We have guidelines in place that continually monitor our environmental performance, review environmental objectives, and identify opportunities for improved practices.

As a global fashion retailer, we recognise that responsible use of energy throughout our supply chain is essential to minimising our impact on the environment.

We acknowledge that carbon is a major contributor to global climate change and we’re committed to finding ways to reduce our environmental footprint through the use of more sustainable materials and processes.

We’re on a journey to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in support of the UN target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Our strategy is to breakdown our extensive supply chain in order to identify the areas we can make the biggest impact.

Our stores

With more than 1,500 stores in 18 countries, we pride ourselves on creating engaging, dynamic and cohesive retail spaces for our customers all over the world. Our laid-back, Australian aesthetic is enjoyed by customers globally and our portfolio of stores is reflective of this, ranging from popular high streets and world-class malls to
suburban centres and regional towns.

Across our store network, we also know it is our responsibility to ensure our retail spaces are safe for our people and customers, and make the lowest possible impact to the environment. When designing and developing a new store, we reduce the need for new materials where practical by retaining existing building fabrics and maintaining structural history. We also place emphasis on having new shop fixtures and fittings made to order to reduce surplus and minimize unused materials.

Additionally, we endeavor to decrease our global energy use by fitting our stores with LED lighting, and actively encourage team members to be mindful of the resources they use, including energy and water. Our business uses a large volume of coat hangers to display our garments, and as such we place the utmost importance on ensuring we reuse and recycle these hangers to minimize waste. The process for this varies slightly among each of our seven brands with Cotton On KIDS, for example, conducting regular stocktake of their used hangers and redistributing them across their network of stores where there is demand for them. We also use biodegradable plastic bags across all of our brands to reduce our impact on landfill.

Logistics and distribution

The Cotton On Group prides itself on the speed at which we can deliver our products to our customers; new products drop into store each week, and stock replenishment occurs daily. Our ability to operate at this pace is a result of the business’ vertically integrated supply chain which can turn around products in 4 to 6 weeks, together with our network of distribution centres around the world. Our global distribution team is aligned in our commitment to be fast and flexible and is able to fulfill 80 per cent of our customers’ orders within 24 hours.

But whether it’s from our suppliers to our distribution centres or our distribution centres to our customers’ doorsteps, we are incredibly conscious of our environmental footprint along the way, and have sustainable business practices when it comes to the transportation and distribution of our products. Since 2011, we have been reducing our use of air freight in an effort to minimize aviation fuel usage required to move our products. We are also improving our approach to sea freight by maximizing opportunities to bundle and transport our products more efficiently – this includes reducing the transportation of empty containers to collect and transport our goods.

At our distribution centres, we have stringent policies that support the recycling of materials such as plastic, cardboard, general waste and metal. Additionally, our transportation vehicles are compliant with the European Commission’s transport emissions standards.