The fashion retailer recognised the need to improve its understanding of the European sustainability landscape in which it operates. The company needed support to develop a sustainability roadmap, including implementation in conjunction with relevant brand and marketing support. The business aimed to address the sustainability risks and leverage the sustainability opportunities which arise from its business operations within Europe, while considering the high-level agenda set by its parent group.
The fashion retailer engaged Anthesis to support its sustainability working group to develop and guide the implementation of a comprehensive sustainability roadmap. The roadmap formed a key element of its sustainability strategy, ensuring that key milestones could be met on the company’s journey to become more sustainable.
To develop the roadmap, Anthesis:
- Researched European and global sustainability trends affecting the textile and retail sectors, the policy landscape, relevant retailer requirements from third-party brands and relevant initiatives and commitments influencing the sector’s response to key trends and impact areas.
- Benchmarked the fashion retailer’s current sustainability commitments against industry peers and leaders to identify risks, opportunities, and gaps.
- Undertook a review of the consumer trends relevant to the business.
- Conducted a materiality assessment, identifying the most significant topics that should be addressed through the lens of ethical trade and sustainability.
- Engaged key stakeholders within the company to identify significant topics in different parts of the business.
- Defined a strategic framework for the fashion retailer‘s sustainability engagement, containing statements on the high-level vision for sustainability and the intent and approach for key topic areas.
The above served as an important baseline to develop a comprehensive and overarching sustainability roadmap. The roadmap included a summary of key activities and priority areas for action and detailed, topic-specific roadmaps highlighting quick wins, areas for urgent action and areas requiring medium to long-term investment and attention.
The roadmaps served to further drive internal commitment and lay the foundation on which the fashion retailer can strategically demonstrate its ambitions and actions externally. The internal engagement with different stakeholders, including senior and group leadership, supported the core sustainability working group at the business to develop an ambitious but realistic sustainability roadmap, which aims to guide the business towards meaningful impact in an organised and incremental fashion.
A key measure of success will be securing greater commitment internally at all levels to now drive implementation of the identified workstreams within business operations over the coming years, in conjunction with an increase in relevant external communications and stakeholder engagement as a result. Internal engagement has already begun through the establishment of the sustainable academy supported by Anthesis, providing training and engagement on key sustainability topics to the fashion retailer’s employees.