Although far from novel subjects, corporate social responsibility, climate change and the wider concept of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) are undoubtedly taking a spotlight in the global agenda. International bodies such as the United Nations, retailers and suppliers, as well as the general population, are devoting more effort to having a positive impact on climate change and living more sustainably. The DIY and home improvement sector is perfectly placed to act as a global example for sustainable initiatives and practices, being placed in both international trade and customers’ homes.
Some interesting sustainable initiatives
Climate change awareness has increased, dramatically so in recent years. Individuals are becoming more aware of their impact on climate change and its impact on the greater environment, and many have acquired more sustainable habits in response to this. Sustainable initiatives, such as “Fridays For Future”, and pioneers such as Greta Thunberg, have ensured climate change remains a key topic for all generations. Other actions such as the U.S. withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, and Joe Biden’s administration re-joining, have also guaranteed that climate change continues to be discussed globally.
What sustainable initiatives are carried out by the DIY sector?
Many parties in the DIY sector can still be considered to be at the start of their journey towards sustainability. However, the actions already initiated by some demonstrate the small changes that can have a large impact. As a starting point, some suppliers and retailers having begun marketing and selling more items that promote recycling, or products made from recycled materials. Others suggest DIY projects that customers can complete using recycled materials or upcycled old goods. At the other end of the spectrum, some players have already begun complete redesigns of their stores, headquarters, and factories. The key detail to remember in this is that, as customers and investors are demanding this as an increasing imperative, these topics are unlikely to disappear.
Examples of sustainable initiatives in the DIY sector
Examples of sustainable initiatives within the DIY and home improvement sector can already be seen. For example, in October 2020, the Australian based DIY chain Bunnings co-signed with Greenpeace to commit to using 100% renewable electricity by 2025 . Sustainability also ties into cultural sustainability, which is the direction Kärcher have taken with their “Monuments of the World” project . Through this ongoing initiative Kärcher ensure they are actively involved in supporting the preservation of historical monuments and buildings around the world.
Another trend seen among the DIY industry is a move towards collaborating with international bodies and NGOs. For example, the UN Global Compact, which encourages businesses worldwide to adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies, and to report on their implementation, was established in July 2000. Companies are working with international bodies, such as the UN, in order to promote their projects, learn from experts and share knowledge.
How can the DIY sector help its customers be more sustainable?
The DIY and home improvement sector also play a vital role in their customers’ journey to sustainability. The DIY Sector already provides a wide variety of products that promote recycling, energy saving, water reuse, etc… These types of products all reduce the energy demand of individuals. Furthermore, making clients aware of the ways in which they can contribute to living more sustainably is an essential role these companies play. Promoting sustainable initiatives and projects that DIYers can complete at home is key to attracting customers and maintaining relevance in an evolving retail landscape.
Importance of promoting sustainability from the DIY sector
The DIY and home improvement sector is perfectly placed to act as a global example for sustainable initiatives and practices. Further to this, the integration of ESG into business models worldwide is now essential. This topic will also be discussed and presented at the Global DIY Summit, with a section of keynote speeches on “The Age of Responsibility – Beyond CSR”.
Sharing knowledge and advice on best practices towards sustainability and ensuring the projects deliver measurable outcomes will enable our sector to set an example for others. A number of initiatives have already been implemented and can already act as examples for other players. Maintaining this momentum, and keeping up with the increased interest, will ensure that the DIY sector continues to meet customers’ needs and desires.
Edited by Iñaki Maillard