Environmental sustainability of our own operations reflects our responsibility to manage the impacts we have through packaging, waste, energy usage and carbon emissions.
Carbon Footprint and Emissions
We recognise that as a business we are responsible for the carbon emissions that are generated through our ongoing activities and that these emissions have an impact on our environment. Since 2019 we have been working towards consistently measuring our carbon footprint and finding ways to reduce it.
Since our first energy audit at our Fulfilment Centre (FC) in 2018 we have worked to reduce our energy needs. In 2019 we embarked on an LED lighting upgrade project at the FC, which has seen all ceiling and pick towers’ lights transition to more efficient lighting including use of motion-sensor lighting in some areas. In 2020 we completed the upgrade across the entire site and estimated we have reduced our energy usage by approximately 30% compared to non-LED usage. In January 2020 we transitioned almost all our purchased electricity to Green Power, which is 100% renewable energy that is certified under the Australian Government's managed accreditation program that produces no net greenhouse gas emissions. As mentioned in our strategy we have also committed to installing solar panels at our Fulfilment Centre and are working with the building owner to install a 350 kW rooftop solar system in 2021, all part of realising our dream goal of being energy self-sufficient.
Production and disposal of our packaging is an important and visible component of our environmental impact.
We have created a dedicated section that will take you through the reasons why we use packaging, how you can responsibly dispose of it and what we are doing to make it more sustainable.
Waste and Recycling
Sportaccord is a pure play online retailer, so the majority of our waste impact occurs at our Fulfilment Centre and involves: paper and cardboard, soft plastics, stickers, food scraps, drink containers, tape and pallets. We have been working hard on improving our processes to separate all the materials we receive to ensure as much as possible is recycled.
We participated in the Bin Trim program (a mini-waste audit) of the NSW Environment Protection Authority during 2018 and have since addressed one of the key opportunities identified by the program around soft-plastics recovery. In June 2019, we implemented a waste separation system that enables our Fulfilment Centre team to separate soft plastics from paper and cardboard with minimal contamination so they can be recovered and recycled. Soft-plastics waste received with supplier samples, as well as other flexible packaging, are also recycled at our Head Office through our partnership with REDcycle.
From March 2020 we are sending all dry general waste generated by our operations at the FC to resource recovery to be converted into Process Engineered Fuel (PEF), an alternative fuel source generated from processing dry commercial, industrial and mixed construction materials, instead of sending it to landfill. This has significantly improved our overall diversion rate which now sits at an average of 89% across all three sites. Despite resource-to-energy being a good alternative we acknowledge that recycling holds a higher environmental value, as such we keep working to find new ways to recycle as many waste streams as we can.
Recognising how confusing the world of recycling can be, we have and will continue to invest in staff training programs on responsible waste management for our people to implement both at home and in the office.
Product End Of Life
Inevitably there are times where product is returned to us damaged or in an unsellable form. We do not send any unusable product to landfill and are constantly identifying new ways to make use of these items, including donating minimally damaged and suitable items to our charity partner Thread Together (see our Community page for more info).
As part of our commitment to minimise waste going to landfill we launched Giving Made Easy in January 2020, meaning our customers can now donate pre-loved clothes to charity by simply downloading a pre-paid postage label from the the Giving Made Easy page and dropping off their donation to any Australia Post red posting box or Post Office. This initiative helped keep more than 14,000 kg of textiles out of landfill in 2020.