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River Island unveils 'The Kind Society' sustainability strategy

Jeremy Lim
02 August 2022

River Island has unveiled its sustainability strategy, which aims to making sure that "everything River Island, from handbags to HQ, is kinder to the world and people".

The high street retailer has underpinned its sustainability strategy with 12 key commitments which aligns to the United Nations Sustainability Goals.

Titled 'The Kind Society', the strategy also focuses on areas of people, planet, principles and partners.

The key commitments include:

  • Actively promoting the recruitment of candidates from diverse social backgrounds
  • Acquiring full visibility up to tier 4 in its products supply chain by 2023
  • At least 50% of its garments sustainably attributed by 2023
  • Adoption of an MRSL by top 50 suppliers by 2023 (MRSL stands for Manufacturing Restricted Substance List and provides brands, retailers, suppliers and manufacturers with acceptable limits of restricted substances in chemical formulations which are used in the raw material and product manufacturing processes)
  • Reducing water use in its products’ manufacturing process by 50% by 2030
  • Zero waste to landfill from all UK operations by 2023, zero waste to landfill from its products’ manufacturing process by 2025
  • Eliminating all single use plastics from UK operations by 2022
  • Introducing products’ end-of-life solution for customers by end of 2022, and net-zero carbon emissions by the end of 2040

River Island said recent progress in its sustainability commitments include:

  • Eliminated single use plastic from its packaging
  • All cotton in its jeans is responsibly sourced
  • 100% traceability and auditing of tier 1 supply chain and 40% from its tier 2 downwards
  • Over 850,000 garments reused or recycled through its “Newlife” partnership in 2021
  • 100% green energy used in all its stores, head office and distribution centre, and the launch of its take back scheme in 2022.

Will Kernan, CEO of River Island, said: "Fashion is the heart of River Island, it always will be, but we recognise that the industry needs to undergo significant change. We believe fashion can, and should, be a force for good, and that belief informs our sustainability work.

"The necessity for action is pressing, and we want to make it easy for our customers to make more sustainable choices. As a high street retailer, it is our responsibility to make the changes to our that allow sustainability to become part of our customers’ day to day lives."

"In the coming year, we will focus on improving transparency in our supply chain and introducing robust water and chemical programmes, working with our partners to achieve our goals."

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