Operate as efficiently as we can, as soon as we can.
As our business operations increase in size and scale, we are committed to minimising the impact on the environment across all our sites, through year-on-year reductions in our carbon footprint, responsible water and waste management, and improvements across packaging.
We’re Removing Bags in the Food Halls and Gift Shop
In the next step of our ambitious journey to reduce packaging and waste, we’re phasing out carrier bags from the Food Halls and Gift Shop. From January 2023, customers will no longer be offered disposable carrier bags and will be encouraged to bring their own, fill an existing one or invest in our reusable juco tote.
Use and Re-Use Our Juco Bag
Our hardwearing reusable juco bag – made from 70% jute, 21% recycled cotton and 9% cotton – is also available to purchase from the Food Halls and Gift Shop. We chose juco for the bag because the blend of jute and cotton makes it durable and hardwearing, so it’s built to last. Please remember to bring your own bag or use an existing carrier bag next time you’re shopping in-store.
Plastic Free Highlights
We’re reducing our plastic consumption at Harrods. Here’s a few highlights to show what we’ve done so far and what we’re aiming to achieve. Click through the pillars to find out more.
Always Iconic, Now More Sustainable
Every day at Harrods is a balance of honouring the historic elements of our business while innovating to maintain our position as the world’s leading luxury retailer. An area we were long overdue an update was our iconic green carrier bag. Unchanged for almost 50 years, it was time this hallmark of global luxury was overhauled.
Last year, we removed all plastic carrier bags from across our stores and replaced them with a 100% recyclable, and sustainably sourced paper carrier bag, made from 40% recycled materials.
The FSC® label on our paper carrier bags means that the paper in our bags is responsibly sourced, helping to take care of the world’s forests.
Michael Ward, Managing Director of Harrods, said:
“Updating our iconic carrier bag was long overdue. But switching from one material to another is meaningless if you are not making a drastic reduction in waste, particularly for a business with over 4m bags leaving the shop floor every year. We are determined to overhaul the way bags are handed out across the store and are challenging customers to join us in reducing waste by using as few bags as possible. As proud as we are to see customers leaving our store with the iconic Harrods green bag, going forward we want to see as few of them as possible!”.
- In 2021, we received the Carbon Trust Triple Standard certification for Carbon, Water and Waste, reflecting our year-on-year carbon, water and waste reductions and our commitment to continue our efforts in 2022.
- We removed all plastic cutlery and straws from the business in 2019, replacing them with a bamboo alternative. Then, in 2022, we became the first company in the UK to use fully recyclable paper cutlery from Sabert which can be discarded of in all paper/card recycling points.
- We send zero waste to landfill across the business and have introduced new closed-loop recycling streams.
- Harrods has its own direct water supply, with three boreholes directly providing all water for the store, which is treated on site. To ensure sustainable use of our water supply, we introduced water efficiencies across the store, minimising water wastage through using wastewater for toilet facilities.
- In 2020, we introduced a Plastic and Packaging Reduction Policy to encourage best practice across the business and our supply chain. As a result, we have removed all plastic across our outbound distribution packaging, as well as reducing the overall amount of packaging, and ensuring all packaging materials are recyclable and contain 40-100% recycled material.
- As part of our carbon-reduction strategy, in 2021 we introduced electric vans across 50% of our small-van delivery fleet. Our small-van electric fleet reached 100% in 2022, with the view to run the large fleet with biofuels within the next 12 months.
In 2021, we became the first luxury retailer to sign up to The UK Plastics Pact, an ambitious and voluntary commitment to radically transform plastic packaging. By signing up to The UK Plastics Pact, we join forces with some of the world’s biggest companies – from NGOs, to local governments and businesses – and will collaboratively work towards driving circularity of plastic packaging.
To reduce our plastic consumption, we introduced umbrella dryers in-store in 2021, removing the need for plastic umbrella bags. In 2022, we introduced pre-stretched shrink wrap to our pallet wrapping machines in our main distribution centre. Comparing the two options by weight, we’ve reduced our usage by 62%. We also replaced the plastic bags that the retail team use and re-use to collect and return items for online orders with mesh bags in 2022.
- We are working towards setting targets and creating a roadmap of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint, and we're working towards becoming a net zero business across Scope 1 & 2 by 2030. These targets will be delivered through key projects to improve energy, water and waste efficiency across the business.
- We pledge to remove 100% single-use virgin plastic by introducing more sustainable packaging materials, increasing recyclability and reducing packaging waste across the business and our supply chain.
We send zero waste to landfill and much of the food that you’ll find across our Food Halls and restaurants has been prepared on site by our chefs in order to minimise waste. We donate as much surplus food as we can to local food banks and charities. We are exploring partnerships with other food waste companies to find innovative solutions to reducing waste. With our cooking-oil waste, we’ve partnered with a specialist to convert cooking oil into energy and biofuel. Anything that cannot be redistributed is sent for anaerobic digestion. Here, the food waste is converted into methane for electricity production, with leftover organic material used as a natural fertiliser for crops in Hertfordshire and urban farms in London.
“Our team processes thousands of deliveries a day with packaging designed to ensure products are delivered in perfect condition. We want to find a balance between delivering products in such condition and making sure our distribution processes are as responsible as possible. We have now removed all plastic from our outbound distribution, finding suitable replacements such as paper jiffy bags and paper tape. In turn, this has reduced our carbon footprint. The amount of bubble wrap we used in 2020 would fill 32 trailers, but the same meterage of the hex wrap we now use could be delivered in just one. We also now have a fully electric small-van delivery fleet.” – Simon Finch, Supply Chain Director
Managing Our Water Supply
We source and treat our own water, obtained from three boreholes underneath the store which were built in the late 1800s. 80% of the water is treated through reverse osmosis for quality drinking water, while 20% is treated by our Nano Filtration plant and used for hairdressing and cooling towers. Any rejected water is used to flush the toilets. We are taking steps to reduce consumption by introducing sensor taps to avoid waste.