Retail Week Live: ESG reflections
Speaking at Retail Week Live 2023, Grace Beverley, founder and CEO of sustainable sportswear brand, TALA, and fitness brand, Shreddy, makes some interesting points about seemingly contradictory terms of consumption and sustainability.
Beverley says however that the two can work together and uses the example of how her business offers sizing up to a size 18. She points out that if we’re asking people to be more sustainable, we must provide clothes that fit a large part of the population. Failing to do this will increase the number of people who choose less sustainable options such as fast fashion.
It’s one thing having strong sustainability credentials, but it’s also important to communicate these effectively to your consumers
This point is backed up by the founder of vegan skincare brand Frank’s Remedies, Kyle Frank. Speaking at the same event, he highlights the importance that younger consumers place on brands letting people know what their stance on an issue is. They also need to be authentic and true to themselves.
Focusing on ESG issues is not only crucial for attracting the next generation of customers, it can also help increase staff retention and attract the best talent.
I recently wrote about this in relation to the hospitality sector but it is also true for retail which in a similar way to hospitality has a growing need to attract new talent to the sector.
The 2022 UK Brand Sustainability Benchmark Report found that one in four consumers have already changed brands based on sustainability perceptions. It’s not only shoppers that are attaching themselves to sustainable brands, so too are jobseekers.
It’s also not only just environmental issues, but there are also other elements of ESG that are important. For example, focusing on an inclusive employee experience from recruitment through to engagement will be essential to attract employees in a highly competitive environment.
Businesses should undertake a review of where they are on their ESG journey and put in place clear and measurable strategies to ensure that they are putting themselves in the best possible position to be one of the businesses that make the most and even grow through these turbulent times.
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“Fifty per cent of the UK’s population is above size 16 and only 8% of brands are offering sizes to this demographic. When you’re asking people to shop more sustainably and not providing them with options then you’re not doing anything, you're not allowing that mission to happen.
“While that might sound like a product and customer decision, that's also a deceptive sustainability decision because if we're asking people to be more sustainable and not even providing clothes that fit people well, then fast fashion was the only option in that scenario.””