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.
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. One area where we are long overdue an update is our iconic green carrier bag. Unchanged for almost 50 years, this hallmark of global luxury is being overhauled.
We are pleased to announce that we have now removed all plastic carrier bags from across our stores and have 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.
Always iconic, now more sustainable.
To reduce the number of bags given to customers, we are also aiming to cut consumption of carrier bags by 50%.
This will include the complete removal of all carrier bags from the Food Hall and Signature departments later this year when customers will be asked to bring their own bags or purchase our new bag for life.
Michael Ward, Managing Director of Harrods, said:
“Updating our iconic carrier bag is 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!”.
What We’re Doing
- In 2019, 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 2020/2021.
- We send zero waste to landfill across the business and have introduced new closed-loop recycling streams for food, oil and dry mixed recycling, reaching 100% zero contamination for food waste in 2019.
- Harrods has its own direct water supply, with three boreholes directly providing all water for the store, which is treated on site. As a result, 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.
Where We’re Going
- We are working towards setting targets and creating a roadmap of initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint. 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 all surplus food to local food banks and charities. 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’re also halfway towards a fully electric small-van delivery fleet.” – Simon Finch, Supply Chain Director
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 also reducing consumption by introducing sensor taps to avoid waste and removing standalone water coolers.