You are here


From our environmental footprint to our pioneering Project Ocean campaign, discover how we are working with our partners to deliver a better, sustainable future.

In focus

A message from Alannah Weston, Deputy Chairman of Selfridges Group

At Selfridges, we know that part of our extraordinary customer experience comes from making sure our customers can trust our environmental and ethical standards.

Our customers care more than ever about the origins and the content of the products they buy from us. They also care about how these products get from source to shelf and how we reduce, reuse and recycle our packaging.

We want to inspire our customers and partners to join us in doing the right thing for the environment. With thousands of customers choosing to shop at Selfridges every day, we have a responsibility to take a stand, raise awareness of the issues that matter and make a positive difference to the way we shape our future. We call this 'retail activism'.

Our pillars for building a better future

We focus on four pillars to drive change.


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


We focus on our team members because they are at the heart of the way we do business and it's their talent and skills which takes us from ordinary to extraordinary.


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.


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.


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 do more with less, 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 all three carbon standards, recognising ongoing achievements in reducing carbon emissions and water use, and an improvement in waste management.

We have focussed on a number of sustainability initiatives which 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.

We will reduce our carbon footprint by 15% by 2020.

Our deliverables and targets this year include:

  • Reduce night-time electricity consumption by 30%
  • An improvement in our recycling rate from 20% to 50%
  • Continue our commitment to zero waste to landfill
  • The removal of plastics across our non-merchandise consumables range

The initiatives already delivered in 2015 include:

  • A programme of installing LEDs across our lighting schemes
  • Improved lighting controls
  • The removal of extra-large plastic carrier bags and plastic cups whilst also introducing plain brown packaging for our Click & Collect orders
  • The installation of all new bins, improved signage and a new full-time refuse handler

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
  • Continuing the development of our environment strategy to minimise our impact and meet our targets
  • Maintaining our focus on the environment from senior leadership and strong governance within the business as we continue to review policy and targets leading to continuous improvement
  • Our environment strategy is governed by our Health, Safety and Environment Steering Group, chaired by our executive directors responsible for this area. The group meets quarterly and drives momentum across all business areas. The Environment Working Group meets monthly and reports into the steering group. As well as reporting back each month on progress and key next tasks, the EWG is responsible for ensuring the Environmental Steering Group is kept informed of progress against targets
  • 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 our team members and our customers and deliver engaging campaigns to enable team members and customers to take action to help protect our environment and make informed purchases

Since 2011 we have reduced our contribution to climate change by buying all our electricity from renewable sources (from wind, biomass, landfill gas and hydro). Unlike fossil fuels, these renewable energy sources are naturally occurring and will not run out.

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 29% of our waste and are targeting to increase this to 50% by the end of 2015 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 entire supply chain. 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 set yearly water reduction targets of 5% and have reduced our absolute water use by 5% since 2011.

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.


We take great care with all our packaging. From our distinctive yellow bags to the little details of theink and varnish we use, we work hard to make the right choices.

We are determined to make all our packaging environmentally friendly. In 2006 we removed all but one of our plastic carrier bags and switched them to recyclable paper with accredited standards (see below). The carrier bag which we do use for extremely large items is recyclable.

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.

Our packaging choices

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.

On our medium, large and extra-large luxury yellow bags, we also 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


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.

Our five Values are:

  • We own customer experience
  • We lead and inspire
  • We take responsibility and deliver
  • We show respect
  • We share our knowledge

We know sustainable businesses attract and retain the best talent. People want to work for organisations with a clear social purpose, which stand up for the issues that matter and 'do the right thing'.

At Selfridges, sustainability is deeply rooted within our heritage. As our founder Harry Gordon Selfridge said, 'People will sit up and take notice of you if you will sit up and take notice of what makes them sit up and take notice.'

We Own Customer Experience

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 the most. 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. Our communication channels include our So Selfridges newsletter and TV channel. But it's our face-to-face communications where things really come to life - whether it's through our pre-store opening 'wow' and pop-up presentations harnessing the creativity of our team members from the shop floor, or spectacular conferences and awards ceremonies with a splash of theatre.

We Lead and Inspire

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. It's a part of our on-boarding programme for new joiners and there are regular sustainability master classes, briefings and talks, as well as opportunities to work with our community partners.

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 participating in our Ethical Trade workshops led by The Centre for Sustainable Fashion, which will culminate in a Selfridges Ethical Trade Handbook, created by and 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 Take Responsibility and Deliver

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.

This year, our Project Ocean campaign is focusing 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. The plastic collected by the volunteers will not only reduce the amount in the Thames but will be recycled in order to create a unique piece of art work which will be displayed in our Oxford Street store.

We recognise team members for their support to make Selfridges more sustainable through our annual Extraordinary People Awards and in 2014, Georgina Rowe, won the award for her work managing an amazing submission to The Carbon Trust.

Last year we not only gained re-accreditation to The Carbon Trust for our work on energy saving and a reduction in our carbon footprint, we were also the first department store in the UK to be awarded The Carbon Trust Triple Standard Award. With the support of all our people, we continue to work hard to reduce our energy and water usage and our levels of waste.

We Show Respect

Showing respect and being considerate of those around us is a big part of who we are. When we construct facilities 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 restaurant 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. Our customers expect this and so do our teams.

Throughout the year team members engage with a number of different communities and contribute a huge amount through donations, fundraising and volunteering. Christmas is no exception and each year many of our team members help to give thousands the gift of Christmas through a series of events and initiatives. In 2014 hundreds of team members donated toys, games and winter clothes to children's charity Kids Company, as well as helped wrap presents. Head office team members also fundraised and showed their support by sporting their favourite Christmas jumpers for a charitable donation.

Showing respect is also about building relationships and reaching out to the communities around us, which is why we are very proud to support The Royal Drawing School. Founded in 2000 by HRH The Prince of Wales and artist Catherine Goodman, the school is an independent, not-for-profit resource that aims to raise the standard and profile of drawing through teaching and practice. Selfridges donated a new 3,000 square foot studio space on Oxford Street, to the school which opened in July 2014.

We Share Our Knowledge

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.

Last year, our Recruitment Team volunteered to deliver an employability skills workshop to 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. Our team taught the group how to complete online applications, excel in interviews and explained what to expect from assessment centres.

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.

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.

Please note that due to the large volume of requests we receive, we are unable to respond to unsolicited requests for funding.


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.

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 not to sell foie gras or any fish that is red-rated by the MCS (Marine Conservation Society). We also have a strict policy on fur: we are proud not to stock or sell products containing real fur.


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.

It gives transparency to:

  • The sources of their raw materials
  • How it is manufactured
  • How ethically their employees are treated
  • Insights into the supply chain

Selfridges is using the information contained in the SEDEX database to create a culture of transparency across our supply chain and to inform our buying decisions.

Our choice of suppliers for our own label Selfridges Selection is fundamental to our commitment to ethical trading and sustainability.


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.

We are doing this through a series of eye opening, informative and inspirational talks and workshops, for understanding and engaging in sustainability dialogues and changing buying practice accordingly.


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.

Project Ocean

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.

2015 - See through the plastics problem

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

This year we are highlighting 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.

2014 - Going global

Last year 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.

2013 - Save our sharks

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

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

2012 - Spreading the word

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

2011 - No more fish in the sea

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.

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

You can find out more about Project Ocean here.