Selfridges commits to new models of retailing as part of sustainability push

Department store group Selfridges has launched a new sustainability drive, with resell and repair models at the heart of the initiative.

Dubbed ‘Project Earth’, the retailer said the move was part of a commitment to change the way people shop by 2025, and aims to address materials used in products, explore new greener retailing operating models, and shift staff, partner, and consumer mindsets.

Through Project Earth, which Selfridges said builds on ten years of work to put sustainability at the heart of its business, the company wants to become “synonymous with circularity, including repair, resell, refill and rental”.

Last week, for instance, Selfridges launched a rental collection with peer-to-peer lending service, Hurr. Having first worked with the business in February in the form of a rental pop-up within its store, the retailer has made available a selection of ranges for loan, with prices starting from £30.

In the supply chain, Selfridges wants to ensure that by 2025, most environmentally impactful materials used throughout its business come from certified, sustainable sources. Underpinning the new project is a commitment to science-based targets and to achieve net-zero carbon by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement.

Some 300 brand partners, including Barbour and Levi’s,  are on board with the new initiative – and Selfridges will gain support throughout from the Woodland Trust and WWF. It all kicks off from now, with eight weeks of experiments, innovations and conversations taking place in its stores and online.

Alannah Weston, Selfridges group chairman, said: “Project Earth is not only our bold, new commitment to stretching environmental targets, it is about imagining new ways to do business, within the next five years.”

Anne Pitcher, global managing director, added: “In a way we never could have predicted, the cycle of consumption has been broken by the pandemic marking a moment of change in our customers to a more considered mindset and requiring us to set new expectations for retail. 

“We firmly believe evolving the way we do business and supporting change in the way people shop is essential to building a more sustainable business.”

One key theme of the initiative is “circularity”, with Selfridges’ new services including a repairs concierge that aims to help customers find which repair service is needed to make old items reusable. Meanwhile, 'Resellfridges' will launch in September, marking the department store group’s first own brand resale platform.