According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)’s latest progress report on its “A Better Retailing Climate” (ABRC) initiative; Britain’s retailers are on track to meet ambitious voluntary targets to cut the environmental impact of their operations.
This progress is notwithstanding an increasingly challenging business environment for retailers, it says, driven by a range of factors such as increasing resource scarcity; commodity price fluctuation; and changing shopping habits.
“We fully appreciate the positive role we can play with suppliers and consumers in meeting head on challenges of climate change and resource efficiency. We are confident that we will meet by the year 2020, the ambitious voluntary targets we’ve set for ourselves”
ABRC was launched in 2008, it is a voluntary initiative created by a group of leading retailers (representing half of the UK retail market), which sets out collective environmental impact targets, all of which were not only met but exceeded by 2013.
A new set of targets were agreed in 2014, all of which are to be met by 2020. The progress report is the latest assessment of progress made by the participants in meeting those targets.
Some of the achievements to date by ABRC’s participating retailers as detailed in the progress report include working with farmers and producer groups to reduce food waste and losses in agriculture by reviewing current product specifications and introducing “smarter” ways to forecast.
The retailers have also reduced the proportion of waste sent to landfill by 39% from 2005 to 2016.
Other achievements include:
- cutting in-store carbon emissions by 35% relative to growth, as well as working with suppliers to cut carbon emissions across their supply chains by sharing best practice via information exchange mechanisms
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions arising from refrigeration by 50%
- increasing the measurement of water usage to 91% and working with farms and factories to develop more sustainable water management practices throughout their supply chains
- ensuring that 91%of their palm oil is sustainably sourced
BRC Director of Food and Sustainability Andrew Opie said:
“A Better Retailing Climate clearly demonstrates that creating and maintaining sustainable supply chains is at the heart of retail businesses.
“We fully appreciate the positive role we can play with suppliers and consumers in meeting head on challenges of climate change and resource efficiency. We are confident that we will meet by the year 2020, the ambitious voluntary targets we’ve set for ourselves.”
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