Products of Change


Tue 14 Nov 2023 | by Rob Hutchins

Charity shopping and repair & refurb services among Retail Week Awards new Green Initiative of the Year

For the first time in 30 years, the Retail Week Awards will be celebrating a brand new sustainability category ‘Green Initiative of the Year’ when its annual ceremony returns to Grosvenor House on March 5 2024 – with a shortlist boasting some of the largest names in online and high street retail today. Amazon, Currys, Lush, and Tesco make up a ten-strong shortlist of some of the biggest names in retail to be pushing towards sustainable development whether that’s through efforts to establish a refurbishment and reuse market or bringing plastics circularity and other strides towards net zero into their operations. Established to recognise and reward the extraordinary efforts of retail colleagues working on the front line as well as the retailers themselves, the Retail Week Awards 2024 will be overseen by a panel 18 industry-leading judges who will select the winning names across no fewer than 16 categories. Among those categories is the newly added Green Initiative of the Year – a category highlighting and celebrating each store’s overall journey to net zero. The shortlist for the 2024 category includes:

  • Amazon
  • B&Q Energy Saving Service
  • Charity SuperMkt
  • Co-op
  • Currys
  • Lush
  • Ocado Retail
  • Screwfix
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Tesco
Among the initiatives that judges will be assessing are those like Screwfix’s move to switch 85% of its fleet to HVO and installing Air Source Heat Pumps in more than half of its stores. Such initiatives have helped the retailer reduce its scope 1 and 2 emissions by 18.6% in 2022/23 versus 2021/22. Meanwhile, the team at Currys has worked to establish a repair and refurbish programme that has to date harvested parts from 5,000 products a week. These parts, says the retailer, are ‘critical to the circular economy we are building when it comes to technology’ allowing the retailer to reuse thousands of devices a year, which otherwise would have been broken down. “We don’t just sell amazing technology, we save it too,” said the retailer. “Giving technology a longer life is the way forward – it’s better for customers, better for us, better for communities, and better for the planet. It’s why we are embracing a more circular tech economy and working hard to get there.” The shortlist also goes some length to highlight the growth of the charity sector, bringing Charity SuperMkt into the mix not only in the Green Initiative of the Year category but the Best New Store category, too. Recognised as the UK’s first multi-charity shop, Charity SuperMkt is built upon making sustainable and ethical choices for people and the planet, enabling national and local charities to retail collaboratively under one umbrella brand. Its mission is to make charity shop shopping more mainstream through a use of its brand, its geographical locations, and its marketing. “With the UK’s high streets calling our for innovation, Charity SuperMkt has swept in to make that change happen, offering quality and accessible secondhand fashion in physical retail spaces,” said the team. It sets out to do so statistics from the secondhand shopping platform ThredUp tells us the charity retail and resale fashion are expected to grow 11 times faster than the broader retail clothing sector by 2025. “Walking into Charity SuperMkt is not your average shopping experience,” the team added. “Imagine a retail space brought to life with rails of curated vintage, designer, and high street clothes; live DJs spinning tunes, while you peruse the shop floor knowing that every pound you spend, every time you step into the shop, you have the opportunity to feel good, buy good, and do good for people and the planet. “Where 65% of people now wear something secondhand and 80% of the UK’s secondhand purchases are made through charity shops, the eco-conscious and sustainable shopper can shop with confidence at Charity SuperMkt.” The Green Initiative of the Year award will sit alongside Retail Week Awards well-established Responsible Retailer Award, a category that recognises retailers for making an ‘outstanding contribution to the communities in which they operate.’ The 2024 shortlist comprises Boots, The Body Shop, Cook, Co-op, Currys – Long Live Your Tech, Curry – Alleviating Digital Poverty, eBay, Lush, Music Magpie, Pentland Brands, and THG. Hanna Jackson, managing director at Retail Week, said: “Despite a tumultuous year – facing rising costs across freight, energy, and labour and diminished consumer sentiment – British retailers have strived to perform at their best and drive innovation. “This year, we’ve received a record number of entries – an excellent sign of the industry’s commitment to innovation, high standards, and dedication. I’ve been hugely impressed by the quality of entries this year, complete with some truly stand-out heroes – from those on the frontline of retail who remain resilient despite a year of redundancies and growing levels of abuse, to the board level executive steering ships.” Other categories to be celebrated at the Retail Week Awards 2024, are: The Happiest Place to Work Award; The Store Hero/Heroes Award; The Distribution Delivery Hero/Heroes Award; The SAP Head Office Hero/Heroes Award; The American Express Inclusion and Diversity Hero/Heroes Award; The Community Hero/Heroes Award; The Best New Store Award; The customer Experience GameChanger Award; The Responsible Retailer Award; The Green Initiative of the Year; The International Retailer of the Year; The Fashion Retailer of the Year; The Grocer of the Year; The Specialty Retailer of the Year; The Salesforce Best Retailer Under £250m; and the Best Retailer Over £250m.