We live in an ever-changing world where demand for goods is never changed, and that's why department stores, the hub of the merchandise category, still crucially exist. However, recently, we have begun to see the role of a department store worldwide that is no longer just a place to sell products. Instead, it has been increasingly taking on responsibility and promoting the sustainability of people and the planet through different dimensions of each department store.
SUSTAINABILITY AS A BUZZWORD WHEN IT COMES TO FASHION? NOT ANYMORE
Each continent and country on the earth has unique people and planet-related challenges that are addressed differently. In Europe, the fashion sector is a world leader in several categories, including garments and accessories requiring textiles or even whole-material usage. Consequently, according to the European Environment Agency, textile harms the world's climate in the fourth-highest place after food, housing, and mobility. Thus, Europe is alert to solving problems and taking responsibility for what negatively affects the world citizen as a whole. It can be seen that even a regulation from the EU Commission, the "eco-design rule," came into force several months ago this year to create sustainability in consumer goods, starting from textiles to have a sustainable life cycle that could possibly be applied to any product in the future, which is in line with the value of today's increasingly environmentally conscious people. According to the Guardian, 70% of collective buyers in Europe are willing to purchase at a higher price for sustainable brands than the ones that are not. Hence, This is an opportunity for the department store to do business sustainability because it can attract customers while the department store is doing good things for society and the world simultaneously.
WHEN STYLE IS NOT A TRADE-OFF TO CREATE SUSTAINABILITY - STYLE OR SUSTAINABILITY? KEEP THEM BOTH
Thus, the movement tendency of department stores in Europe, particularly Galeries Lafayette, one of the world's most famous French luxury department stores located in the heart of Paris, is increasingly responsible for its surroundings in numerous dimensions. To create a more sustainable world, the 2018-launched initiative "Go For Good," a project for more accountable fashion, has promoted sustainable firms across numerous categories, including apparel, shoes, cosmetics, etc., as potential partners. It is not restricted to global companies but also local ones, so long as they meet specific environmental, social, and local standards, such as eco-friendly materials, social enterprise products, locally produced goods, etc. As of 2022, 800 partners and 1,590,000 customers have already purchased Go for Good products. As a result, the project has created a positive impact as follows, 290 million liters of water saved, 2,600 tons of CO2 emissions avoided, and 80 tons of organic cotton purchased. This, in some respects, demonstrates a support issue on which the EU is focused. As one of the most influential world-leading fashion industry and on the other hand, it shows that department stores are not pursuing their old roles but are adapting to the behaviors and values that consumers are and hold today.
With this being said, sustainability is not a trend; it's a way of life, a better one. Therefore, something close to us, like the department store, does what enhances better life and a better world by creating sustainability in diverse aspects. Each department store worldwide has its way of executing sustainability-related projects and is more likely to see more in the near future.
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