Project Partners
Sue Ryder

The challenge: helping Sue Ryder reach its sustainability ambitions by understanding its current impact

Sue Ryder, a palliative care and bereavement support charity based in London, asked us to map its charity shop operations to identify next steps towards becoming a more sustainable retailer. Its ambition is to become one of the most sustainable charity shop chains in the UK.

How we helped: engaging and empowering stakeholders with a detailed gap analysis

Gaining insight using One Planet Living

To understand Sue Ryder’s operations, we created a One Planet Living questionnaire, designed to dig deep into how its retail shops (including online sales) and warehouse are performing on key sustainability areas. Using Bioregional’s ten One Planet Living® principles provided a complete picture of both social and environmental sustainability, covering a wide range of areas including energy, waste, transport and equality.

This was completed by their Policy and Public Affairs Officer, providing a great opportunity for someone on the ground to champion the process and set the scene for our research.

People-led approach

We conducted in-depth interviews with seven key stakeholders, including the Commercial Director, Head of Retail Operations, Head of Logistics and an Area Manager. This helped us learn more about Sue Ryder’s operations and sustainability efforts and covered fundamental questions such as: What’s working well? What could be changed? What’s the level of company-wide sustainability buy-in?

This kind of stakeholder engagement creates unrivalled insight into the reality of sustainability understanding at a business, as well as helping us understand the challenges and opportunities these departments face. It also begins the valuable process of engaging employees with sustainable change.

Mind the gap

This detailed research allowed us to draw up a gap analysis framed by One Planet Living’s ten principles. From this and using our sustainable retail experience, we produced a RAG rating of its performance on its various business areas and detailed concrete actions that can be taken.

Show and tell

With these first stages complete, we organised a meeting with board members to present the following:

  • The concept of sustainability and One Planet Living etc.
  • Future trends e.g. consumer pressures to address the climate emergency 
  • A high-level competitor analysis showing what similar retailers are doing
  • The RAG rating, including challenges and opportunities 
  • Our short-, medium- and long-term recommendations and how they could implement them, with a focus on the short term, so the organisation knew how to proceed immediately.

The impact: a clear picture for creating improved sustainability operations

With a detailed gap analysis and series of recommendations, Sue Ryder now understands the areas most material to its retail operations and what it can learn from its competitors – as well as already beginning the journey of engaging its staff.

The short-, medium and long-term recommendations for each One Planet Living principle demonstrate the breadth of sustainability Sue Ryder can influence, as well as the opportunities it has to grow and evolve its operations.

Bioregional's expertise and sustainable retail insights have allowed us to delve into our operations more comprehensively than ever before. The team really took the time to understand our organisation and listen to the people at the heart of it. Thanks to their clear, holistic approach, we now feel confident in taking the next steps on our sustainability journey.

Angela Cummings, Deputy Director of Marketing, Communications and Digital Services at Sue Ryder