Macy’s Announces Initiatives to Drive a Circular Future

Through its social purpose platform, Mission Every One, US department store retailer Macy’s is committed to creating a brighter future for all and creating a more equitable and sustainable future. This week Macy’s provided updated detail on its achievements towards its long-term Sustainability goals – including initiatives that promote circularity throughout its value chain.

“As a leading, omnichannel retailer, we understand the role we play in creating a more equitable and sustainable future for all. We are committed to promoting a more circular economy across our value chain,” said Keelin Evans, vice president of sustainability at Macy’s, Inc. “Our efforts are focused on providing sustainable and ethically produced brands, products, and services to our customers, while reducing our impact on the environment through operations. We’re going to achieve this through our guiding social purpose platform, Mission Every One, and an enterprise-wide collaboration with partners, designers, suppliers, logistics partners, entrepreneurs, colleagues and customers.”

Macy’s aims to advance its sustainable product by offering to include circular solutions and services, prioritizing opportunities that extend the life of a product. To drive this goal and begin the transition to a more circular business, earlier this year, Macy’s became a part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation community, focused on accelerating and enabling the transition to a global, circular economy and FABSCRAP, a non-profit in New York City that helps ensure that the fabric waste – an unavoidable part of the design and development process – is reused, upcycled, downcycled and recycled responsibly.

Over the past year and a half, the company has also introduced several initiatives to reduce, reuse and recycle across its private and market brand product offerings and operations.

To reduce waste, Macy’s Private Brand team has embraced technology that allows the scaling back of the number of physical samples required from suppliers without impacting fit, color and other design considerations. This process has significantly decreased textile waste. In 2019, 5% of samples were digital and by the end of the 2022 development season, 61% of all samples were made virtually. This shift actively keeps product that would otherwise not have use, out of landfills.

Macy’s has also adopted best practices to reduce packaging, including standardizing the size of packing cartons and minimizing packaging materials:

  • Auto-boxer and auto-bagger technology enables Macy’s to create unique packaging fitting odd or oversized items and reducing box volume and waste up to 50%.
  • In 2022, virgin plastic mailer bags were edited to include 35% recycled content, reducing the thickness of the bag by 20%. As a result, virgin plastic input was reduced by more than 50%.
  • All cardboard used by Macy’s fulfillment centers is FSC certified and is comprised of 35% recycled content.
  • In Spring of 2022, most packages digital Macy’s orders fulfilled by our fulfillment centers do not include printed invoices to reduce unnecessary waste as customers are able to reference order information in their online accounts and email receipts.

To reuse and extend the life of all products, Macy’s reverse logistics team is dedicated to moving goods from customers back to the sellers or manufacturers or sold to resellers to continue the product’s lifecycle. Through its partnership with Give Back Box, Macy’s customers can contribute to the responsible lifecycle of their clothes, toys, and other pre-loved items by downloading a pre-paid shipping label from Macy’s website and sending them to be donated for resale and recycling.

Additionally, both Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s offer accessible care instructions and programs to help customers extend the product life and reduce water and electricity use. For products like Jewelry, Watches and Furniture, repair services are available through WorryNoMore Protection Plans and a partnership with My Jewelry Repair.

As part of its 2025 goal to recycle as much material as possible, the Macy’s beauty products team launched a pilot program to minimize environmental impact by shipping outdated collateral to a third-party to be recycled rather than disposing of it in-store. Macy’s also launched a program to use RFID technology to track participation and weights of store cardboard recycling as part of our goal to increase store recycling rates to 80% by 2025.

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By Published On: September 20th, 2022Tags:

About the Author: Christopher Durham

Christopher Durham is the president of the Velocity Institute. Prior to this he founded the groundbreaking site My Private Brand. He is the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He began his retail career building brands at Food Lion and Lowe’s Home Improvement. Durham has worked with retailers around the world, including Albertsons, Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro Canada. Durham has published seven definitive books on private brands, including Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project and Vanguard: Vintage Originals.

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