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Fashion retailers most likely to share sustainability targets, report finds

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Fashion retailers are spearheading the move to share sustainability credentials with consumers online, but many are wary of greenwashing, the RetailX Sustainability Report has found.

More than a fifth of the fashion retailers and brands within the Global Top1000 include sustainability somewhere on their ecommerce site, having come to appreciate how shoppers want to understand the journey that companies they buy from are undertaking.

Interestingly, fashion companies also account for the largest segment of the overall RetailX Global Top1000 – 23% of the companies in the ranking sell fashion of some description. Homeware retailers are almost as likely to share their targets online, 18% have done so, according to RetailX researchers. 

Fashion retailers are also the most likely to share details of how they will reach their sustainability targets. Over 18% of the fashion companies in the RetailX Global Top1000 publish plans of action to achieve their stated sustainability goals. Again, it is retailers of homeware that rank in second place. 16.9% of them share plans. 10.2% of multisector stores share plans, with 8.7% of consumer electronics retailers also doing so. 

Supply chain transparency
One area of concern for consumers is how and where the products they buy are grown or manufactured. Consumers looking deeply into the provenance of their purchases will research factories as well as how well different companies treat employees and other labour throughout the product supply chain. 

Subsequently, 7% of fashion retailers within the Global Top1000 publish a list of their suppliers and manufacturers. It is only a small fraction of the overall percentage of fashion retailers but it is higher than retailers in other products categories. 4.6% of sports & leisure retailers share a list of their suppliers and manufacturers publicly, 3.8% of retailers of homeware and 2.7% of consumer electronics companies do so. 

While fashion retailers are the most likely to share sustainability information than sellers of other types of products, there are other sectors that give deeper insight into their progress in the form of narratives. For example, 12.5% of DIY and trade retailers include a link to their most recent sustainability report on their ecommerce site, whereas just 8.7% of fashion retailers do the same. Less than 5% of retailers selling sports & leisure, hobby equipment or books share a full sustainability report. 

This is an excerpt from the RetailX Sustainability 2023 Report. Such research will be brought to life in a brand new RetailX event this May. As part of the Spring Festival, a practitioner-led think tank will delve into the challenges, future possibilities, and realities of sustainable operations.

Find out more here.

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