OUR BUSINESS AREAS
ACHIEVING GROWTH WHILE ADDING SOCIAL VALUE AND MINIMISING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
We focus on two things: The Environment and The People.
“ By acknowledging the importance decoupling of carbon emissions, we look to reusing materials instead of utilising virgin materials. We look to be part of the solution, not part of the pollution. ”
Adeleke A. Olugbade
Chief Executive, QRate
As a purely online business, we have no physical stores. We ship to over 120 countries and territories from our fulfilment centres in the UK and the US and have our HQ in London.
Our biggest environmental impacts are carbon emissions from the transportation of our goods, the running of our buildings, and packaging waste. Through our Carbon 2020 strategy, we’re reducing our carbon intensity per customer order (for business operations only) every year from between 2020 to 2025. We’re achieving this by minimising our energy consumption and emissions from delivery and packaging while increasing our renewable energy usage.
Single-use packaging accounts for 40% of all plastic produced, and less than a fifth of all plastic is recycled globally. We source over 5000 plastic mailing bags and cardboard mailing boxes a year, so we’re continually reviewing our packaging sourcing and recycling options to find ways to reduce the volumes we use.
As part of our ambition to become a circular fashion business, we’ve implemented a closed-loop system, where our packaging manufacturer recycles plastic packaging from customer returns and turns it into new QRate packaging. By adding 10% post-consumer waste content into our mailing bags we can decrease virgin plastic usage by approximately 50 tonnes annually.
Following a successful trial with our employees, we’ll be rolling out thinner mailing bags, containing 10% post-consumer waste to our customer base in December 2020.
“WHY DON’T YOU JUST SHIP EVERYTHING IN CARDBOARD?”
We've looked into this in huge detail and, having carefully weighed up the pros and cons, we're confident that we've currently got the right balance between plastic and cardboard.
If we simply switched all our packaging to cardboard, our carbon emissions would actually increase by 50% - yes seriously! This is because plastic packaging is more durable and lighter to transport than cardboard, and takes up less space in a lorry - which means fewer vehicles on the road and reduced climate impact.
We know plastic isn't perfect though, so our plan is to increase the amount of recycled content in our plastic packaging (currently at 15%-moving to 45%) and switch to widely recyclable plastics.
For deliveries where we do need to use cardboard (such as bulky items), we use 100%-recycled boxes made from responsibly sourced wood.