UK retailers meet emission reduction targets two years early

2nd August 2019

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Benjamin Bryant

Almost 30 leading UK retailers have met their combined emission reduction targets two years earlier than originally planned, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed today.

M&S, Morrisons, Asda and Sainsbury's are among those signed up to the BRC's Better Retailer Better World scheme, which includes a carbon emission reduction target of 25% by 2020.

But today's data shows that the signatories have already surpassed this target after achieving a 36% cut last year, partly thanks to the use of biofuels and renewable energy across their supply chains.

Along with cutting carbon emissions, the retailers have committed to tackle modern slavery, inequalities, and promote decent work, sustainable economic growth and responsible production.

“We are facing a climate emergency; it is ever more important for businesses to unite to tackle these global challenges,“ BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson OBE, said.

“While we can see significant progress being made, we should not underestimate the scale of the challenge before us.“

Relative to floor space, the findings show that carbon emissions from stores, and energy-related carbon emissions from deliveries were down 67% and 47% last year respectively.

Specifically, Morrison's achieved a 40% reduction in their overall operational carbon emissions after cutting electricity use, surpassing their individual 2020 target of 30%.

The John Lewis Partnership reduced its carbon intensity by 70% between 2010 and 2018, while Sainsbury's have cut their emissions by 35% since 2005, ahead of their 2020 target.

Overall, the retailers also achieved a 2% reduction in waste sent to landfill last year, compared to their 2020 target of 1%, and cut the amount of water used in their stores by 23%, surpassing their 2020 goal of 19%.

“The public want to know that the food they eat, the clothes they wear and the goods they buy, are ethically made and responsibly sourced,“ Dickinson continued.

“Better Retail Better World brings together retailers to collaboratively play their part in creating a sustainable future.“

Image credit: iStock


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