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17 October 2012 | Anna Reynolds
By training its buying teams the John Lewis Partnership has implemented sustainable business practices and is now on track to deliver an overall 15 per cent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2020.
The parent company’s 2012 sustainability report said Waitrose had identified a number of new sites to be included in the retailer’s ‘responsible sourcing programme’.
As part of this, the first LED lighting system was installed in its Stratford-upon-Avon site, and other stores will now source all products from long-term, sustainable supply chains, working alongside suppliers in ‘alliance’ to maintain good relationships and deliver best value.
By educating its buying teams, John Lewis has embedded new principles into day-to-day business practices, such as purchasing recycled or sustainable raw materials, implementing renewable energy systems and using responsible suppliers. Two on-site renewable energy centres were built in 2012, which use food waste provided by more than 200 stores.
While the Partnership currently sells a limited range of Fairtrade products, it is discussing with the Fairtrade Foundation how to increase this and to find ways of engaging their buying teams more fully with the ethos of Fairtrade. Further, by joining organisations such as the UK Green Building Council, the company hopes to influence the construction supply chain to reduce waste, use renewable energy sources and recycle.
John Lewis is also looking to expand its supply base of UK manufacturers to boost the economy. Anna Rigby, head of buying home accessories, textiles and carpets at John Lewis said in the report: “John Lewis is committed to supporting UK manufacturing and there are many examples across all the products we sell. British-made carpets are synonymous with quality, luxury and performance and 91 per cent of all John Lewis branded carpets are made in the UK.”
The report addressed one of the main challenges in the companies’ global supply chain, which is to achieve 100 per cent third-party sustainability verification of key commodities, including palm oil, soya, timber and cotton. To tackle this, John Lewis is working with other businesses, trade unions and NGOs as a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative, to deliver sustainable solutions and improve the lives of those working in global supply chains.