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Homeware retailer Dunelm has launched its 2022 Sustainability Report which highlights the progress made on their Pathway to Zero Commitment – the business is on a journey to be a carbon net zero business by 2040. With innovation within materials, manufacturing and product design central to delivery, Dunelm’s progress to date includes the introduction of two customer facing initiatives – the Textile Takeback Scheme and its Conscious Choice collection.

Textile Takeback:

The instore Textile Takeback scheme was launched September 2021, with 366 tonnes* of material donated by customers in the first 12 months, with the current total up to October 2022 up to 405 tonnes. The donated textiles are given a second life with 65% of donated material reused, 20% repurposed and 15% recycled.

The initiative encourages shoppers to reduce needless waste going to landfill, by donating unwanted textile items from any retailer to Dunelm stores across the country**, as an accessible solution to re-use and recycle materials in the UK.  Dunelm has also committed to a 100% landfill diversion pledge, ensuring no donation ended up in landfill.  This pledge is further supported by Dunelm’s furniture and mattress recycling schemes.

Conscious Choice:

Launched in August 2022, every Dunelm Conscious Choice product, of which there are more than 800 individual items, is made from at least 50% lower impact materials (by product weight) including materials such as recycled glass, organic fabrics, and responsibly sourced timber which have a lower environmental impact than conventional alternatives or virgin materials. The collection is available in all Dunelm stores and online, and will be continuously expanded as new products are added seasonally. As Conscious Choice continues to evolve through better technology and increased innovation, it will also extend into new categories within Dunelm’s product offer.

Next Steps:

Dunelm is clear that the work done to date is only the start of a bigger and more complex journey.  As a retailer with thousands of own brand products and millions of customers, Dunelm is well placed to continue to deliver but the inherent challenges across every element of the supply chain means that there are no quick fixes or solutions.

Nick Wilkinson, CEO at Dunelm, said “At Dunelm, as part of our Pathway to Zero Commitment, we are working hard to embed a circular product cycle into our business – by helping our customers to shop more thoughtfully and offering them routes to recycling unwanted textile products, we hope to reduce the number of household goods that go to landfill or are made from virgin materials.   We’re investing in new skills, innovating in the design of our products, engaging with key suppliers and working with industry bodies to ensure best practice. There’s clearly a lot more to do, but we are encouraged by the opportunities for innovation in product supply and the willingness of customers to make more conscious choices.’

The Dunelm 2022 Sustainability Report also details progress made across the company’s sustainability pillars of carbon reduction, circular economy and community initiatives and sets out the brand’s ambitions for 2023.  Dunelm’s sustainability commitment extends beyond products and stores, with a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions (per million sales), across its entire operation. Lower carbon vehicles are also being trialed as part of the brand’s logistical operations. aiming to achieve 95% less CO2 emissions when compared to standard diesel trucks.

Joining Forces:

As a retailer with 1000s of own designed products and millions of customers, Dunelm is well positioned to deliver meaningful change but also recognise that there is a lot further to go, much of which sits within industry collaboration and shared goals.  To that end, Dunelm has undertaken a number of commitments including:

  • Become the first homewares signatory to Wrap’s Textiles 2030 Action Plan pledge which aims to halve carbon emissions, reduce water footprint by 30% and to introduce more circular approaches by 2030.
  • Signed the #PaperlessPledge – a new plastic and packaging policy which was implemented earlier in 2022
  • Joined the Sustainable Logistics Forum to share best practice, respond to government consultations and work collaboratively on projects to advance sustainable logistics e.g. Dunelm’s aim to move to a low emission fleet by 2030.
  • Called for industry collaboration through FIRA (the Furniture Industry Retailers Association), to develop a collective approach to furniture sustainability i.e. materials, durability requirements, instructions and care, repair services etc.
  • Support British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap to achieve net zero by 2040.

For further information on Dunelm’s progress sustainability initiatives visit https://corporate.dunelm.com/investors/reports-and-presentations/

* Dunelm reported 252 tonnes of textiles collected from September/October 2021- June 2022, in line with their financial year reporting.  As submitted to the BRC Climate Action Roadmap Showcase and as stated in the Sustainability Report, Dunelm reported 366 tonnes of textiles collected between September/October 2021- August 2022.  Current full total from September/October 2021– September 2022 is 405.8 tonnes

** 94% of Dunelm Stores participate in the Textile Takeback scheme, with a few unable to due to instore space limitations

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