skills which takes us from ordinary to extraordinary.

We recognise that engaged people deliver great customer service and better performance, which is why our People Vision is: "To be the destination for the most extraordinary people experience".

Our People Vision is underpinned by our Values, which were co-created with our team members and inform how we work.


We have shaped our sustainability strategy by exploring global social and environmental trends and listening to feedback from our customers, our team members and our partners about what matters to them. We understand the value of talking, listening and taking action.

We know from the results of our annual team member opinion survey how important being a responsible and sustainable business is to making Selfridges a great place to work. Through our iconic campaigns and collaborations over the years, we have been able to engage team members and shine the spotlight on some important causes.

Engaged teams are key to delivering an extraordinary customer experience, which is why we seek to constantly inform, involve and inspire our people.


We seek to lead the way in sustainability in luxury retail and are working with team members across our business to make sustainability a core part of both what we do, and how we do it.

Each area of our business has its own sustainability targets, sponsored by our executive team, and our ambition is to translate sustainability into our business strategy by growing our business hand in hand with growing our social and environmental value. We are talking about sustainability more than ever before at all levels of the organisation, from our on-boarding programme for new joiners to sustainability master classes, briefings and talks.

Sustainability is an increasing part of our learning and development offering too. Our ASPIRE programme provides a growing number of team members with clearer career development guidance, including a host of practical tools. For our Buyers and Merchandisers this involves working with The Centre for Sustainable Fashion and creating a Selfridges Ethical Trade Handbook for our Fashion and Food Buyers.

We also have our annual Senior Leaders Programme where participants explore their personal leadership values and consider how they can contribute to the sustainability agenda and play a more significant role in making our business more sustainable.


We work as one to make positive change happen and we take our responsibilities as sustainability champions very seriously. There are many examples of our team members across our business volunteering their time and achieving some amazing results.

In 2016 our Project Ocean campaign focused attention on plastic in our oceans. To support the campaign 70 team members from Selfridges Oxford Street helped to clear plastics from shores of the River Thames.

We were the first department store in the UK to be awarded the Carbon Trust Triple Standard Award and in 2016 we gained re-accreditation to The Carbon Trust for our work on energy saving and a reduction in our carbon footprint. With the support of all our people, we continue to work hard to reduce our energy and water usage and our levels of waste.


Showing respect and being considerate of those around us is a big part of who we are. When we build or carry out renovation works we show respect not only for the environment but our customers, our teams, our neighbours and our local community.

We are famous for our extraordinary shopping environments and want our work place spaces to be equally reflective of our brand. We are in the process of upgrading many of our team member environments from our recently refurbished team entrance to our brand new London offices. Whether we are running an existing building, installing a new shopfit or building an amazing new façade on Duke Street, we have the opportunity to be more sustainable and we set this expectation with our contractors and all brands involved in the Duke Street project. Our customers expect this and so do our teams.


We believe that our success goes hand in hand with success for our local communities. So, we support and encourage our team members to share their skills and develop their learning by working with our community partners.

We have been collaborating with our volunteering and fundraising partners, including Zoological Society of London (ZSL), Marine Conservation Society (MCS), Blue Marine Foundation, Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) and Centrepoint over the past five years to fundraise, volunteer our time, deliver workshops and offer placements at Selfridges.

Each year, our team members support an employability skills workshop for young people in support of Centrepoint's Workwise programme, which is designed to improve unemployed youngsters' chance of getting a job over the Christmas period.

For the past three years, we have entered a Selfridges team into the Centrepoint Sleep Out to fundraise and raise awareness of homelessness.

We are proud of our talented teams and will continue to empower our people as well as encourage the sharing of knowledge, skills and expertise across our organisation and beyond.



We focus on our partners because we know that by working as one we can co-create a step change in ethical trade across fashion, food and beauty.

Over the past two years our Buying team has been focused on what we call Buying Better. This journey started with a training programme for our buying and merchandising functions, led by the Centre for Sustainable Fashion to understand the issues and impacts of the fashion industry.

We began to shape our response to these challenges by focusing on making sustainability part of the buying conversation, ensuring our brands meet our standards on ethical trade, promoting best practice and championing new brands with a sustainable focus.

Our Ethical Trade Requirements underpin our approach to source with quality and deliver with care. We choose our concession partners carefully because it is important to us who represents Selfridges in our stores. We ask all our partners to share our sustainability vision by complying with our Ethical Trade Requirements.

Our Ethical Supply Chain approach falls under the three pillars of Policy, Supplier Management and Enabling & Showcasing best practice.


Our commitment to ethical trade is underpinned by Selfridges' Ethical Trading Requirements, which are legal requirements within the terms and conditions of doing business with us. We want to ensure that products sold by Selfridges are produced under humane working conditions and with respect for workers and their human rights, that animals are treated and transported humanely and that suppliers minimise their impact on the environment.

We are proud to have a strict policy on fur, and do not to stock or sell products containing real fur and as part of our commitment to Project Ocean, we do not to sell endangered fish that are red-rated by the Marine Conservation Society.


As an enabler of brands, we want to work collaboratively to make sustainable choices and keep our customers informed. Early in 2014, we became members of SEDEX, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, a not for profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains.

SEDEX provides a database of brands which details their sustainability and ethical credentials and this helps us work together with our suppliers to create a culture of transparency across our supply chain and to inform our buying decisions.


We aim to promote best practice within existing brands and champion new brands with a sustainable and commercial focus. This means supporting and growing a culture of Buying Better at Selfridges, investing in our buyers to enable them to build their knowledge on sustainability issues related to their buying categories and engaging our customers with the sustainability stories from our brand partners.

We are also working with the Centre for Sustainable Fashion as we inspire our fashion buying teams and engage their commitment and good will towards future proofing the business, whilst contributing to societal and ecological resilience.


In 1909, our founder Harry Gordon Selfridge said that 'at the heart of our business philosophy is the human element'. Today, as a family owned business, our values and our people are at the core of everything we do.

Modern slavery and human trafficking goes completely against our belief in respecting people and their importance to our local and global communities. The increasing number of people trapped in some form of slavery is truly shocking, so we must work collectively to be aware of the risks, address them and eradicate slavery from our supply chains and our own organisations.

At Selfridges, we work with our brand partners and suppliers to mitigate the risk of these issues occurring in our supply chain through our Buying Better, Inspiring Change approach to sustainable business. Put simply, our team members know that they can report any concerns and that our management will respond to them.

Read the Selfridges Modern Slavery Statement 2016/17 in full here.



We focus on our business to improve our efficiency and reduce our impact because we know we can do more with less.

We understand that using natural resources wisely will help us to build a more resilient business for the future and that by working with our team members, partners, customers and communities we can continue to take action to help protect our environment and trade sustainably and ethically. We continue to reduce our direct impact year on year and encourage our suppliers and customers to do the same.

In 2014, Selfridges was the first department store in the UK to achieve The Carbon Trust Triple Standard, recognising ongoing achievements in reducing carbon emissions and water use, and an improvement in waste management.

In July 2016, we were reaccredited with The Carbon Trust Triple Standard and continue to work on their recommendations to improve our operation in these three areas. Read our Environmental Policy here.

We have focused on a number of sustainability initiatives that have helped us to achieve this. These include innovative waste management solutions such as an aerobic food digester in the team member canteen, ensuring that food waste can be digested on site and turned into water, as well as redesigning all of our packaging to be recyclable or biodegradable. And since July 2014, our flagship store on Oxford Street has met our zero waste to landfill target.

In 2015 we set a target to reduce our carbon footprint 15% by 2020 and have made some significant progress against our targets in 2016 including:
  • Establishing an Environmental and Health & Safety Steering Group to oversee direction and monitor progress against targets
  • Establishing a working group with representatives from all key areas across the business working to minimise energy use, water and waste, use more sustainable materials and reduce our overall carbon footprint
  • Retaining our Carbon Trust Triple Standard accreditation
  • Reducing energy consumption through new chiller plants, new building management system controls and centralised electrics
  • Guidelines issued to teams who will deliver our masterplans, detailing our use of sustainable timber, low formaldehyde MDF, building with future deconstruction and recycling in mind and using recycled materials in our schemes
  • We've reduced our energy use particularly in our Oxford Street store, which is now using 10% less energy than in 2014
  • On waste, we successfully recycle 40% of the 250 tonnes of waste generated each month by the business with a target of 50% to be achieved by the end of the year
  • We continue our commitment to Zero waste to landfill
  • We now also recycle our food waste which accounts for 15% of our total recycling
  • We continue to minimise waste by launching the new Recycle Right campaign to team members in 2016
  • We have an active community of 70 Green Warrior environmental champions from across our business
  • Going forward, the challenge is greater than ever to be a more efficient and greener business

Our long-term carbon strategy is designed to inspire action from our team members and our customers and involve our partners and supply chain:

We will continue to report on and communicate our progress against targets by complying with regulatory requirements.

We will continue to develop our environment strategy to minimise our impact and meet our targets.

We will continue to develop our environment strategy to minimise our impact and meet our targets.

Maintain our focus on the environment through the senior leadership team and strong governance within the business as we continue to review policy and targets leading to continuous improvement.

We have established a network of Green champions to help drive environmental change across the business. We will raise awareness of our environment strategy with out team members and our customers and deliver engaging campaigns to enable them to take action to help protect our environment and make informed purchases.

Our Environment Working Group meets monthly and is responsible for ensuring the Environmental Steering Group is kept informed of progress against targets.


Our greatest operational impact is in our energy use.

We have improved efficiencies in this area, with improved LED lighting and chiller plant. Our target is to reduce carbon use by 15% by 2020.


We recycle plastic, glass, metal, paper and card in all our stores. In 2011, we set targets to reduce waste from construction activity to landfill. We currently recycle 40% of our waste and are targeting to increase this to 70% by 2020 and will maintain our zero waste to landfill policy.

We have partnered with waste contractor, Veolia Environmental Services, to consolidate all waste streams and achieve zero waste to landfill. Veolia is also supporting our internal engagement activity to encourage team members to reduce, reuse and recycle.


We believe responsible water use applies to conserving water and protecting water quality throughout our operation. Across our stores and offices, we focus on minimising our use of water and have implemented water saving initiatives such as upgrading toilet cisterns to be more water-efficient. We have also monitored and reduced leaks. We aim to reduce our absolute water use by 12% by 2020.


We are using a range of sustainable materials when we build new displays throughout our stores. These include panels made from either waste straw or recycled paper that provides an eco-alternative to chipboard and plasterboard. This offers a 100% recycled and 0% waste solution. We plan carefully when we develop new displays so that we do more with less, making changes to a bigger area in one session rather than smaller constructions.


From our distinctive yellow bags to the little details of the ink and varnish we use, we work hard to make the right choices across our packaging.

In 2006 we removed all but one of our plastic carrier bags and switched them to recyclable paper with accredited standards. The one plastic bag we used was discontinued in July 2015 as part of our focus on reducing plastics in our packaging. It was replaced with a reusable jute alternative.

All other items have been redesigned or are part of a longer review process to achieve the same sustainable standards while maintaining our unique customer experience.

We use FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified virgin paper for our luxury bag range. For our other paper-based bags, we are proud to be using our own PEFC (Forest certification) virgin paper. This yellow paper is made in the UK at Croppers in Kendal who follow strict environmental procedures.

Our bags feature the Carbon Trust logo which highlights our efforts in reducing CO2 emissions since 2007. FSC and PEFC certified and The Carbon Trust logo appear on all bags to raise consumer awareness of our environmental achievements.

Our gift boxes are made using 80% recycled greyboard or FSC sustainably sourced virgin artboard.

Ink & varnish
Where possible, only vegetable ink and water-based varnish is used for packaging. We continue to work with our printers and suppliers to offer sustainable options.



We focus on our customers and community to inform, involve and inspire action with those around us so we can work together to build a great future.


Bright New Things was the third iteration of the Selfridges ‘Brights’ series, this time promoting designers who put sustainability at the heart of fashion; in 2016 we highlighted nine designers championing innovative new production methods that challenge raw material waste, fast fashion labour and environmental damage.

See the film here.

To continue our sustainability focus for 2017, we have developed a scheme called Material World. The scheme examines sustainable textile development, with a keen eye on local and social stories. Who are the people behind the skills, be they handmade or technologically manufactured?

Material World is a new take on the ‘Bright’ series, as for the sixth year we seek to discover, elevate and support emerging design talent, who are exploring sustainability in the very materiality of their work. Each creative or brand has been selected for their excellence in delivering sustainability in a specific material category, from cotton to cashmere.

Selfridges Project Ocean is retail activism in action - a long-term partnership between Selfridges and The Zoological Society of London to protect our oceans. Now in its fifth year running, we share the story of how together we have triggered a sea change in the way we care for our oceans.

Project Ocean Project Ocean


Building on the success of our 2015 campaign, 2016 was about taking Project Ocean to London through our partnership with ZSL and the #oneless campaign. Internally, we focused on further reducing plastics by going 100% microbead free, with all microbeads being removed from the business by the end of 2016.


We are committed to making a big difference with Selfridges Project Ocean – both now and in years to come.

In 2015 we highlighted the dangers of single use plastic, encouraging everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics. 60-80% of all marine debris is plastic, which kills animals and breaks down into our food stream – so it's time we started to change the way we use plastics.

Here at Selfridges, we are removing all plastic carrier bags and all still and sparkling plastic water bottles from our store. Not afraid to get our hands dirty, Selfridges team members came together in June to clear plastics from shores of the Thames by Island Gardens.

We still have lots of work to do, but it’s a step in the right direction.



In 2014 Project Ocean took centre stage at the once-a-decade World Parks Congress in Sydney. A Zoological Society of London delegation spoke to a global audience of charities and government officials about the importance of Project Ocean in shifting consumer perceptions. Other successes included funding tiger shark tracking in the Western Indian Ocean and producing an engaging animation about the story of Project Ocean and our future aims.

25% of the World's shark species are now threatened and humans are responsible for killing around 100 million sharks every year.


In 2013 we bit back against stereotypes around sharks with the 'Save Our Sharks' exhibition, highlighting how important these toothy predators are to our oceans.

We are therefore committed to ensuring all products in our Beauty Hall are free from shark oil and shark by-products.


Through the Marine Reserves Coalition, we published the first ever league table of nations with marine protected areas.

To engage a new generation of customers, we launched the Kids in The Kitchen Cook-Off, encouraging budding chefs to think about the fish they serve on their plates.


We launched Selfridges Project Ocean with a storewide takeover: from extraordinary food events to amazing window installations and limited edition T-shirts by Katherine Hamnett emblazoned with the slogan 'No More Fish in the Sea'.

We ensured only non-endangered fish are sold and served at Selfridges and began producing the fish guide, which helps customers to navigate away from endangered fish. Find out which fish you should take off your menu here.

We also helped to create the Marine Reserves Coalition and raised money to develop the 50-hectare Selfridges Marine Reserve in the Philippines.


Partnerships with Selfridges
As a high profile retailer, we are approached by many charities to support good causes, all deserving in their own right. Unfortunately we cannot support them all and we believe that by channelling our resources into long-term strategic partnerships, we can maximise our positive social and environmental impact.