Casey said reaching the target took a concerted effort from the team, which has been working steadily towards this goal for many years. Here, he shares an insight into how the business achieved the goal and where to next.
Inside Retail: Can you tell me a bit about the kind of work that was done to achieve this carbon neutral target?
Reuben Casey: To achieve this target, we focused on carbon saving opportunities through installing solar power, Green Star buildings and energy efficiency projects across our store network
, t. Then we invested in carbon credits certified in the internationally-recognised Gold Standard Foundation –, generated by high-impact projects in Australian and China, where Kathmandu has operations and factories, as well as supporting renewable energy generation in India. Each project delivers economic and social benefits for communities in addition to mitigating environmental impact.
We worked closely with Toitu Envirocare, a carbon certification company wh
oich verif yies our carbon measurements to achieve ‘Toitu carbonzero’ certification and have helped us to identify ways to further reduce emissions.
The first step was to measure carbon emissions that came directly from the business, followed by emissions generated from our supply chain from transporting our products. This process is extensive. It was important for us to identify the biggest areas of impact of our organisational footprint, which is currently energy used across our Australian store network. Tracking this data has helped streamline opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint and costs overall through installing LEDs and motion sensors.
Inside Retail: What work are you most proud of?
RC: I’m proud that even through periods of strong global growth, Kathmandu has managed to reduce its emissions total by 9 per cent, and 34 per cent per store on 2012 levels through energy efficiency projects, Green Star buildings and installing solar power.
The work undertaken so far is a step in the right direction, but our commitment remains ongoing. Kathmandu’s Best for the World 2025 strategy highlights our focus on further reducing business emissions as we move towards a more sustainable future. In line with this strategy
Inside Retail: Has changing these processes to operate more sustainably come at a greater financial cost to the business?
RC: At Kathmandu we believe it is too important not to prioritise, and we’ve built our business in a way that sustainability and practices best for the world are the first considerations.
Brands that have a higher purpose and that are doing good within society are what consumers are going to care about. Consumers will be questioning brands, asking for transparency, and all of that is positive at Kathmandu regarding financial resilience.
Inside Retail: How has the long term closure of international borders impacted the business this last year?
RC: Kathmandu experienced robust sales growth in camping and beach categories following a renewed interest in local travel and adventure activities across Australia and New Zealand.
With international travel off the cards for the remainder of the year, we’re encouraging Australian and New Zealand residents to explore their own backyards and embrace outdoor adventure. We all experienced the pressures associated with being indoors for extended periods of time in 2020, and hope our consumers and Australians in general are looking to embrace new experiences, protected from all weather conditions in quality gear.
Inside Retail: What are the big plans for Kathmandu in 2021, in sustainability and beyond?
RC: Sustainability is at the core of Kathmandu’s brand identity, and will always be a key pillar of each new product collection. With each new release, we’re looking to take another step forward in Kathmandu’s journey in re-thinking how to deal with environmental issues. For example, the new Primaloft Biofleece is the first product that Kathmandu has released this Autumn which plays a part in tackling the growing global plastic waste problem.
Unlike standard recycled polyester which remains almost completely intact, the fibres in the Bio Fleece fabric have been optimised to return to natural elements such as water, carbon dioxide, methane, biomass and humus over time, which are all common soil components.
We continue to work towards our goal of net zero environmental harm.
Our B Corp commitment sends a strong statement to our team and our customers that we are committed to sustainability, currently we are working towards B Corp certification for the group.