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UK retail industry sets ambitious targets for reducing its impact on the environment

London, UK, 2014-1-31 — /EPR Retail News/ —  The UK retail industry is today (Wednesday) signing up to a range of ambitious targets for reducing its impact on the environment, having beaten the previous set across all areas.

Commitments to be announced at today’s A Better Retailing Climate launch event include a collective pledge to reduce absolute carbon emissions by 25 per cent by 2020, putting the industry well on course to meet the 80 per cent overall target set by the UK Climate Change Bill.

The event at the House of Commons will also mark the launch of a new report, A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency. The BRC’s A Better Retailing Climate initiative is midway through its journey, one that has already seen massive positive change. 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. The new set of targets and commitments demonstrates that the UK retail sector is innovative, forward thinking and a true global leader in this area.

The report shows that the 25 signatories, who represent half of UK retail by turnover, exceeded all their targets for reducing waste, energy and water usage up to 2013. It also showcases what the industry is doing across a wide range of environmental areas including responsible sourcing, sustainable products and reducing water and energy usage.

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 per cent by 2020, and to divert less than 1 per cent 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.”

Media Contacts: BRC Press Office 020 7854 8920 Out of hours 07921 605544.

Notes to Editors:

A full copy of A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency is available at:

It is being launched at a lunchtime reception today, hosted by Justin Tomlinson MP, with speeches from Owen Paterson MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and Ian Cheshire, BRC Chairman.

The BRC’s A Better Retailing Climate initiative was set up in 2008, and committed businesses representing the majority of the UK retail market to sector-wide green goals.

The results it reveals include:

Waste: Exceeded target. Retailers committed to reduce waste sent to landfill to below 15 per cent by 2013, with a longer term aspiration to achieve zero waste to landfill. In 2013, signatories sent 6 per cent of waste direct to landfill, down from 47 per cent in 2005.

Transport: Exceeded target. Signatories committed to reduce delivery emissions by 15 per cent by 2013 (compared with 2005 levels). In fact they achieved a 29 per cent reduction by 2013.

Buildings: Exceeded target. Signatories committed to cut energy-related emissions from buildings by 25 per cent by 2013 (compared with 2005 levels and allowing for growth), and achieved a 30 per cent reduction.

Refrigeration: Exceeded target. Signatories committed to halve emissions from refrigeration by 2013 (relative to floor space to allow for business growth), and managed a 55 per cent reduction.

Water: Exceeded target. Signatories committed to measure water-use in sites collectively anticipated as accounting for 75 per cent of water usage. In 2013, an estimated 83 per cent of water usage was measured, up from 50 per cent in 2005.

The new targets are:

Carbon (retail operations): Signatories will reduce their absolute carbon emissions from retail operations by 25 per cent by 2020 based on 2005 levels.

Resource efficiency in buildings: Signatories will cut energy-related emissions from buildings by 50 per cent by 2020, accounting for growth, compared with 2005 levels.

Refrigeration:. Signatories will reduce emissions from refrigeration gases by 80 per cent by 2020, relative to floor space. They will begin phasing out HFC refrigerants by 2015 and replace them with non-HFC refrigerants, in line with the Consumer Goods Forum Commitment.

Transport: Signatories will reduce energy-related carbon emissions from store deliveries by 45 per cent by 2020, compared with 2005 levels.

Water (retail operations): Signatories will measure water usage in sites collectively anticipated as accounting for 100 per cent of usage by 2020. They will set a reduction target when the targets are reviewed in 2015.

Retail waste: Signatories will divert waste from landfill so that less than 1 per cent of their waste is landfilled by 2010.


Helen Dickinson BRC Director General
Helen Dickinson
BRC Director General
EPR Retail News