Retailers are helping consumers live more sustainable lives

by | Nov 3, 2023 | Business, Features, News, Sustainability | 0 comments

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The BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap Showcase celebrates the best sustainability initiatives by retailers, showing how the industry is working towards its commitment to reach Net Zero by 2040, including supply chains, a full ten years ahead of the Government target. This year, four retailers were singled out for their exceptional work in delivering meaningful change through their sustainability initiatives.

Winning entrants spanned the breadth of the industry, from food to electronics to DIY. These initiatives, along with many other case studies submitted to the Showcase, have helped to reduce carbon emissions by tens of thousands of tonnes since 2020.

Showcase submissions covered five major areas of carbon emission reduction: in consumer behaviour, in transport and logistics, in propertieswaste, and supply chains. They were judged by experts including those from WWF, WRAP and the Carbon Trust.

Winning entries were picked for their ambition and impact. Screwfix’s initial roll out of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil powered vehicles (Driving Towards Net Zero Properties) reduced carbon emissions by over 2,000 tonnes of CO2e, with plans in place to quadruple this figure. While Currys (Reducing Waste) made 1.3m repairs to old technology last year and collected over 100,000 tonnes of tech for reuse or recycling.

Other entries were picked for innovation and daring to be different. Ocado’s digital deposit return scheme (Changing Consumer Behaviour) demonstrated the potential of technology to enhance household recycling efforts in a cost-effective manner. Meanwhile, John Lewis Partnership compared the effectiveness of different heat pump technologies using digital models, allowing the best approaches to be scaled up to over 350 stores.

The Showcase is taking place during the BRC’s Climate Action Week, which aims to promote  the BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap, a pledge by over 80 major retailers to get the industry and its supply chains to Net Zero by 2040, and encourage retailers to go further, faster. This is an important part of the wider goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive at the BRC, said:

“The cost of living crisis means retailers are focusing ever harder on delivering their customers with the best possible value. However, the commitment to the environment remains strong, and the Showcase gives a flavour of the incredible innovation and ambition to sustainability taking place right across the industry.

“Submissions showed us some of the best practice the industry has to offer, and an opportunity for retailers large and small to learn from each other. The Climate Action Roadmap brings together the entire industry, and the Showcase is another way we can foster and share best practice for the benefit of everyone.

“There is still so much more to do. Retail goods are responsible for 30% of all household greenhouse gas emissions. With the terrible impact of Climate Change being seen day in day out, we must act quickly and decisively and not let the cost of living crisis slow us down The commercial case for reducing climate emissions is there to see; whether it’s reducing energy bills, developing new services to repair products, or minimising logistics costs – investment today is helping to increase the bottom line tomorrow. Consumer expectations are also rising, so those who don’t step up to the plate risk being left behind.”

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