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October 4, 2022

John Lewis targets sustainable raw material sourcing under new plan

The John Lewis Partnership is committing to more sustainable sourcing of cotton, cashmere and polyester under new targets in a bid to achieve zero-deforestation.

By Shemona Safaya

Last November, The Partnership, which includes brands John Lewis and Waitrose, inked new credit facility plans in line with its environmental targets. One of the three targets was aimed at turning the carbon emissions net zero by 2035.

Following up on a commitment made last year – which saw the John Lewis and Waitrose owner ink new credit facility plans in line with its environmental targets including net-zero carbon emissions by 2035 – John Lewis has published its ‘Plan for Nature’, mapping out measures to reduce waste across its supply chains and beyond.

The brand aims to ensure that all key materials in own-brand products, including timber, cotton, soya, palm oil, cocoa and cashmere are from recycled or sustainable sources by 2025. The same pledge is also in place, with a 2028 deadline, for polyester, leather and man-made cellulosic fibres such as modal and lyocell.

The new ‘Plan for Nature’ includes a zero-deforestation pledge which the company said had been designed to reduce the impact of the business’s commercial activities on the natural world. Also reiterated in the plan is the focus on carbon reduction and energy efficiency programmes.

Marija Rompani, director of ethics and sustainability at John Lewis Partnership, said: “We all know that we can’t exist without nature, it is essential for our survival and it will play a vital role in solving the problem of climate change. We can’t solve one without the other, the crises of nature loss and climate change are inextricably linked. And yet, the UK currently languishes in the bottom 10% of global countries for its abundance of nature. That’s unacceptable and given the tiny window in which we have to get this right, delaying action is simply not an option.

“This is why we’re going back to our roots and focusing our efforts on protecting and restoring nature. Whether it’s eliminating fossil fuel use across our transport operations, investing millions in conservation projects in regions where we source our products, or helping our farmers make the transition to net zero, we are acting where we can make the biggest impact.”

Revealed in the plan is a new partnership between John Lewis Partnership and WWF. This collaboration will see the retail group investing in the NGOs nature protection and regeneration projects in the UK and India, with an initial backing of GBP2m.

In India, a “key” sourcing region for the Partnership’s cotton products, the company will address water scarcity and water quality in the Noyyal and Bhavani river basins.

As well as harbouring unique wildlife upstream, the rivers enable agricultural and industrial activity downstream. The project aims to support local farmers in adopting new land and pollution management practices and help them to develop wetland conservation and invasive species management programmes.

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