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 break down our extensive supply chain in order to identify the areas we can make the biggest impact.
With more than 1,300+ stores in 20 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 on 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 consider several factors to reduce the impact our store build may have on environment. When building or renovating a new store, in most countries we operate in, we use recycled brick and LED lighting to reduce energy use. We also place emphasis on having new shop fixtures and fittings made to order to reduce surplus and minimize unused materials. We consolidate shipments to reduce the impact of carbon emissions and reuse fixtures and shop finishes where possible when relocating or renovating an existing store, significantly reducing waste.
Additionally, we actively encourage team members to be mindful of the resources they use, including energy and water. In October 2018 the Cotton On Group commenced a program to remove plastic shopping bags from our operations. Removing plastic bags from our point of sale is an important first step in our Sustainable Packaging Plan, where we aim to reduce or eliminate the impact our packaging has on the natural environment.
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. We also offer a variety of delivery methods and integrate our brick and mortar and online purchases to service our customer in whatever way works best for each purchase. These include store to door and click and collect in most countries we operate in and same day delivery in some metro areas.
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 supply chain, distribution and ecommerce teams are aligned in our commitment to be fast and flexible to meet customer demand.
But whether it’s from our suppliers to our distribution centres or our distribution centres to our stores or 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 and fixtures more sustainably and more efficiently.
At our distribution centres, we have stringent policies that support the recycling of materials such as plastic, cardboard and metal.
In 2018, our largest distribution centre located in Victoria, Australia, began using a custom and purpose built packing machine. The CMC packer cuts each cardboard box custom to the size of the every order. And, as a result we are seeing a 25% reduction in the space required to transport the same quantity of cartons. Over time this will equate to less trucks on the road, leading to lower emissions.
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