Five minutes with Alicia Buffinton, Country Road

Country Road - Chadstone, VIC, Country Road Group Targeting a 5 Star Green Star - Interiors v1.1

28 Apr 2021

Green Building Day showcases the built environment’s leaders in sustainability and this year we’re excited to have Alicia Buffinton, Country Road’s store design and development manager, part of our Green Star line-up. We spent five minutes with Alicia to hear how this iconic Australian retailer is keeping up with consumer attitudes while showing the way to sustainable fashion.

1. Country Road’s move to use Green Star is a clear sign that the label is serious about sustainability. How do sustainable spaces fit into Country Road’s philosophy?

At Country Road we’re driven by a genuine desire to do better for the world around us. From our products to our store fitouts we strive to ensure that the resources we use come from partners that prioritise sustainable practices. 
In August 2019, we opened our first 5 Star Green Star Design Review rated store at Chadstone, certified by Green Building Council of Australia. It was the very first fashion retail 5 Star Green Star store in Australia, marking an important milestone for us and the Australian fashion retail industry. As an iconic Australian retailer we feel it’s our role to push boundaries and drive positive change, from our products to our partnerships and stores.  

2. Country Road is showing that sustainability in retail can go further than ethically sourced materials. What can shoppers expect when they enter your flagship Chadstone store?

When our customers walk into the Chadstone store they’re greeted by Australian parquetry flooring recycled from old buildings. They see fixtures made from recycled yoghurt containers and carpet and rugs made from fishing nets. Going into the fitting rooms they hang garments on hooks revitalised from ocean plastic and the wall cladding is made from recycled paper. 

Depending on the season, in-store our customers can also expect to see garments made using Oritain Verified Australian Cotton or Wool. This range is made from fibres that have been independently traced back to Australian farms, helping to ensure they support better land management and high animal welfare standards. We also have our organic cotton and linen ranges, home ware made from responsibly sourced timber and our men’s denim, made with a wash process that, on average, uses 50% less water than the global standard. These are just some examples of the many sustainability stories in-store. 

Country road store
Country Road - Chadstone, VIC, Country Road Group | Targeting a 5 Star Green Star - Interiors v1.1

3. Green Star volume certification approach allows businesses like yours to certify a group of Green Star projects that share similar features. Why did Country Road opt for this and what can we expect in the future?

Country Road is passionate about the Green Star rating and our Chadstone 5 Star Green Star store now serves as the template for all our new stores going forward. We adopted the Green Star volume certification approach as all our new permanent stores and major refurbishments now seek to reach the 5 Star Green star rating. Since Chadstone’s certification we’ve completed eight projects which are in the process of being submitted to GBCA.

Country Road - Chadstone, VIC, Country Road Group | Targeting a 5 Star Green Star - Interiors v1.1

4. Can you tell us about some of your personal stand out sustainability features of the store and is there anything you’d like to see more of?

The stand out features for us would be the materials, we really enjoyed researching these and the stories behind them. From the fitting room hooks made from ocean waste to the table tops made from old yoghurt pots we were excited and inspired by the people creating all of these amazing products and hope to see more of these materials becoming readily available in Australia. We are currently working with a number of local suppliers to develop more sustainable materials and look forward to sharing these as they are implemented in stores.

5. What are staff saying about working in a Green Star rated workplace and what’s feedback been like from customers?

We’ve had great feedback about our Chadstone 5 star rated green star store, from our team and customers. Our store team are so proud to work in the space and love telling the stories behind the fit out. Our customers have also been very responsive. We have also installed dimming to the lighting in all the work spaces for the team so they can adjust it to suit their individual needs.

Hear more from Alicia at one of our Green Building Day in-person events! Beginning on May 27 we’re looking forward to seeing you at Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne or Sydney. Get ready for a day of networking, sharing knowledge and inspiration. 

Register now