Alannah Weston, the deputy chair of Selfridges, has been nominated for the Retail Activist award for her leadership around sustainability in oceans and more widely. 

Weston was inspired to kick off Project Ocean in 2011 after a conversation with a scientist friend about endangered fish. She felt that Selfridges could take a leading role in inspiring change and helping customers to “vote with their fork”. 

The campaign started with a shift to ensure that only non-endangered fish were sold and served in Selfridges, and has expanded from there.

In 2013, Selfridges banned squalene from all its beauty products in the Beauty Hall, and in 2015 it went on to remove all single-use plastic water bottles and all plastic carrier bags from its store. And ahead of many, it also removed all plastic straws from its business in 2017 and microbeads from beauty products in 2016. 

Weston also spearheaded Selfridges’ Buying Better Inspiring Change campaign, with a commitment that 50% of its products are better for people and the planet by 2022.

Within this, its Bright New Things initiative champions designers who place sustainable innovation at the heart of what they do. Each season the department store will introduce at least four new labels to its collection. 

Weston continues to drive sustainability and keep it at the heart of the department store business. Each year new initiatives are launched and it continues to shout loudly with the hope of encouraging customers and other retailers to think sustainably.

The Retail Activist Award

Weston has been nominated for the Retail Activist Award at the Retail Week Awards, sponsored by Salesforce.

The award aims to recognise an individual who has personally championed a cause or led a campaign which demonstrates retail’s good corporate citizenship and contribution to society. 

Weston is on the shortlist alongside Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, for his work on food waste; Steve Murrells, chief executive of The Co-op, for his work on global water poverty; Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, for his work on plastics and palm oil; James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson, for his work employing ex-offenders; and Jacqueline Gold, chief executive of Ann Summers, for her work on empowering women in the workplace.

The winner will be announced at the awards on March 14.