First to show sustainability savings

13 Dec 2023 | View all news

We’re so proud to be the first charity in the UK to show customers CO₂ savings made for each purchase in our charity shops.

We have been trialling this project in all of our stores since August, keeping sustainability at the forefront of shopper’s minds.

Our till displays, provided by Eproductive Ltd, calculate the average CO₂ required to make the items brand new and show the total CO₂ saving made for the whole purchase by buying second-hand.

According to the UN, fashion is the second-most-polluting industry behind big oil. It produces 10% of global carbon emissions and contributes 20% of waste water production.

Charity shops help reduce waste that could otherwise end up in landfill, helping decrease the UK’s carbon footprint, and now customers can see the positive impact they’re having on CO₂ emissions.

For example, buying an outfit made of seven items will save an estimated 32.3 kg of CO₂. To put that into context:

  • The average tree absorbs around 10 kgs of CO₂ per year
  • 30 kgs of CO₂ is the equivalent to driving more than 80 miles in an average car

Putting things into perspective

Customers have made positive comments, with one that saved 1.8 kg saying: “Ethics and sustainability-wise, fashion is not great. I try to avoid fast fashion shopping if I can and buy at charity shops as it’s sustainable and cheaper.

“I think the till displays at Katharine House Hospice are good and that they will probably encourage more people to buy from charity shops if they notice it.”

Another customer was told that their 40.2 kg CO₂ saving would almost cover an average flight from Manchester to London for one passenger in economy, which is between 60-100 kgs of CO₂.

They said: “Wow, that puts things into perspective. It’s really interesting to see that you can save so much CO₂ by shopping second-hand.

“It’s a good deal and it also helps the environment.

“More charities should definitely be doing this, if you know how much CO₂ you are saving each time then why not share it.”

Our Retail General Manager, Simon Dodd, added: “We want to get the sustainability message across to every customer as second-hand shopping is great for the environment, so the fact that the CO₂ savings flash up on the screen is a good way of doing this.

“It’s great that we can tell customers real figures of how much good each sale is doing and the difference that shopping with us is making, and to be the first in the UK to do it is amazing.

“We want to encourage more people to shop sustainably in charity stores this Christmas and help keep more items out of landfill while supporting worthwhile causes.”

Simon is also hoping that the charity sector can work together to expand the data for standard CO₂ savings across all departments such as furniture and electricals, as currently textiles has the most research available.

Nick Cowls, Director at Eproductive Ltd, said: “We’re very grateful to Katharine House Hospice for being the first charity to show CO2 on our customer facing displays.

“Several other charity retailers have recently gone live with this till function and I hope it will soon become commonplace for all charity shops to show the environmental savings of buying more sustainably.”

By shopping or donating with our shops, you are helping our charity provide free care to more than 2,000 people a year.

Come and say hello to Angela our Penkridge Shop Manager
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