Barker and Stonehouse says it is leading the charge for sustainable retail, and has commenced its 75th anniversary year by achieving Carbon Neutral Plus status – reducing emissions above and beyond its own carbon footprint – the first UK furniture retailer of scale to achieve this.
Barker and Stonehouse has also pledged to plant at least 75,000 trees this year - including one for every delivery the company’s fleet makes – via reforestation charity Trees 4 Trees, of which Barker and Stonehouse was a founding partner.
Innovation is also high on the agenda, with a further pledge to initiate meaningful conversations around sustainability with key suppliers.
During the last 12 months, the retailer launched two world-first products – the Big Blue upholstery range and the Loop mattress. Big Blue uses materials that are sustainably sourced, and its fabric and cushion fillings are made from 100%-recycled plastic retrieved from the ocean. Similarly, Loop, the result of two years’ of R&D, uses natural components and is 100% recyclable.
MD James Barker says: “Customer response to our sustainably produced furniture has been terrific. These pieces are quickly becoming bestsellers, showing that customers want to be able to find furniture they can buy with good conscience.
“We now want to significantly increase the volume of furniture we sell to be made using environmentally sound practices. It’s a complex task, but we are already working closely with our supply chain to achieve this.”
Alongside a major focus on eco projects, there will be continued investment in new jobs. The company is building its own digital production studio complex in which to produce content around all aspects of furniture, interiors and design.
Commenting on the start of the company’s 75th anniversary year, James says: “It’s fantastic to look back and see how far we’ve come since my grandfather opened the doors of our first store in 1946.
“Something especially rewarding is recently being independently accredited as a Carbon Neutral Plus company. This means that we are eradicating the environmental impact of the business’ carbon output. We are the first large-scale independent furniture retailer in the UK to achieve this.
“Gaining this accreditation reflects a significant milestone and an investment of time, money and a company-wide effort in a whole range of initiatives over the last decade. These include store design, transport logistics, supply chain management, community tree planting activity and product innovation.
“Tackling climate change needs to be at the top of everyone’s agenda. That’s why a major part of our anniversary activity is focused on continuing to tackle the challenges the furniture industry faces regarding environmental impact. To do this, over the next 12 months we’re launching a number of further ambitious sustainability goals and initiatives.”
Barker and Stonehouse is pledging to work with UK makers and manufacturers whenever possible.
Electric delivery vehicles are also a priority for the coming year, with discussions with a UK supplier under way.