Each week, Retail Insight Network’s journalists pick out insights from company filings that highlight sentiments in our sector. These filings signals are based on GlobalData’s analysis of earnings statements, call transcripts, investor presentations and sustainability reports. They tell us about key topics on the minds of business leaders and investors, and the themes driving a company’s activities.  

This new, thematic filings coverage is powered by our underlying Disruptor data which tracks all major deals, patents, company filings, hiring patterns and social media buzz across our sectors.  

Over the last three months, environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes have been mentioned over 20,000 times in filings within the retail sector, GlobalData has found.  

The figure is more than double that of any other major theme affecting the sector. The highest number of mentions was in June, when companies typically file their annual reports, suggesting that ESG is more than a passing concern. 

Although GlobalData polling shows most people surveyed still think businesses engage in ESG as a marketing exercise, there is clear competitive advantage in embracing sustainability. Analysts predict that the value of the resale market will reach $338.3bn (£258.61bn) by 2026, and big retailers including Zara and H&M are already stepping into the space to avoid losing out.  

Dr Martens is also increasingly focusing on the circular economy through its £1mn investment in Generation Phoenix, a British company specialised in recycled leather products. They announced in their annual report that they intend to start shipping product using their leather in early 2024, as well as selling refurbished shoes on online clothing reseller Depop

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By GlobalData

Alongside this focus is a view towards cutting carbon emissions. French retail and wholesaler Carrefour has committed to a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, as well as guaranteeing 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging by 2025. British competitor Tesco has similar goals, with a pledge to reach net-zero emissions by 2035.