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August 1, 2020

Spotlight On: Shop Til You Drop Has Made the Planet Too Hot

How Selfridges’ New Initiative, Project Earth Can Change the Way We Shop

How can we change the way we shop and regard clothes? From shopping malls to the advent of the e-commerce model, it’s evident that shopping remains integral to modern life. Since the e-commerce model rose to popularity in the early 2000s, the ease at which we can shop and consume continues to complement our fast-paced lives. Amidst COVID-19, conversations surrounding the repercussions of our consumer habits have taken centre stage. As concern for the climate grows, how we shop is under heightened scrutiny—and for good reason.

For the British luxury department store, Selfridges, changing the way we shop is not only necessary but also possible. As outlined in their sustainability new initiative, Project Earth, which launched on 17 August 2020, the 111-year-old department store has publicly committed to changing the way we shop by 2050.

Repair and resell to reshape shopping

Selfridges is no stranger to sustainability and for the last decade has placed sustainability at the core of their business—in the hopes that it can inform customers about the origin and environmental impact of their shopping choices, and ultimately, change the way they shop.

By working closely with over 300 brand partners, with the additional support from the Woodland Trust and WWF, Project Earth will kickstart its efforts over the course of eight weeks beginning 17 August 2020. Various innovations and conversations aimed at reinventing retail operations will take place at stores and online channels to heighten awareness of the company’s newest endeavour, such as addressing the materials used in products; exploring new retail models, like repair and resells; and engaging with teams and new partners to inspire a shift in mindsets. Big and small steps will comprise how Project Earth will reshape how people shop. 


“Now more than ever we must double down on our efforts to reinvent retail with sustainability at its heart and a way of working which is regenerative for humans and nature.”

– Alannah Weston, Selfridges Group Chairman


A whole new way of doing business

For those familiar with Selfridges’ history, Project Earth may seem like a natural step for a company who in the last decade has made strides to instil sustainable practices into its business practices. Under the direction of Alannah Weston, Selfridges Group Chairman, sustainability has become an increasing focal point for the company. From initiatives such as Project Ocean, a conservation programme launched in 2011, in partnership with the Zoological Society of London, to create awareness about overfishing to sustainability awareness campaigns, such as “Buying Better/Inspiring Change,” sustainability remains integral to the Selfridge business model and one that Weston has championed since she joined the company in 2004 as creative director. 

Project Earth is a culmination of previous efforts towards achieving sustainability and is propelled by a broader commitment to reach science-based targets and achieve net-zero carbon by 2050 as outlined in the Paris Agreements. Similarly, Project Earth will introduce “Project Earth labelling” which will replace “Buying Better/Inspiring Change” labels introduced in 2017. This new labelling system will be displayed on signposting available to customers in the store as well as online products with sustainable attributes. Labelling a products’ origins and carbon impact has become an effective way for companies to foster a broader understanding of what makes a product truly sustainable. And to Selfridges and Weston, transparency is way forward.

“For the last decade we have taken ground-breaking steps to put people and planet at the heart of our business, embedding sustainability alongside creativity,” said Weston. “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.”


“Out of the global pandemic has come an understanding of how fragile and complex our systems are, but also how our planet and people can benefit if we act collectively with a shared purpose.”

– Alannah Weston, Selfridges Group Chairman


We have to act collectively to save the Planet

Since the launch of Project Ocean in 2011, Selfridges has remained focused on how to shift the perception and overall mindsets both inside the industry and within their customer base. Like many other fashion industry leaders, Weston recognises the need to reinvent retail model so that it prioritises sustainability and inspires its customers to do the same.

“Out of the global pandemic has come an understanding of how fragile and complex our systems are, but also how our planet and people can benefit if we act collectively with a shared purpose,” says Weston. “Now more than ever we must double down on our efforts to reinvent retail with sustainability at its heart and a way of working which is regenerative for humans and nature.”

Read more about the Selfridges’ Project Earth.

*edited. Earlier version stated ‘zero carbon by 2025’.

Close CFS+ Programme
13th October Day 2
  • 3:00 - 4:15 PM CEST
    CFS Originals

    CFS Originals are pre-produced segments created by Global Fashion Agenda; they will take you behind the scenes, where you can meet the creative minds shaping our industry. CFS Originals is designed to provide entertainment, engagement, and education for all viewers.

    Click below to add the full 3:00 - 4:15 PM CEST Originals segment to your calendar, and scroll down to learn about each segment of CFS Originals.

    Re-watch here

    Gucci President and CEO, Marco Bizzarri, is one of our industry’s leaders driving change. Having launched the CEO Carbon Neutral Challenge late last year, he’s making bold commitments for Gucci - and leading by example with Gucci's own climate strategy. Eva Kruse will virtually meet Marco Bizzarri for an honest conversation about value, nature, tackling the climate crisis in the wake of COVID-19 and what’s needed next.

    Re-watch here

    Fashion is fun, fabulous and fancy, but did you know that fashion is also closely linked to biodiversity? This explainer explores the substantial negative impact that the fashion industry has had on the total variety of life on Earth, known as biodiversity. From there, it goes one step further by explaining how fashion can evolve from being part of the problem to being part of the solution – by highlighting different solutions.

    Re-watch here

    Together with her Co-Founder Amrit Kumar, Mriga Kapadiya is the Co-Founder, Creative Director and CEO of NORBLACK NORWHITE, a women-led, creative house and fashion label based in India. Systematic transformation drives Mriga Kapadiya’s Real Talk message, which celebrates the grey space of culture through style by shifting corporate success to a holistic approach.

    Re-watch here

    High volume fashion and planetary boundaries collide in an important conversation, framed by the theme Redesigning Value, from two different stakeholder positions; Helena Helmersson, CEO of H&M Group, meets Professor Johan Rockström, Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. This intimate and in-depth discussion takes place in Helena’s summer house in the Swedish forest.

    Re-watch here

    Can the idea of equal partnerships change the industry mindset and advance collective progress? This explainer digs deeper into two different types of supply chain partnerships: Transactional vs. Relationship based. Watch and learn what it takes for the industry to shape a common future stitched solidly together with trust and equal partnerships.

    Re-watch here

    Mostafiz Uddin, Managing Director of Denim Expert Ltd. and Founder and CEO of Bangladesh Apparel Exchange (BAE) will be representing the voice, culture and experience of millions of garment makers and factory owners during the pandemic. Mostafiz Uddin is meeting Eva Kruse in this essential discussion about equal partnerships and how to build mutually beneficial relationships.

    Re-watch here

    As one of the strongest voices on the need for equal partnerships in the value chain, Delman Lee, President and Chief Technology Officer of TAL Apparel Limited joins Eva Kruse for a conversation on what needs to change in the relationship between buyers and manufacturers to accelerate sustainability. This discussion will also go deeper into understanding how to forge better and more mutually rewarding partnerships.

    Re-watch here

    As her namesake brand Ahluwalia, which is known for exploring vintage and deadstock clothing, Priya Ahluwalia’s understanding of the industry’s circularity challenge drives this segment. Watch her incorporate stunning design elements from her dual Indian-Nigerian heritage and London roots with ground-breaking new labelling tech.

    Re-watch here

    Clare Farrell is a full-time Activist and Campaigner based in London and one of the Founders of Extinction Rebellion. Leadership, honesty and ancestry of planet Earth are all featured topics here, while a devotion to personal liberty drives this Real Talk through power imbalance and climate collapse.

    Re-watch here

    Under the headline theme of Redesigning Value, we’ve invited a diverse community of global fashion leaders to share their insight, experience and pioneering perspective. All 62 carefully selected voices from around the world are given the same set of questions for thoughtful responses.

    The Next Gen Voices format, presented by Pandora, gathers a varied collection of thoughts and viewpoints from a selected group of previous Youth Fashion Summit participants. The Youth Fashion Summit is an international sustainability platform for fashion students, founded in 2012 by Global Fashion Agenda.

    Every year, this growing community convenes to generate ideas and demands to the industry, and here within Next Gen Voices, the same spirit remains from a selection of passionate young leaders.

    Take a deep breath and find your center with Nike Master Trainer Branden Collinsworth as he leads the CFS+ community through a guided meditation, crafted to provide a moment of reflection and intention-setting.

    Re-watch here
  • 4:15 - 5:50 PM CEST
    PLENARY
    Category
    #climatechange

    Global Fashion Agenda and McKinsey & Company launched the Fashion on Climate report, concluding that if the fashion industry continues on its current path, it will miss the 2030 emissions reduction targets by 50%, thus generating twice the volume of carbon emissions required to reach the Paris Agreement.

    The Fashion on Climate report provides the underlying foundation for discussing this topic, and the panel will offer dynamic interaction, demystifying numbers and terminology while encouraging an open, organic exchange between participants.

    Re-watch here
    Category
    #systemchange #consumption

    The Covid-19 pandemic has underscored that the fashion industry system is broken – with overproduction, excessive discounting and an unsustainable calendar ill-suited to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. How can key players within the system collaborate to re-imagine how the industry can operate within planetary boundaries and be more inclusive and humane?

    Re-watch here
  • 4:15 – 6:15 PM CEST
    ROUNDTABLE [BY INVITATION ONLY]
    Category
    #redesign #equality

    The German EU Presidency has informally expressed a wish for “a smart mix of voluntary and mandatory measures and a smart mix of governmental and entrepreneurial measures” in the harmonisation of due diligence standards in the EU. The European Commission is also drafting a legislative proposal, with a draft report ongoing at the European Parliament level.

    This roundtable aims to better understand these wishes and to provide initial input from the industry to EU institutions.

  • 5:55 – 6:25 PM CEST
    BREAKOUTS I - CHOOSE ONE BELOW TO ATTEND
    Category
    #newmaterials #redesign

    Tap into how the creation of a 100% 3D printed sneaker was conceived and made possible despite limitations posed by the pandemic – through a cross-border collaborative effort from Creative Director Heron Preston (New York), Designer Daniel Bailey (London) and Engineer Cornelius Schmitt (Hamburg).

    Re-watch here
    Category
    #systemchange #redesign

    How can the fashion sector grow out of growth and transition to a world of LESS? The authors of Earth Logic, Professors Kate Fletcher and Mathilda Tham, talk to three leaders of change: an ecological economist, an entrepreneur and a journalist to get to the crux of LESS, including its economic implications, worker impacts and shifting behaviours.

    Join us in a game-changing exploration of Earth Logic, which examines why less is needed, how it can be done and who can do it.

    Re-watch here
    Category
    #equality #systemchange

    The COVID-19 Garment Industry Call to Action is a set of shared commitments by actors across the sector to address the crisis created by the pandemic. The commitments define priorities that include speeding access to emergency financing for both workers and employers and establishing stronger health and social protections to contribute to a more resilient industry in the future.

    During this deep dive case study, we will discuss the achievements of the effort to date, as well as the challenges ahead.

    Stream here
    Category
    #equality #systemchange

    COVID-19 has had an immeasurable impact on the fashion industry. With the quick shift to remote engagement, including corporate offices moving to remote work and factory audits taking place offsite – what are the implications for the future of work? How is the resulting explosion of digitalisation driving sustainability improvement across the value chain?

    Join Li & Fung, Fung Group and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to explore the pandemic’s impact on work and hear how Li & Fung is unlocking opportunities for improved sustainability via digitalisation.

    Re-watch here
  • 6:30 – 7:00 PM CEST
    BREAKOUTS II - CHOOSE ONE BELOW TO ATTEND ONE
    Category
    #circularity #transparency

    Ahluwalia is known for exploring vintage and dead stock clothing, taking elements from the Creative Director’s dual Indian-Nigeran heritage and London roots. Priya Ahluwalia’s understanding of the industry’s difficulties within circularity drives her challenge on how to enable circular systems.

    This case study unlocks the vision behind her challenge, together with in-depth knowledge around how tech can enable circularity, presented by Michael Colarossi, VP of Innovation, Product Line Management and Sustainability at leading material science and innovation company Avery Dennison.

    Re-watch here
    Category
    #systemchange #consumption #transparency

    The Higg Index is designed to enable transparency. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and Higg Co have been working with brands and retailers on consumer-facing transparency pilots to understand how consumers react to sustainability performance data on a product level. Consumers report that they are interested in sustainability information on products, but they do not yet use the data to drive their purchasing behaviours.

    This session will discuss the future of Higg transparency and the learnings from testing it, as well as showcasing some examples.

    Re-watch here
    Category
    #climatechange #equality

    The case study will not only outline Timberland’s 2030 vision but also share insights into how the brand arrived at the bold goals that will drive its agenda for the next decade: from consumer insights and strategic frameworks, to supply chain partnerships and materials innovations and all the challenges faced along the way.

    Through this case study, Timberland hopes to inspire other brands and companies to pursue meaningful sustainability targets and work collectively towards a greener future.

    Re-watch here