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A summary of progress and updated approaches for each of our major supply chains is set out below.

Cotton

Timber

ANIMAL-DERIVED PRODUCTS

COTTON

With our strong textile heritage in curtains, quilts and pillows (which account for around 50% of revenue), cotton is one of the core natural raw materials in our products. Global cotton production and export is vital to the economies of much of the developing world and supports the livelihoods of millions of farmers. However, some cotton farming and processing businesses – if left ungoverned – can have negative impacts on the environment and the quality of the lives of people involved. Some of the known issues along cotton supply chains are illustrated in the table below. We are committed to addressing these and using our influence to steadily reduce environmental and social impacts in our cotton supply chains.

We ban the sourcing of cotton fibres from any high-risk regions without clear evidence of independently assessed cotton farming/production against approved cotton standards. All regions deemed high risk are set out in our policy, alongside a list of industry-recognised cotton programmes that we consider promote better cotton sourcing standards (for example, Better Cotton Initiative and Fairtrade) and manufacturing standards (for example, ISO26000, and MADE IN GREEN by OEKO-TEX).

In FY21 we appointed Track Record Global to map our cotton supply chain, extending our visibility of origin back to the ginning process and by year end FY21 had assessed the social risk of around 90% of our 160 cotton supply chains. This exercise led to us delisting two cotton supply chains. We are now starting our second mapping stage, which includes undertaking a full environmental assessment to meet our ‘More Responsibly’ Sourced Cotton’ standard, available on our website. Only cotton supply chains which meet our minimum requirements and our preferred conditions are eligible to carry this logo.

By FY21, we estimated that around 6% of our cotton supply chains met this standard and this has improved significantly between June and September 2021. In FY22, we will continue to work towards meeting our longer-term target of 100% of own brand cotton products meeting our ‘More Responsibly Sourced Cotton’ standard by FY25. Our target for 80% of own brand cotton products to meet our ‘More Responsibly Sourced Cotton’ standard by 2024 is a new metric for Director remuneration (LTIP award). 

Textiles 2030

Since 2019, our Head of Product Quality & Sustainability has been involved in the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) planning working groups and UK Government consultation to understand the challenges of adopting a circular approach in the textiles industry. Focused initially on the fashion industry, the scope extended to home textiles, and Dunelm become an official member of Textiles 2030 in April 2021. Signatories to this voluntary agreement commit to and collaborate on carbon, water and circular textile targets, and contribute to national policy and regulatory developments. Dunelm’s participation in Textiles 2030 will also feed into its commitment to supporting British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap to achieve net zero by 2040.

Textiles 2030 targets – signatory commitments

  • Reduce the aggregate greenhouse gas footprint of new products by 50%, sufficient to limit global warming to 1.5°C in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest.
  • Reduce the aggregate water footprint of new products sold by 30%.
  • Target (to be developed and added in 2022): reduce the amount of virgin textile materials used to meet consumer needs (‘materials intensity’).

REDUCING COTTON’S ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACT

Reducing water and chemicals

Some of our best-selling Egyptian Cotton Towels are being dyed using a more sustainable process, which uses less water. We made the switch last year for three colours, added another nine new colours in early 2021 and are now working to develop the same process for the remainder of the range and new launches. Since the switch we have saved over 20 million litres of water.

Our Natural Dorma Sumptuously Soft towels are not dyed at all, fully eliminating bleach and chemicals and saving water. With their natural cotton colour they are also kinder to the skin as fibres are allowed to retain their natural softness.

Beyond cotton

We continue to evaluate alternative fibres with key textile suppliers to understand what other options are available ‘beyond cotton’ in the longer term. This includes recycled, recyclable and adaptable fabrics such as bamboo, hemp and linen.

TIMBER

Timber is a renewable resource and plays an important role in offsetting greenhouse gas emissions as it captures carbon naturally. Overlogging, illegal deforestation and unethical practices in harvesting and transportation cause harm to people and the environment. At Dunelm all products must meet minimum legal requirements and suppliers must provide full transparency of source, together with supporting documentation. Suppliers must also work progressively towards Dunelm’s ‘More Responsibly Sourced Timber’ standard.

Vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered species may not be used, and timber from former forest land may only be used if established before 1994. We assess our supply chain based on country of origin, species and governance standards to establish the risk of harm to people’s health, safety and wellbeing, and of illegal deforestation to the environment.

To meet Dunelm’s ‘More Responsibly Sourced Timber’ standard, all Dunelm own brand products must either be certified to timber programmes, such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) or the supply chain must be located in a country with a low inherent risk rating. We work with an independent team of experts to collect, review and risk assess all suppliers of own brand products containing timber and require each supply chain to be assessed at least once a year, or more frequently if the structure of the supply chain changes. We provide training and guidance via a third party to all our suppliers on the implementation of this policy and how to reduce the risk of non-compliance. We will measure and report on supplier performance and compliance annually against our policy.

Our current targets are for 100% of timber to come from legally harvested sources, and for at least 50% of all timber in our own brand products to comply with our ‘More Responsibly Sourced Timber’ standard by 2025. In FY21, 86% of timber products assessed against the European Union Timber Regulation had no specified risk and we re-sourced supply routes where risk was identified. At FY21, around 10% of our timber supply chains qualified as being ‘More Responsibly Sourced’ and around 100 products were fully certified to FSC standards.

ANIMAL-DERIVED PRODUCTS

Although we aim to seek alternatives if possible, some materials used in our products come from animals, including sheepskin and leather (used predominantly in furniture ranges), and down, feathers, wool and animal hair (used in quilts, pillows, cushions and upholstery). Our Animal and Welfare Policy is unequivocal – we only use humanely sourced materials, which are a by-product of the food industry (primarily meat production) and from conventionally farmed animals. Our policy is guided by the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s Five Freedoms. No products may be sourced from endangered species as per the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) or the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Ecosystems, and we ban imports from certain countries where poor practices have been identified, for example, in the tanning process. All cosmetic and household products and ingredients must be approved by the BUAV/Cruelty Free under the Humane Cosmetics Act.

Faux leather

Our aim – wherever possible – is to substitute real leather with high performing polyurethane (PU) leather that provides equivalent durability and product quality (and can be recycled). Currently, no real leather is used in Dunelm-branded products.

More responsibly sourced

We have introduced ‘more responsibly sourced’ cotton into our latest range of duvets and pillows — some of which also contain recycled polyester and feathers.

PALM OIL

Global demand for palm oil comes at a cost. Oil palm trees only grow in the tropics and the conversion of forests to large-scale oil palm tree plantations risks unbalancing habitats for many endangered species and reduces the role of tropical forests in combatting climate change impacts. Very few of our products contain palm oil: for example, it is present in food products served in our Pausa cafes and in fragrances used in candles and home diffusers. At the end of FY21, 94% of palm oil used in Dunelm own brand and Pausa products was certified by Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) – globally recognised as a leading standard in this area. Our assessments are carried out by an independent third party.