Spreading awareness on the importance of being environmentally conscious
In hopes of achieving our zero waste to landfill goal by 2030, we have increased our waste reduction efforts in 2019. We paid special attention to eliminating single-use plastics within our Group as well as reducing paper consumption as much as possible.
* Relates to the back-office of Chalhoub Group in the UAE.
It has become increasingly evident that due to the short life cycle of SUPs, and its high consumption rates across the globe, that SUPs have a significant impact on the environment. In 2019, we have revised our Group’s Environmental Policy to better align it with our environmental practices. An important section was added this year on the Group’s stance towards Single-Use Plastics. We are working across all the departments to reduce our SUP consumption in all our offices, in order to remove it completely from our working spaces, by identifying where SUP is used and consequently reducing all types of single-use plastics in all of our store, offices and warehouse operations. Bans include items such as water bottles, plastic cups and garbage bags among others.
A stringent SUP Ban strategy was developed in 2019 which details the Group’s phasal plan in removing it across all our operations. This strategy revolves around 3 main areas of focus: improving recycling systems, choosing alternatives to SUPs and investing in reusable items. Some of the quick-wins we achieved this year include removing plastic options from all office and store supply request forms on our intranet and removing plastic from our break-out areas and office canteens. We have also run a Group-wide awareness campaign on SUPs using all our platforms to influence individual behaviors.
In 2020, we aim to continue our awareness sessions as well as open discussions with our suppliers and find solutions for the SUPs used in our logistical services. We further expect to launch our SUP agenda in 2020 and introduce it to our UAE and KSA offices.
We have furthermore created an action plan which is made up of a four-phase approach to banning SUPs and which includes our focus areas for the upcoming months. This approach is complemented by clear and actionable steps, starting with revising our environmental policy, followed by an internal audit of our use of SUPs, an awareness campaign, and engaging our suppliers and brands to encourage them to reduce SUP packaging.
We continually encourage our people to minimise their consumption of resources and when unavoidable, recycle their waste. We currently have recycling practices and bins in 9 of the countries in which we operate, the UAE, Kuwait, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, India, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan. In 2019, we led several awareness campaigns on sustainability-related topics such as repurposing and recycling. One of the additions we made this year was to link all our communications to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to align our initiatives with global frameworks. We have also updated all our canteen boards with the SDGs posters, in the aim of creating a physical space that underlines our Global Goals commitments. We are constantly reviewing how we communicate these topics to ensure that our audience (our employees) stay engaged and interested. We also continue to use all the Group’s communication platforms to release informative posts on sustainability-related topics in hopes of influencing individual behaviors in our offices and in their personal lives.
We have witnessed a decrease in recycling of 6.2% compared to 2018. Nonetheless, this is due to the fact that less material is being consumed as a result of our environmental awareness campaigns and of our effort to digitalise our processes.
Case Study: Our Paperless Campaign
With the aim of driving operational efficiency at our stores, offices and warehouses, we continue to digitalise all our processes, eliminating paper use wherever possible. Our newly adopted digital platforms across the Group, such as ‘x-store’, ‘RSO’ and ‘Digitalog’, also allow for our transactions and processes to be paperless and reduce our footprint. For more information on these digital platforms, refer to our Partners chapter.
For the second year in a row, we are releasing our sustainability report online, avoiding printing thousands of copies for our stakeholders. We also continued our Save Paper campaign in all our UAE stores for the second year, where all store employees encourage our customers to accept only digital receipts for their transactions.