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Argos – Responsible Paper Procurement

argos-medPart of the Home Retail Group, the Argos stores and their catalogue are arguably among the most recognisable brands in the UK retail sector. Argos numbers some 750 stores across the UK and Northern Ireland and in any one year some 17 million – or two-thirds – of UK households have an Argos catalogue.

In 2009-2010, Argos used more than 120,000 tonnes of paper in its publications including its catalogue. As a major consumer of wood and wood-based products, Argos takes its commitment to sustainability seriously and has taken steps to ensure that its activities and processes throughout the value chain are environmentally respectful. The Argos catalogue is now PEFC certified.

All the paper used in the Argos catalogue is either certified by PEFC or an alternative certification scheme (84%) – showing that it comes from legal, well-managed sources – or recycled (16%). To ensure that these standards are met the company purchases its paper supplies through a central print procurement team. The team will only begin negotiations with a paper supplier if it can prove that it has the necessary recognised certification. The company also insists that suppliers have the processes in place to ensure complete traceability of the products that are purchased from them.

The Argos catalogue is 100% recyclable. It can be easily and inexpensively locally recycled after use. Old catalogues are highly sought after by newspaper print manufacturers who use them as raw material to produce newspapers.

The Argos policy on sourcing certified and recycled paper yields several benefits. It contributes towards avoiding illegal deforestation. It also provides assurances to the 130 million annual Argos customers about the source of the paper used for the catalogue. Market research has demonstrated that customers look for evidence of certification of the products they purchase, while certification influences consumer choices. Having a catalogue that is 100% recyclable allows the company to reduce the volume of waste from its activities by providing a raw material for another sector, for instance the newspaper sector.

In addition to seeking certification for the Argos catalogue, the company has also implemented several other policies that demonstrate its commitment to sustainability. As part of its policy to only stock wood and wood-based products from certified, legal, controlled or recycled sources, the company collaborated with the China branch of a global NGO on the "Green Wood Initiative", a series of three seminars on responsible timber sourcing for suppliers in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong.

It has joined a voluntary industry initiative led by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and pledged to work towards a 15% reduction in packaging and a 50% reduction on 2007 levels in the waste sent to landfill by 2012. It also offers customers the opportunity to recycle their old large kitchen appliances and TV's when a new item is delivered and to take away the packaging for recycling.

Further Information

More information:

Argos – Responsible Paper Procurement (255.02 kB)