Holt Renfrew becomes aggressive towards sustainability – Headline 4 Ever

Holt Renfrew, Canada’s leading luxury retailer, also wants to be considered the most environmentally friendly retailer in the country, if not the world.

On Wednesday, the company announced a “360-degree commitment” to sustainability that includes reducing emissions and waste as well as purchasing more environmentally friendly products and stopping sales of fur animals and exotic skins.

Toronto-based Holt Renfrew said it is the first and only retailer in Canada to have emission reduction targets approved by Science Based Targets, an organization that enables private-sector companies to set scientifically based emission reduction targets accordingly. with the Paris Agreements. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Holt Renfrew works to reduce scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2030 from a base year in 2019. Scopes 1 and 2 refer to GGE generated by a company’s own activities, e.g. Through gas and electricity consumption and travel.

Holt has also targeted a 28 percent reduction in Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 from a base year in 2019. Scope 3 refers to GGE generated by suppliers and suppliers.

In addition, Holt said that 67 percent of its purchased goods and services and upstream and downstream transportation will have science-based goals by 2025. The most environmentally damaging materials – cotton, leather, down and feathers, plastic packaging, palm oil and forest-derived fibers such as paper, wood and cellulosic – comes from certified / verified sustainable sources by the end of 2025.

“These goals are scientifically based. They are robust, carefully researched and serious targets, ”Sebastian Picardo, President and CEO of Holt Renfrew, told Headline 4 Ever.

“Since I joined Holt Renfrew last year, the team and I have listened to our customers, our employees and our communities across the country to better understand what they want from Holts,” added Picardo, who previously served as Vice President of Asia. luxury department store Lane Crawford. “Our customers are at the heart of our business, and we want to ensure that sustainability and innovation are at the forefront of Holts’ customer experience.

“Retail can be a strength forever, and we know our customers want to make reliable, responsible purchases,” said Picardo. “Our 360-degree commitment to sustainability removes barriers for our customers so they can act with confidence in a responsible manner.”

Sebastian Picardo

Picardo said Holt Renfrew has been involved in promoting sustainability for some time. In 2013, the H project was launched. It highlights a specific area of ​​the store and on the website a selection of environmentally conscious brands from different parts of the world. Then the H Project Approved brand was launched, marking products throughout the store in women’s clothing, men’s clothing, accessories, children’s clothing and household goods selected for craft craftsmanship, responsible production and materials and / or charitable contributions. H-project approved brand is also found on beauty products that are free of unwanted and harmful ingredients.

The new sustainability strategy was developed through insights from customers, suppliers, Holt’s own designated sustainability team and with support from Holt’s parent company, Selfridges Group and third parties such as the organization Science Based Targets and TerraCycle to help recycle used beauty products and disposable face masks used by employees. Holt has also worked with Humane Society Canada / International on the closure of Holt’s fur and exotic fur business.

In a country with a history of fur hunting, it was “a very big thing for us” to stop the sale of fur and exotic skin products, “said Picardo. “Holt Renfrew started as a fur shop in 1837.”

Holt has already started closing its fur stores. “It’s something we have to do and it’s expected of us,” Picardo said. “The production of fur is very polluting. It’s just the right thing to do … but what’s exciting is what’s next. What are the opportunities to innovate with fire partners? We will work on reinventing the outdoor business and experimenting with new materials and collaborating with new and existing brands that are innovative and environmentally friendly. ”

Holt will also stop selling cosmetic products that contain plastic glitter, and all denim range will come from “certified / verified” sustainable manufacturers before the end of 2025.

As part of a “net-zero waste strategy”, Holt said 85 percent of the waste generated in its stores is recycled rather than sent to landfills.

In addition, Holt recently developed a set of “guidelines for green building” for design, visual and construction teams that outline requirements for sustainable building materials. It covers a wide range from what is used in renovations and shops to lighting that is more efficient. Last year, Holt revived the facade of his Toronto flagship at 50 Bloor Street West. Designed by architect and design firm Gensler, the facade features 23-foot-tall energy-efficient windows, improved levels of thermal insulation that exceed the Ontario Building Code and reduce the store’s carbon emissions, and over 80 percent of construction waste was recycled.

“We see sustainability as the retail of the future, especially in the context of COVID-19. As the focus on COVID-19 and the spread of the disease begins to fade, “We predict there will be a sprint to sustainability,” Picardo said.

Asked if all sustainability initiatives would be very disruptive to the company, Picardo replied: “I would not say it is disruptive. It is a development for the company. Although the past year has been very challenging with the closure and reopening of stores and the need to put security at the top of the agenda, we are aware that the retail of the future is a sustainable future.

“We have to take the lead. We want to be at the forefront of change, not just in Canada, but globally as part of the Selfridges group; it is good for the people and the planet. it will just make Holt Renfrew a very relevant brand for the future. This is a journey. We will continue to showcase what we do with our partners, our team, our customers, to raise awareness and hopefully inspire other people to do the same. We can not do it alone. We have to do it with other people to make significant progress. ”

Holt Renfrew operates seven stores throughout Canada, including four in the greater Toronto area and one each in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver as well as Selfridges Group operates 25 stores under five brands: Selfridges in the UK; Brown Thomas and Arnott’s in Ireland; De Bijenkorf in the Netherlands and Holt Renfrew in Canada.

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