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What Does Sustainability Look Like in the Franchise Industry?

Companies are beginning to realize an environmentally sustainable business model can also be a profitable one.

Many people get involved with businesses based on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics, which measure a business’ ethical influence and sustainable efforts. Companies with high ESG ratings have a lower cost of debt and equity, and their sustainability results in stronger financial performance and public support.

At Winmark, we know this.

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For over 30 years, Winmark franchisees have been buying and reselling items to reduce their carbon footprint and create a more sustainable industry. In addition to combating environmental damage, sustainability helps business.

What Sustainability Doesn’t Look Like

Many major companies practice waste over sustainability.

In 2018, news outlets exposed high-end British fashion company Burberry burning $38 million worth of unsold stock. Negative press dominated TV stations and social media, with the hashtag #burnberry hosting much of the backlash. But Burberry isn’t the only company guilty of such actions. Other major clothing brands have been accused of comparable treatment of their surplus.


This isn’t only wasteful disposal of usable items but a waste of the resources that went into making them in the first place. For example, consider one t-shirt requires 2,700 liters of water to make. Using that much water to create an item that will only be burned later doesn’t make sense. While some companies are making deliberate strides to reduce their carbon footprint and become far more sustainable businesses, a vast number of companies won’t.

That’s where Winmark comes in.

What Sustainability Does Look Like

Winmark is proud of its business model, which is specifically built around sustainability.

The average American throws away 81 pounds of clothing every year, but we aim to slow that rate. Through Winmark’s resale model, we saved 151,751,000 items from landfills in 2018 alone.

With resale concepts such as Play It Again Sports®, Music Go Round®, Once Upon a Child®, Plato’s Closet® and Style Encore® delivering affordable, quality gently used products, Winmark has established itself as a reputable franchisor that cares about the environment as well as its customers, leading to a positive image and sales growth.

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As of March 30, 2019 there were 1,241 franchises in operation under Winmark’s family of retail brands, as well as an additional 46 retail franchises that have been awarded but aren’t yet open. Each brand has been growing rapidly. Once Upon A Child now has more than 380 franchised stores, while Plato’s Closet has 480, Style Encore has 66, Play It Again Sports has 281 and Music Go Round has 34.

With no signs of Winmark’s franchise growth slowing down, there isn’t a better time to get involved.

Are you an aspiring business owner interested in making a positive impact on the environment and your community? Contact us today about Winmark’s sustainable franchising opportunities.