The UK retail industry has today (29 Jan) signed up to a range of ambitious targets for reducing its impact on the environment, including pledging to send less than one percent of waste to landfill by 2020.
Commitments to be announced at today’s A Better Retailing Climate launch event also include a collective pledge to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 25 percent by 2020, putting the industry well on course to meet the 80 percent overall target set by the UK Climate Change Bill, and supermarkets revealing food waste figures at the retail stage.
The event at the House of Commons will also mark the launch of a new report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency.
The new report sees BRC members committing to an ambitious and challenging environmental strategy – one designed to make a significant impact on the way our goods are produced, sold and used in the home.
Owen Paterson, Defra – “This initiative has been very successful in showing how industry can reduce the environmental impact of the retail sector… It also highlights how it is possible to grow businesses in a sustainable way that is not only good for the environment but for the economy as well”
The report shows that the 25 signatories, which include Tesco, Argos, Sainsbury’s, Boots and Gregs, represent half of UK retail by turnover, exceeded all their targets for reducing waste, energy and water usage up to 2013.
Waste target exceeded was a commitment to reduce waste sent to landfill to below 15 percent by 2013, with a longer-term aspiration to achieve zero waste to landfill. In 2013, signatories sent 6 percent of waste direct to landfill, down from 47 percent in 2005.
By 2020, signatories will:
- reduce absolute carbon emissions from retail operations by 25 percent
- cut energy-related emissions from buildings by 50 percent
- reduce emissions from refrigeration gases by 80 percent
- reduce carbon emissions from store deliveries by 45 percent
- measure 100 percent of water usage in sites
- send less than 1 percent of their waste to landfill.
In a sector first, the supermarkets signed up to the initiative have also committed to publish their data on food waste created at the retail stage, along with annual progress reports. The signatories, which include all of the major grocery retailers, already provide data on waste in the supply chain to the resource efficiency body WRAP, and are working closely with customers to help reduce food waste in the home.
Other new targets announced today include a commitment to reducing emissions from refrigeration gases by 80 percent by 2020, and to divert less than 1 percent of waste to landfill by the same year.
British Retail Consortium Director General Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers in the UK have made significant progress in reducing their impact on the environment. I’m delighted that the signatories are pushing themselves to achieve against even more ambitious commitments, having gone above and beyond the last set of targets.
“The strength of commitment is plain to see when you look at how much progress has been made in the last decade: for example, only 6 per cent of waste was sent to landfill in 2013, down from 47 per cent in 2005. But retailers will continue to keep this momentum going: they recognise that it makes business sense and delivers real environmental benefits as well as value for their customers.”
Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Defra, who is speaking at today’s event, said: “This initiative has been very successful in showing how industry can reduce the environmental impact of the retail sector.
“It also highlights how it is possible to grow businesses in a sustainable way that is not only good for the environment but for the economy as well.”
A full copy of A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency is available HERE