Twenty-five, major, UK retailers have signed up to new a range of ambitious targets for reducing their impact on the environment, having successfully achieved their previous collection of goals.
The new set of targets announced at yesterday’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 also marked the launch of a new report, A Better Retailing Climate: Driving Resource Efficiency.
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, and sees them commit to further ambitious goals.
Since A Better Retailing Climate’s launch in 2008, achievements 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.
In a sector first, the supermarkets 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 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.
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.
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.”