The first of John Lewis’ new electric vans are set for rollout in 2021 | Credit: John Lewis
Waitrose and John Lewis bring forward net zero goal by 15 years as group outlines new food waste and online delivery strategies
The John Lewis Partnership has brought forward its net zero goal by 15 years, pledging to become a net zero carbon business by 2035 as it today unveiled a raft of waste and sustainability measures as part of its sweeping new online retail strategy.
The retail group, which encompasses Waitrose and John Lewis, unveiled its plan to deliver “the go-to brands for customers who want quality, value and sustainability”, with a target of generating £400m profits within five years by investing £1bn in expanding its online retail and delivery presence.
The Partnership plans to launch a new online retail app, grow Waitrose delivery capacity to 250,000 orders per week, and expand in areas “important to our customers” such as rental products and recycling, it said.
All John Lewis product categories will also have a ‘buy back’ or ‘take back’ solution by 2025, it said, while all key raw materials in own-brand products will be from sustainable or recycled sources by 2025. The moves come in addition to trials the company has been carrying out alongside online rental marketplace Fat Llama aimed at expanding the retailer’s furniture hire services.
Moreover, the firm announced a number of sustainable food measures, including a commitment for Waitrose to source only from net zero carbon farms in the UK from 2035 and move to extend its pledge to halve food waste by 2030 to its entire supply chain.
Waitrose said it would also aim to help halve customers’ household food waste within the next decade.
The retail group said the new strategy was aimed at building “strong momentum in a tough year”, and to shift more of its business online in response to evolving shopping habits. John Lewis is now a 60 per cent online retailer, it said, and it is aiming for Waitrose to reach the same level by 2025.
Sharon White, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said the retail sector had seen “five years of change in the past five months” as a result of shifting shopping habits during the Covid-19 pandemic. But she stressed that today’s plan would see the firm “thrive for the next century, as it has the last”.
“We’re adapting successfully to how customers want to shop today, while showing the Partnership is improving lives and building a more sustainable future,” she said. “We’ll share our success with our customers, Partners – who own the business – and our communities.”
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