Retailers commit to cutting emissions and reducing environmental impact

Argos, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s are among a string of household-name retailers pledging to reduce the direct environmental impact of their businesses.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents retail employers, announced a series of voluntary commitments retailers should follow at an event with environment secretary Hilary Benn, yesterday.

These included cutting emissions from buildings and vehicles, reducing waste sent to landfill, cutting water use, offering energy efficient products, reducing packaging and developing carbon footprinting of products.

Stephen Robertson, BRC director-general, said: “By agreeing industry-wide goals for the next five years, retail is ratcheting up its environmental commitments. We recognise we can make a real difference through our own operations and by supporting customers and staff in ways that suit their budgets and lifestyles.

“The pledges made today show that business success and environmental protection can go hand in hand.”

The new commitments will be achieved by, for example:

  • Improving the energy efficiency of vehicles, distribution systems and stores
  • Minimising waste from operations and sustainably managing any unavoidable waste
  • Measuring water use to drive more efficient use and appropriate use of rainwater
  • Reducing own-brand packaging and encouraging the same for big-name brands
  • Improving recycling and environmental impact information for customers
  • Planning for the effects of less predictable weather on supplies and logistics.

Other retailers who have signed up to the commitments include Next, Asda, Homebase, John Lewis, Waitrose and Tesco.

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