Iceland supports Greenpeace’s call for the Government to impose bottle Deposit Return Scheme

London, 2017-Dec-01 — /EPR Retail News/ — Iceland fully supports Greenpeace’s call for the Government to impose a bottle DepositReturn Scheme (DRS).

Richard Walker, Director for Sustainability at Iceland Foods, said: “Every minute, a truckload of plastic waste enters our oceans. In Britain, we are failing to recycle up to 16 million single use plastic bottles every day.

“This cannot carry on. It is causing untold damage to our oceans and wildlife. It is also a ticking time bomb for humanity, since we all ultimately depend on a healthy ocean environment for our own survival.

“Deposit Return Schemes work. In Norway theirs has led to 96% of all bottles being returned, with similar results in other countries that have adopted a DRS. Britain urgently needs to do the same.

“Introducing a DRS may well add to our costs of doing business. However, we believe it is a small price to pay for the long term sustainability of this planet. I urge all other retailers to do the right thing and follow suit.”

In addition, Iceland has offered its support by hosting a DRS reverse vending machine within a number of its stores for the Government to trial.

About Iceland Foods
Iceland is recognised as the leader in frozen food with 900 stores in the UK. The company prides itself on being a convenient and friendly place to do the family’s weekly shop, as well as to meet everyone’s daily top-up shopping needs for fresh, chilled and frozen food and groceries. Since 1970 Iceland has been proudly demonstrating to shoppers just how the Power of Frozen can deliver an extensive choice of high quality, great-tasting food from fine sources around the world at great value prices. With the Power of Frozen at its heart, Iceland naturally generates low levels of food waste. In the 1980s the company led the way in removing artificial colours, flavours and non-essential preservatives from its own label products, while in the 1990s it became the first national food retailer to remove GM ingredients from its own brand range. Its long history of environmental action includes the launch of the Kyoto range of fridges and freezers in partnership with Greenpeace in 1998, and it has recently completed a company-wide conversion to LED lighting to reduce its carbon footprint. Iceland has won multiple awards for the quality of its products and services, including being named Online Supermarket of the Year by both The Grocer and IGD in 2017. It has ranked as one of the UK’s Best Big Companies to Work For in each of the last 11 years, and was number one in both 2012 and 2014.

ENQUIRIES:
Keith Hann
Director of Corporate Affairs
01244 842228 / 07831 521870
kh@keithhann.com

Source: Iceland Foods

ARA urges Government to make cuts to concurrent spending instead of slugging consumers with a Medicare levy tax hike

ARA urges Government to make cuts to concurrent spending instead of slugging consumers with a Medicare levy tax hike

 

Melbourne, Australia, 2017-May-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) believe this year’s Federal Budget brings some relief for retailers through reducing Government debt, but at the undesirable cost of increasing taxes on Australian individuals and businesses.

While the ARA applauds the strong infrastructure investment and additional skills funding, the Government has missed the mark in focusing its strategy to return to surplus through additional taxation as opposed to cutting spending.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA said although the retail industry welcomed some of tonight’s Budget measures, the ARA urges the Government to make cuts to concurrent spending instead of slugging consumers with a Medicare levy tax hike.

“A tax, is a tax, is a tax, however you dress it up,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“The Medicare levy increase of 0.5 percent to fund the NDIS is just a tax hike in another form that will hit consumer pockets hard.”

The ARA believe the substantial levy on five of the biggest banks, in conjunction with stricter regulation, will go a long way to reduce Australian debt and hopefully stimulate a return to surplus if implemented correctly.

“Our concern with this strategy is that the costs will be passed on by the banks to everyday Australians and small businesses,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Without adequate safeguards to protect customers from these forwarded costs, we are cautious that this levy could prove counter-productive for retail growth.”

The ARA supports the Government’s continued Small Business Information Campaign which includes introduction of the GST low value goods, reducing company tax and extending the $20,000 instant asset write-off scheme for another 12 months.

However, Mr Zimmerman said the ARA is disappointed in the delay to the reduction of the low value threshold and the restricted application of the asset write-off scheme which excludes businesses beyond $10 million turnover.

On the other hand, the ARA congratulates the Government on additional funding and regulation of the Black Economy, and calls for cash alternatives to be regulated at a low cost.

The ARA further supports infrastructure investment, in particular the major projects including the Western Sydney Airport, Melbourne Tullamarine Airport Rail and other regional initiatives.

“These infrastructure projects will improve Australia’s business performance, entice international investors and achieve economic growth,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA commends the additional skills funding in the 2017 Budget, urging the Government to work directly with retailers to address specific skill shortages which affect the core operations of retail businesses.

“On the whole, the 2017 Federal Budget is a step in the right direction for reducing Government debt and providing economic conditions conducive to reinvigorating growth in the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Mr Zimmerman will be available for media comment and interviews at Parliament House in Canberra tonight following the Federal Budget announcement.

For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Line on media@retail.org.au

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

SOURCE: Australian Retailers Association

BRC Publishes Recommendations For Next Government That Promotes Interests of Retail Industry Consumers

London, 2017-May-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has today (May 04, 2017) published its recommendations for the next Government. ‘Pioneers’ sets out the retail industry’s vision for a plan that promotes the interests of consumers in the Brexit negotiations and supports a pioneering, responsible and vibrant industry for the future.

HELEN DICKINSON OBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE BRC SAID:

“The retail industry will want to see plans from the next Government that puts consumers first in the Brexit negotiations, by ensuring that ordinary shoppers are protected from the cost of unwanted new tariffs. Our recent work on UK trade imports, spelled out the cost to consumers’ food bills of leaving without a deal and falling back on WTO rules. Helping retailers to keep prices low for consumers also means negotiating frictionless customs arrangements; providing certainty for EU colleagues working in the UK; and securing the continuity of existing EU legislation as it transfers to the UK.

“The challenges we face as we negotiate our future relationship with Europe makes it essential for policy makers to understand the rapid change and testing conditions that retail must operate in. Policies that support economic growth and a business tax environment fit for purpose in the 21st century, is what’s needed from the next Government to support retail in its mission to drive productivity with better jobs, innovation and investment to improve the communities they serve.”

BRC’S RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE NEXT GOVERNMENT:

FOR A FAIR BREXIT FOR CONSUMERS:

  • Put consumers first in the Brexit negotiations, ensuring that ordinary shoppers are protected from the cost of unwanted new tariffs.
  • Secure a transitional arrangement that recognises all goods in free circulation, thereby avoiding a cliff edge scenario.
  • Provide assurances to the retail industry’s EU workforce.
  • Transfer existing EU regulation into UK law to help provide certainty and continuity.

FOR A PIONEERING ECONOMY IN A CHANGING WORLD:

  • Build a business tax environment fit for purpose in the 21st century.
  • Accelerate investment in digital infrastructure and enable businesses to build the required skills faster.
  • Empower business responsibility and corporate governance.

Contact:
BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

PHILIPPINES: SM group continues commitment to the government and Go Negosyo’s initiative to promote produce grown by local farmers

PHILIPPINES: SM group continues commitment to the government and Go Negosyo’s initiative to promote produce grown by local farmers

 

Pasay City, Philippines, 2017-Mar-08 — /EPR Retail News/ — In the fourth quarter of last year, the Department of Agriculture (DA) with the help of Go Negosyo, finalized an agreement with supermarket and restaurant chains to source directly from local onion farmers and help them sell their produce. As the first to support the initiative, SM Markets immediately ordered and successfully moved 20 metric tons of Nueva Ecija onions. To continue its support, the company has already placed a new order of 100 metric tons or approximately 90,718.5 kilos of red and white onions from Nueva Ecija-based BONEA Multi-purpose cooperative, the local source endorsed by DA Secretary Manny Piñol. The onions are expected to arrive on the second week of March and will be available in select SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket, Savemore Market, and Waltermart branches in Metro Manila.

SM Markets’ continuing support is part of the SM group’s commitment to the government and Go Negosyo’s initiative to promote produce grown by local farmers. Led by Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol and Presidential Adviser on Economic Enterprise Joey Concepcion, the program aims to provide local farmers better access to the market through SM’s chain of stores and other retailers all over Metro Manila.

“Our customers have embraced the DA’s initiative to help the local farmers of Nueva Ecija. We are very pleased to report that we have ordered more than double the previous quantity of onions and we are making it available in more SM Markets stores this time. So far, the partnership between DA and major retailers is going well and we are looking forward to more joint ventures in the future,” says SM Markets consultant for external affairs Pong Ejercito.

With 48 SM Supermarket branches, 146 Savemore Market stores, and 44 SM Hypermarkets, SM Markets remain the largest food retail chain in the country. The group bagged the Philippine Retailers Association’s Best Supermarket award two years in a row with SM Hypermarket gaining Hall of Fame status in 2015. SM Markets has also won numerous DTI Gold Bagwis Service Excellence Seals with SM Supermarket being the first food retailer to win the Corporate Gold Bagwis Seal in 2014 with SM Hypermarket and Savemore Market following a year after. As one of the pioneering supermarket chains in the country, SM Markets continues to deliver world-class products and services to over 230 cities and municipalities nationwide and counting.

For queries, please contact:
Marketing Communications Group
Frances Corsiga – 09175305636
Olivier Guevara – 09175466877

Source: SM Investments Corporation

###

New Zealand: Foodstuffs supports the Government in its fight against Childhood Obesity

Auckland, New Zealand, 2016-Oct-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — In January this year the United Nations released the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) report stating that the world was facing a global epidemic in childhood obesity with the number of overweight children under the age of five predicted to jump to as high as 70 million over the next decade.

Foodstuffs (NZ) Ltd, Managing Director, Steve Anderson says, “As the largest food retailer in New Zealand, we have a role to play in helping support the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan and create healthier communities that will thrive in the long-term.”

As part of its support for the Government’s Plan the key areas Foodstuffs has pledged to focus on are:

  • Promoting the consumption of healthy foods by reformulating private label products to improve their nutritional profile and enable healthier eating.
  • Providing education on diet, nutrition and physical activity through the Food for Thought Charitable Trust.
  • Completing the roll out of Health Star Ratings across our private label portfolio in support of the Government’s message that consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt should be limited.
  • Ensuring all marketing activities comply with the relevant ASA Codes including an updated Code of Advertising to Children.

“We believe that long-term change can be achieved if consumers are supported through a wide range of initiatives that help people make more informed choices, including greater access to healthier alternatives through reformulation,” says Anderson. “We have committed to reformulate our private label products so that by the end of 2018 the sugar and sodium content will be reduced by 10% and saturated fat content continues to be reduced across the range.”

Anderson adds that the levels of these nutrients in new private label products will be given careful consideration, and Foodstuffs will champion the reformulation cause with its suppliers. “We have created a new Supplier Award designed specifically to recognize suppliers’ commitment to change in this area.”

“By pledging to reduce Childhood Obesity and collaborating with Government we hope to begin to see a reduction in the number of children who are overweight and obese,” says Anderson. “Our Food for Thought programme which is a free nutrition education course sponsored by Pams, helps Year 5 and 6 primary school students (9–10 year olds) make healthy food and lifestyle choices.”

“This community based initiative has been designed and developed by nutritionists and teachers working within the New Zealand Health and Physical Education curriculum, and has reached more than 110,000 children since it began in 2007.”

Foodstuffs has been an active supporter of the Health Star Rating (HSR) scheme and since its launch in 2014 has been actively rolling out the labelling scheme across its private label portfolio.

“To date we have 40% of the brand’s 1500 products carrying HSR and we are now committed to completing the rollout to the entire portfolio by the end of 2018” says Anderson. “As a company we are very supportive of the HSR as we believe it provides consumers with a clear guide on how to assess the healthiness of a product compared with other products across a category.”

Contact:

Tel: +64 4 472 6435
Fax: +64 4 472 6412

Source: Foodstuff

BRC calls on Government to put consumers first in the forthcoming Brexit talks

LONDON, 2016-Oct-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — The British Retail Consortium has called on Government negotiators to put consumers first in the forthcoming Brexit talks by ensuring their sights are firmly set on keeping shop prices low once the UK leaves the European Union.

Pledging a positive and constructive approach to achieving the best possible outcome from the negotiations starting in March, the BRC said in a letter to Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox that the Government’s strategy must focus on finding opportunities for lowering import costs as well as avoiding any increase in tariffs.

BRC CHAIRMAN RICHARD BAKER spelled out the importance of achieving trading arrangements with the rest of the world that do not put household budgets at risk.

“We will be supporting the Government through this complex and difficult process, helping them analyse how increased cost pressures on retailers could mean higher shop prices and identifying any opportunities for new trade deals that could benefit individuals and families” he said, launching the BRC’s Brexit campaign.

“The retail industry is the UK’s biggest importer, and has huge experience of importing from every corner of the world. We will be engaged in a constructive dialogue with government that will bring our experience to bear on the Brexit talks to the benefit of everyone in the UK” he added.

COST HEADWINDS

While UK retailers have been very successful in insulating consumers from the cost of rising business rates and labour, the recent devaluation of the pound in relation to our most important trading currencies is compounding economic headwinds, while years of deflation have left little margin to absorb added cost from import tariffs and administrative burdens.

Moreover, failure to strike a good Brexit deal by 2019 would have a disproportionately severe impact on retailers and their customers, because if the UK fell back on to World Trade Organisation rules the new tariff rates that the UK would apply to imports from the EU would be highest for consumer staples like food and clothing.

For example, the average duty on meat imports could be as high as 27%, while clothing and footwear would attract tariffs of 11-16% versus the current zero-rating for all EU imports.

Falling back on to WTO rules would also increase the cost of sourcing from beyond the EU.  The import cost of women’s clothing from Bangladesh would be 12% higher, while Chilean wine would be 14% dearer for importers. This contrasts with duty rates that would apply to raw materials and semi-finished products, many of which would be zero-rated or attract rates of duty of below 10%.

Undoubtedly, there will also be opportunities to reduce the costs of international trade outside the EU. Some of these may take time to materialise – free trade agreements typically take five or six years to negotiate.

But other opportunities to liberalise trade could be realised more quickly. For example, the UK would be free to adopt its own scheme of trade preferences (GSP) for developing countries as soon as it leaves the EU.

In adopting a national version of the GSP, the UK could look to expand the number of countries that could benefit, it could make it easier for goods to comply with the rules-of-origin that allow access to the tariff preferences and it could reduce the number of products that are currently exempted from the scheme.  Not only would this be good for UK consumers, it would provide a great boost to economic development in countries like Bangladesh, Kenya and Sri Lanka.

A FAIR DEAL FOR EU COLLEAGUES

The BRC will also be campaigning with other industry groups for an early end to the uncertainty facing EU workers now residing in the UK and contributing to our economy. The UK retail industry employs between 100,000 and 200,000 EU nationals, who make a huge contribution in every type of role from the boardroom to distribution centres and customer service. They deserve the reassurance that they will still be welcome here, whatever Brexit may bring.

FOCUS ON GROWTH

The third main platform of the BRC’s campaign will be a call on the Government to introduce only such domestic legislation and regulations on the retail industry that will promote growth during what will be a challenging time for retailers and the three million people they employ.

While retailers are happy to play their part in working for a constructive outcome to the Brexit talks, they will also be dealing with the impacts of a challenging economic outlook, intensifying competition and rapid structural change – making it considerably more difficult to protect consumers from the impacts of a greater regulatory burden.

Media Contact:

BRC Press Office
TELEPHONE: + 44 (0) 20 7854 8924
EMAIL: media@brc.org.uk
OUT OF HOURS: +44 (0) 7557 747 269

Source: BRC

BRC: Government must show real leadership in getting every single food company to commit fully in tackling Childhood Obesity

LONDON, 2016-Sep-30 — /EPR Retail News/ — The Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan will have the desired impact only if it ensures the full and equal participation of all companies across every part of the food industry.

Retailers are concerned that the Plan as it stands, relies too heavily on voluntary agreements which have in the past resulted in significantly different levels of effort from the various parts of the industry. The Government must therefore play an active leadership role in delivering the Plan, commit sufficient resources and demonstrate that the proposed voluntary approach will create a level playing field across industry.

Andrew Opie, BRC Director of Food and Sustainability said: “As an industry, we are proud of the leading role that we have played in reformulating our products, promoting healthier alternatives and adopting easy to use on-pack nutritional labelling. In recent years, progressive retailers have found themselves at a competitive disadvantage against those companies which have been slower to reformulate, which is why we had previously called for sugar targets to be mandatory rather than voluntary. Government must now show real leadership in getting every single food company to commit fully and play its part”.

For media enquiries:
Zoe Maddison
Communications Assistant, BRC
Tel: +44 (0)20 7854 8924
Zoe.maddison@brc.org.uk

Source: BRC