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How went carbon-neutral and now pledges to become ‘world’s most sustainable running retailer’

Best foot forward for in its sustainability pledge

Premium online running shoes, running clothing and outdoor gear retailer is aiming to become the world’s most sustainable running equipment retailer by 2025.

The Bradford-headquartered company has made the ambitious pledge as part of its environmental and sustainability strategy. Called ‘Leave No Footprints’,’s strategy also includes becoming carbon net-zero in the future.

Established in 1982, offers customers more than 17,000 products from 150 global running and outdoor brands. From a running perspective these include Asics, Nike, Adidas, Hoka and New Balance whilst in terms of outdoor they include Patagonia, Haglöfs, Mammut and Rab. developed its ‘Leave no Footprints’ strategy after appointing sustainable innovation consultancy Ape to undertake a full carbon assessment of the business. The consultancy reviewed everything from warehouse and office operations to the supply chain, international distribution and amount of packaging used. achieved carbon-neutral status in April last year and the company’s next stated goal is to offset all carbon produced by the business in its 40-year history. It will do this by enhancing and improving all its supply chain processes from the transport and receipt of products from brand partners through to their delivery to customers worldwide. managing director, Brett Bannister, says: “We have undertaken a detailed carbon assessment of our retail business. Our approach has been to minimise our impact firstly through energy and resource efficiency, then by moving our energy supply to a renewable source.

“The remaining carbon impact has been offset via a Yorkshire-based offset that grows indigenous species and builds soil health. We will continue to lower our impact and offset the balance.”

He adds: “Our environmental impact doesn’t stop at the warehouse wall. We have taken responsibility all the way to the customer’s door by calculating the delivery impact and offsetting that too. We are also actively working with our packaging suppliers to lessen the impact of the materials we use.

“Looking back up the supply chain, we are partnering with our product suppliers to offer lower impact products and to help the customer choose the best products for them. This has seen us redesign our website to explain the environmental options we have available.

“In addition, we are working on our own brand products to reduce impact, enhance longevity, and ultimately create a sportswear circular economy. Watch this space!” launched its first sustainable store in 2021 and works with brand partners to identify products that have lower environmental impact.

Bannister says: “We believe that there’s no fun to be had standing still. However, moving fast leaves footprints so we are working in several ways to reduce ours. As a footwear and apparel retailer, we recognise the hugely important role we must play in implementing long term sustainability practices. We are dedicated to ensuring we are at the forefront of change in the retail sector and being accountable for our products.

“To be the most sustainable running equipment retailer in the world is a bold aim, but one we are entirely committed to achieving. We want to run to a better place,” he concludes.

Owner of sustainable innovation consultancy Ape, Mark Shayler, adds: “ is driven to make a positive difference in everything it does. This includes the products they sell and the way they do business. Some organisations will reluctantly move towards carbon net-zero. Others will lead the way and Brett and his team at SportsShoes are doing just that. It has been a real joy to work with such a committed and humble business.”

For the year ended 28 February 2021, announced a year-on-year increase in sales of 3%7 to a record £92.2m. In addition, the business saw its EBITDA before non-recurring costs rise 118% to £12.2m.

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