All you need to know about COP26 and the intrinsic value of charity shops


It’s a fact: Charity shops are the most environmentally friendly retailers, both on the high street and online. So, we think it’s high time we made that known and especially during COP26 fortnight.  If you agree, and want to shout about your green credentials but don’t know where to start, then read on!

Buying second-hand instead of new cuts pollution, reduces water consumption and stops textiles going to landfill; charity shops in the UK alone save 330,000 tonnes of textiles from ending up in landfill or an incinerator each year. Our charity retail sector can make a bigger contribution to reducing GHGs if we educate our communities to understand and embrace preloved shopping.

What is COP26?

It’s the 26th Conference of the Parties, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Between 31st October and 12th November 2021, the Glasgow conference is being attended by over 200 world leaders, and focuses on climate change and what can be done to tackle it.

What does COP26 represent?

The last decade was the warmest on record; the world is getting warmer due to fossil fuel emissions, all caused by us humans. Polar icecaps are melting, sea levels are rising and we are seeing more extreme weather events around the world because of the effects of climate change. Governments globally agree that urgent action is needed both individually and globally tackle the climate crisis.

What can we expect from COP26?

COP26 is the biggest summit the UK has ever hosted and has been described as the most significant ever climate event. The world hopes that its leaders can use it to make new decisions on how to cut greenhouse gases (GHG) and carbon emissions.

Some commitments made in Glasgow could directly affect our daily lives, such as driving electric cars, moving away from gas heating, eating less red meat and taking fewer flights.

Why is COP26 important to charity shops?

Here’s a shocking fact: The fashion industry emits 10% of all global carbon emissions and releases 20% of all waste water. Whether it’s from growing cotton, making polyester (from oil), shipping or making clothes, buying new fashion has a dramatic effect on climate control. But all of us who are involved in the charity retail sector know that that we have a huge part to play in raising awareness of how consumers can combine the feel-good factor of thrifting with the bigger warmer fuzzier feeling of reducing the fashion industry’s impact on the environment.

What can charity retailers do right away?

  • Make sure you’re fully informed by taking our Green credentials for charity retailers course. At only £20 it covers:
    • An introduction to fast fashion issues and the growth of the global second hand market
    • An overview of the sustainable fashion revolution
    • The role of charity retail within sustainable fashion
    • Practical examples and ideas as to how to promote and maximise the impact from your green credentials

  • Create dramatic shop windows and instore displays which link preloved shopping with COP26 and beyond. Use this fantastic opportunity to let your communities (and the world’s leaders!) know about the importance of the charity retail industry in the fashion economy, and in doing business that puts people and planet first.

  • Measure what you can do – set a single shop or collective ambition to promote the integral role and impact of the charity shop industry in addressing net zero and climate change goals.

  • Use shop receipts, price tags, posters and your teams’ voices to remind your customers that every time they donate to or buy from a charity shop, they are helping protect the environment by giving items a second life.

  • Create a stock generation campaign showing how items can be given a new life, reduce landfill and C02 emissions.

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If you want help with talking about your green credentials, or undertaking a sustainability audit, get in touch.

More About Us

The Charity Retail Consultancy helps charity retailers and other non-profits (including museums and galleries) develop their retail operation, improve their product offer and people, and improve their profitability.

The Charity Retail Academy provides online & face to face training developed by charity retailers, for charity retailers. We work in partnership with the Charity Retail Association to deliver Charity Retail Learning to their members and beyond.

The Charity Retail Coach offers a first class executive coaching service via our Associate, Dan O’Driscoll.

To find out more or to speak to us about how we can help you, please get in touch:

hello@thecharityretailconsultancy.co.uk

Jayne – 07598 243210

Vicki – 07985 574904

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