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).
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’).