Majority of UK retail sector working to cut CO2

15th December 2011

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  • Retail and wholesale ,
  • Certification ,
  • Management/saving ,
  • Mitigation



More than half of the money taken in UK shops is being spent with firms committed to lowering their carbon footprint, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC)

Figures from the BRC has revealed that companies accounting for more than 50% of the UK’s retail market are certified against the Carbon Trust Standard, which requires them to measure, manage and cut their CO2 emissions.

Well-known high street names including John Lewis, Boots, Marks & Spencer, Asda and Sainsbury’s, are certified to the standard which is designed to help organisations improve their energy efficiency and asks them to commit to cutting emissions over the long term.

Bob Gordon, head of environment at the BRC, says the figures show how the retail sector is leading the rest of the UK economy in taking a proactive approach to cutting carbon. However, he admits the tough economic climate has been a factor in encouraging firms to take a closer look at their energy use.

“The sector can be proud that more and more retailers are introducing energy-efficiency improvements,” he said. “There’s clearly a strong business case to do so. Helping the environment reflects positively on reputation and reduces energy bills.”

According to the Carbon Trust, adopting the standard in July 2011 helped Selfridges to cut CO2 emissions from its operations by 4,700 tonnes and save more than £500,000 on gas and electricity costs, by inspiring actions such as offering bonuses to facilities managers for reducing energy consumption.

The John Lewis Partnership (JLP), which adopted the standard in June 2010, has since cut all hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) emissions from its refrigeration systems and achieved a 4.4% efficiency improvement in emissions across its stores compared with 2007/08.

Gemma Lacey, JLP’s head of corporate social responsibility, said: “The partnership has a target to reduce its absolute carbon emissions by 15% by 2020 (compared with a 2010/11 baseline). The Carbon Trust Standard helps us to demonstrate our commitment to this target, engage our staff in carbon reduction plans and provide assurance to our customers, who expect us to be doing the right thing.”

The news from the BRC came after research from BrandZ revealed approximately 20% of all sales are influenced by corporate reputation. Another survey for the Carbon Trust found that 61% of people asked were more likely to buy goods from a company if it has a good reputation for reducing its impact on climate change.


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