Two-thirds of UK retailers believe it will take their business three years or more to achieve true sustainability, a new study undertaken by Pure London, Spring and Autumn Fairs has revealed.
The study states that retailers want to increase their sustainable products and that 73 percent of the 1,896 UK retailers that took part in the study, added that they have already made sustainability changes to their operations, but “were realistic that total sustainability was still out of reach”.
UK retailers hoped to increase the percentage of their products that are sustainable by 33 percent on average by the end of next year, and for fashion retailers this goes up to 40 percent, however, the research also adds that respondents estimated that to make their products sustainable they would have to increase retail prices by 19 percent on average.
In contrast, they estimate consumers would only be willing to pay 9 percent more for those sustainable products, while 20 percent believed the failure of suppliers to act sustainably or transparently was the biggest challenge.
Julie Driscoll, UK regional director for ITE Group, organisers of Pure London and Spring and Autumn Fair, said in a statement: “Our study confirms that the UK retail industry is passionate about taking action on sustainability. However, there are significant barriers to overcome. To achieve true sustainability takes significant resource, time and investment, arguably, it’s a continuous process for improvement, rather than a destination.
“Retailers aren’t shying away from that responsibility, but they are being realistic when it comes to how quickly the change can happen.”
Trade show group finds that 66 percent of retailers estimate it will be 2021 before their businesses are truly sustainable
Driscoll added: “It’s clear that retailers are changing. Our study found 73 percent have improved their recycling or reuse efforts, and that 54 percent have reduced the use of environmentally damaging materials in products.”
The research, where 80 percent of retailers stated the future of the planet as the most important reason for sustainable behaviour, was unveiled following the latest edition of Pure London that took place from July 21 – 23, featuring over 700 international brands and designers showcasing SS20 womenswear, menswear, youth and kid’s collections.
One of those exhibitors was British ethical fashion brand Komodo, which has been committed to ethical fashion since its launch 30 years ago.
Komodo founder, Joe Komodo said: “We believe the simple actions we make today can have a positive impact on the future. We also understand that finding ways to live more sustainably can be difficult and when we try to act more responsibly it might limit our choice. That’s why at Komodo we've been creating our ranges of affordable, on-trend eco-fashion for 30 years. It’s a privilege of our society to dress in comfort and style hence it is the responsibility of designers to make that style fairly and sustainable for those who work on it.”
Image: courtesy of Komodo / Infographic: courtesy of ITE Group