Reducing and handling waste
As we work toward closing the loop, we are also considering how we can reduce and handle the waste of our own operations.
This includes aspects, such as how we transport products, how we sell products in our retail stores, how we run our warehouses, and how we work within our headquarters and offices. At Esprit, we have a lot of opportunities to reduce waste, for example by rethinking the way we pack our goods for shipment and distribution and by also following a waste segregation system at our own offices.
We use a lot of cardboard boxes as we are moving our products to our retail stores, to our wholesale partners, or directly to our customers via e-commerce. In FY17/18 we began to implement several projects to improve our processes and reduce waste.
Smart packaging of incoming goods
Target: Reduce the amount of damaged cardboard boxes by 11% by July 2021
Remark: We have just started this program in FY17/18
Contribution to UN Sustainable Development Goals
In 2017, we began streamlining and optimizing how we select the right cardboard box size for all shipments from the factory to Esprit, and how we fill each box. This reduces the amount of cardboard we use, and the amount of cardboard waste created, and it also reduces the weight in our shipments. Smarter packing also means fewer broken boxes, and fewer damaged items. This all leads to a smaller carbon footprint. We have also implemented a system to optimize how we fill our shipping containers, leading to further reductions in emissions. We aim to reduce the amount of damaged cardboard boxes by 11% by July 2021.
Why reusable boxes?
In our European Distribution Center we use reusable boxes made out of robust plastics to ship the goods to our retail stores. By avoiding single-use boxes, we are able to save more than 790,000 boxes per year.
And what about hangers?
Target: 50% of hangers used for garment transportation are reused and made of recycled PET bottles by 2021
Baseline FY17/18: 10% of our garments on hanger business is already in the program
Many of our more formal or more delicate garments, like blazers and dresses, are shipped on hangers. Because these hangers could potentially become waste, Esprit has developed a program to reuse these hangers instead.
The first step, however, was to standardize the type of hangers being used. We discovered that different suppliers were using different kinds of hangers, and not all of them were compatible with the automatic systems in our warehouses, while others were not good enough quality.
At the end of 2017, we selected and nominated a single hanger supplier, consolidating the number of hangers in use, and ensuring that hangers are durable enough to be reused at least ten times.
These hangers are made out of recycled plastic bottles, and we have a program with the hanger producer to collect, reuse or recycle these hangers. Implementation of this program started in March 2018. The target is to reduce the usage of new hangers by 50%.
Over the next year, we will extend the program to our retail stores. After the hangers are no longer used in stores, they will be collected and re-used in our warehouses.
Recycled packaging for e-commerce
All of our e-commerce packaging, including cardboard boxes and the envelopes for smaller pieces, are made out of recycled paper. We have six different parcel and cardboard box sizes to achieve the best filling rate.
In July 2018, we adopted the AFIRM Packaging Restricted Substances List to make sure packaging materials are safe.