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30 September 2020 | Sustainability

Sustainable meets Affordable at The Warehouse

Feel like sustainability isn’t accessible or affordable?

The Warehouse is changing that.

As a nation, New Zealand is giving greater consideration to our purchasing decisions and why we make them. But most significantly, our attitudes and expectations around sustainability and environmental responsibility are becoming increasingly entrenched.

We know that New Zealanders are also looking to get more value for less, and there’s a renewed focus on purchasing higher quality products without spending more than necessary. “Most importantly, business needs to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and action,” says The Warehouse’s chief sustainability officer, David Benattar.

He says New Zealand consumers are increasingly educated on sustainability and are looking to businesses for solutions and tangible action. “This includes providing access to essential products sourced sustainably and delivered at affordable prices. Today, more than ever, consumers are rejecting the trade-off between affordability and sustainability. They are asking for both.”

We have a vision to become New Zealand’s most sustainable company and are leading the way when it comes to delivering products that are both sustainable and affordable. “We are responding to the accelerated consumer needs for affordable and sustainable products and for businesses to demonstrate environmental stewardship,” Benattar says.

“We are working closely with suppliers in our global supply chain; to bring affordable essentials to New Zealanders with the extended benefits of better, and certified ingredients, as well as improved and reduced packaging.” The transformation of product delivery, which is underpinned by ingenuity and innovation, will see and ever-expanding range of quality, sustainable products at value prices being offered by The Warehouse, he says.

Driving change is a course that was mapped by Sir Stephen Tindall when he founded The Warehouse in 1982, by making hard-to-access goods available to all New Zealanders. Today, we remain committed to supporting Kiwis to care for our planet by making it more accessible for everyone to buy sustainable products at affordable prices. Be prepared to start seeing a greater number of these products in store when you walk down the aisles of any of our ‘Red Sheds’.

More than five thousand of our products now carry sustainable attributes which include certified sustainable materials or plastic-free packaging. In addition, sustainable packaging guidelines are increasingly being rolled out across all new products to reduce unnecessary plastic usage and improve packaging recyclability, reusability, or composability.

Consumers can expect to see more recyclable and recycled packaging, and less packaging overall on the shelves. More than 1000 items on our shelves have already been improved to eliminate unnecessary plastic or ensure they can be recycled in New Zealand. Alongside this, we have a Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme, in 17 of our stores across the country which allows our customers to drop off their soft plastics into recycling bins, diverting them from landfill. Since May 2019 more than 24 tonnes of soft plastics have been collected.

Our sustainability impacts start where our products are sourced. Over the past sixteen years, The Warehouse has had an ethical sourcing programme in place to protect the welfare of workers in its supply chain. It has been developed using on-the-ground evaluations, its own knowledge of the sector and is guided by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Through this programme, The Warehouse insists on safe and ethical working conditions and fair pay for workers and actively monitors factories in its supply chain to ensure these standards are being met.

Additionally, over 3,500 of our products have been sourced through The Better Cotton Initiative, which trains cotton farmers on efficient water use, how to better care for the soil their cotton is grown in, as well as how to reduce the use of harmful chemicals in their farming.

“Mass retailers don’t just have a responsibility to look after the environment through their own actions, they also have one to provide a demonstrable commitment to teaching other people how to look after the environment and provide the means for them to do that,” says Benattar.

Sustainability is increasingly becoming a priority in the homes of everyday Kiwis. As one of New Zealand’s largest companies, we play an important role in encouraging, enabling and supporting consumers to make more sustainable choices.

For more information, visit: thewarehouse.co.nz/sustainable

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