Meet the Sustainability Initiative Award shortlist

Sustainability Initiative Award

Entries to the Sustainability Initiative category of the 2023 Good Retail Awards have showcased many impressive examples of innovation to benefit retailers, customers and the industry as a whole.

We would like to take the time to say thank you to all who entered. The number of inspirational stories shared by so many in the industry made it a privilege (and a real challenge!) to narrow them down to the final shortlist.

The Sustainability Initiative Award recognises retailers who have successfully implemented sustainability initiatives within their businesses.

Modern Retail is delighted to announce the official shortlist for the Good Retail Awards’ Sustainability Initiative Award.

The Sustainability Initiative Award shortlist

The Sustainability Initiative Award shortlist is as follows:

For Dogs’ Sake Treats

For Dogs’ Sake Treats have an approach where they look to achieve the most sustainable methods of retailing, wherever possible. Their sustainable initiatives have seen the business have an increasingly positive impact on the planet, as they make continued, significant changes to the ways that they work.

Their initiatives include sourcing resources from local small businesses with similar sustainable values, instead of using larger national suppliers wherever possible, as well using fresh ingredients from local butchers and grocers, instead of international supermarkets with less ethical production practices. In addition to this, their products are made using fresh ingredients with zero preservatives. As well as supporting local businesses, this has enabled For Dogs’ Sake Treats to reduce its carbon footprint.

The installation of solar panels has allowed them to conserve energy, which is used towards the charging of an electric vehicle charged at home for local deliveries, carefully planning every journey to reduce mileage. They have also replaced gas cooking with induction and carefully timetabled batch cooking to reduce energy consumption.

One of For Dogs’ Sake Treats’ latest projects has involved spending over a year designing and resourcing freezer-safe recyclable packaging for treats, following on from the previous method of re-using boxes from regular local orders.


Mashu is a sustainable, vegan handbag brand established in 2017. Using organic and innovative plant-based materials to create contemporary, fashion-forward accessories, Mashu is proving that sustainability and style can go hand-in-hand. Since its launch, Mashu has been committed to driving meaningful change through sustainable innovation and ethical best practice, from materials and supply chain through to production.

Initiatives include demonstrating transparency and traceability to customers at a product level, growing the brand’s adoption of a local approach to production wherever possible, and maintaining small batch production runs only, to ensure no risk of overproduction or waste stock.

As well as making bags that consider sustainability in their design, Mashu has also put thought into end-of-life care too, with an active short-term solution of free repairs for life, and a long-term goal of creating bags that are 100% recyclable or biodegradable in the future.

Mashu’s continued efforts to become even more sustainable mean they are able to put new, positive ideas into practice every year, making a meaningful and impactful difference.


Spruce has designed their business from the ground up to focus on putting people’s health and the planet first. This is through providing refillable homecare products that are low-waste, non-toxic and planet-friendly.

Spruce encourages sustainable consumption by designing products to end single-use patterns. Their goal is to redefine the way people think about everyday products, cutting down on unnecessary consumption, production and plastic waste. With microplastic-free packaging and ingredients chosen specifically to minimise environmental toxicity, their formulations are biodegradable, with refill packaging being compostable in both home and industrial facilities. This is helping to conserve and preserve marine biodiversity which is at risk from plastics and harmful chemicals that pollute waterways.

Spruce’s many sustainable initiatives include achieving zero waste in production lines, and partnering with factories that ensure any by-product produced is either composted or repurposed. With new product development, they have made the decision to continue to source all materials locally, despite many potential funders suggesting they should look to source in China to reduce costs.

Spruce’s work has seen them lower existing pricing, despite experiencing higher production costs, to encourage as many people as possible to make ethical, sustainable choices, placing their impact on the planet at the forefront of everything that they do.

The Eco Dog Design Company

The Eco Dog Design Company is a small independent pet product business that places great importance on environmental awareness.

Manufacturing in the UK has enabled The Eco Dog Design Company to make sourcing decisions that benefit customers and the planet simultaneously. With 98% of suppliers being UK-based, this has kept the business’ carbon footprint to a minimum. Using only recycled packaging, marketing materials and ethically sourcing UK suppliers, they have considered as many angles of their business as possible when designing an eco-friendly approach.

Their extremely popular Return, Recycle & Renew Scheme means they are able to reuse all hardware and provide customers with an incentive, to reduce landfill. From a sustainability perspective, they are planting their own Woodland through Ecologi, so far planting 405 trees in their forest to ensure they are a Carbon Neutral Business, which they have pledged through the government scheme, SME Climate Hub.

In addition to this, the Eco Dog Design Company supports small businesses by stocking their dog-related products that back their eco ethos of ethically sourced products, while supporting fellow entrepreneurs.

UpCircle Beauty

UpCircle Beauty is setting the standard in the beauty industry, going above and beyond to contribute positively to the environment in a truly circular way.

Ar UpCircle, they believe sustainability should be circular, which is why they are proud to be the UK’s #1 upcycled skincare brand. They offer truly differentiated products that are forward-thinking, planet-friendly, high performance and accessibly priced.

They upcycle 20 different by-product ingredients from varied industries, including the argan, tea, juice, date, olive and wood industries, using these in their skincare formulations. 

Packaging is another aspect of the business that is circular, with UpCircle Beauty launching a packaging returns scheme that sees customers get their very own packaging returned back to them. The team said that despite being a small team with a limited budget, doing this is the best thing they have ever done.

They also offer a ‘Refills Collection’ area of the website, where all prices are subject to a 20% discount to incentivise refilling, as well as emailing a freepost label to make it hassle-free to have a positive impact on the planet.

Congratulations to all in the Sustainability Initiative Award Shortlist

We would like to say a huge thank you to all on the Sustainability Initiative Award shortlist, as well as to those that entered the category.

For more information on the Good Retail Awards, click here.