Green Retail with ScS

In the next part of our ongoing sustainable series, we take a look at the latest update from upholstered furniture and floorings retailer ScS.

Late last year, part of its full year audited preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 29 July 2023, ScS highlighted its continued recognition on the importance of embedding its purpose and strategy in both an ethical and sustainable manner and has progressed towards its Environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives. “These efforts continue, with our ESG committee establishing a Net Zero strategy,” the retailer said.


“Since developing our ESG strategy, we have made progress against the targets and objectives set. We have worked hard to implement a number of wellbeing initiatives throughout the year and it was particularly gratifying to receive the ‘Bronze Better Health at Work’ award along with the ‘Best Newcomer’ award resulting from all of these fantastic initiatives. Our ESG steering group has also been working with external consultants on the development of a roadmap towards achieving our Net Zero strategy.”

Detailed within its recent Responsibility and Sustainability Report, during 2023, ScS achieved another milestone from one of its targets within its longer-term strategy, which was to achieve 100% of leather to be from certified sources via the Leather Working Group. This adds to the prior year’s achievements of laminate flooring timber to be 100% from responsible sources, 95% post-consumer waste diverted from landfill for recycling, certification from the Furniture Industry Sustainability Programme (FISP) and 100% renewable electricity used across the Group.

“Ensuring a sustainable supply chain is crucial, particularly for our furniture and flooring products which rely on materials such as timber, leather and textiles,” ScS said. “We acknowledge the significance of traceability throughout our supply chain and are fully committed to advancing sustainable sourcing practices whilst reducing our environmental impact. By prioritising responsible and ethical practices within our supply chain we aim to improve sustainable sourcing, whilst minimising our ecological footprint.

“We take pride in being the first national upholstery and carpet retailer to obtain FISP certification, demonstrating our commitment to sustainability. ScS has diligently adhered to the stringent requirements outlined by FISP, maintaining our certification status. We actively collaborate with our suppliers, encouraging their participation in FISP and supporting their certification journey. By fostering broader FISP membership, we aim to adopt industry-wide sustainability and drive collective positive change in the furniture sector.”

ScS added that its commitment to sustainable timber supply is evident through its increased sales of FSC-certified timber. During 2023, ScS achieved 83% sales growth in products containing FSC timber, highlighting its dedication to promoting responsible forest management.

PEFC (the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council®) are renowned international forest certification programmes that prioritise the preservation of forests through sustainable practices. ScS said that certification from these organisations provides added assurance that its products “originate from environmentally and socially responsible sources”.

“In 2023, 100% of our wood flooring was from certified sources, ensuring that it adheres to the highest sustainability standards. Additionally, three of our furniture brands feature FSC® certified timber. We remain committed to offering customers products that align with their environmental values.”

With regards to its most recent achievement in sustainable leather sourcing, ScS reaffirmed its commitment by being active members of the Leather Working Group (LWG), a not-for-profit community organisation focused on promoting excellence in sustainable leather production. “As a member of the LWG, our objective is to ensure that all leather sourced by our Group adheres to ethical practices. To achieve this, we have established partnerships with tanneries in our supply chain that are certified by the LWG.

“All leather used in our products now originate from these certified tanneries. This commitment allows us to contribute to raising industry standards and reducing environmental impacts associated with leather production. This ensures our entire leather supply chain aligns with the LWG’s sustainability principles. Additionally, our Group actively participates in the LWG traceability working group, collaborating with other industry stakeholders to enhance transparency and traceability throughout the leather supply chain.”

As for other production initiatives, ScS said it offers customers the choice of SpringBond underlay, which is composed of 85% recycled materials, predominantly sourced from plastic bottles. During the year, approximately 10% of its flooring customers opted for SpringBond when purchasing carpets. “We remain dedicated to exploring further advancements in upholstery interiors and textile production and incorporating sustainable practices into our business operations,” the retailer added.

From products to packaging, ScS views this as an “essential” area. “Striking the right balance between sustainability and product protection is key,” the retailer said. “Throughout the year, we have taken significant steps towards more sustainable packaging.”

These steps include:

• Eliminating unnecessary or problematic packaging, such as polystyrene. This has been achieved through its product specification policies and rigorous packaging audits;

• All of its sofa packaging is now 100% recyclable;

• ScS customers continue to support its packaging recycling scheme, which is provided as part of its home delivery service, where ScS offers to remove and recycle all packaging. This has been in place for more than 20 years;

• In accordance with its requirements, suppliers have sourced plastic packaging with a minimum of 30% post-consumer recycled content. By incorporating recycled materials into packaging, ScS reduces reliance on virgin resources promoting a more circular approach.

“By implementing these measures, we are actively working towards sustainable packaging solutions that align with our commitment to environmental responsibility,” ScS said.

The company has also made gains within its logistics. Over the next 12 months, ScS will conduct a comprehensive review of its entire fleet. This evaluation aims to identify opportunities for further sustainability improvements, particularly in the realm of electric vehicles, adding to its commitment to reduce carbon emissions and transition to a greener fleet. Meanwhile, energy efficiency remains an ongoing process, which includes an initiative focused on LED lighting installations and the replacement of outdated equipment.

“These investments contribute to reducing our overall energy consumption and carbon footprint,” ScS said. “We have continued to maintain a sustainable energy supply by sourcing 100% renewable electricity for all ScS sites. This significant step allows us to operate on a zero-carbon basis, aligning our energy usage with our commitment to environmental sustainability.

“As part of our sustainability initiatives, all new format store investments deploy modern energy efficient lighting and we have initiated a programme to replace all gas-fired appliances with energy efficient air source heat pumps by the end of FY26. Additionally, we plan to replace outdated appliances with modern energy-efficient alternatives.

“To further support and guide our energy reduction endeavours, we maintain active collaborations with the Carbon Trust and other advisors. By securing a renewable electricity contract, we have effectively avoided the emission of approximately 2,582 tonnes of carbon.”

A final thought turns to recycling, and while ScS already had recycling processes in place, it took the time to re-evaluate how it did things and understand areas for improvement. The company has since refreshed and refocused colleagues on the importance of recycling. “We want everyone here at ScS to be waste aware – by ensuring our colleagues know which bins to place their recycling in and that waste is segregated correctly, we as individuals and as a business are taking responsibility for the waste we generate through our operations and how this impacts our environment.”

ScS added that its ability to generate sustainable social and economic value hinges upon embracing a long-term perspective. “Sustainability is increasingly a key factor in the decision-making processes of our customers. With this understanding, we are dedicated to continuously prioritising and advancing our sustainability efforts, ensuring they remain integral to our business strategies and operations.”

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