UK retail sector pledges net-zero carbon emissions by 2040

UK retail sector pledges net-zero carbon emissions by 2040

Read Time:   |  11th November 2020

Major players in the UK retail industry have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, as part of the British Retail Consortium’s Climate Action Roadmap.

The UK retail sector has made a significant pledge this week, aiming to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the year 2040. The 63 retailers have made this pledge as part of the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Climate Action Roadmap.

The BRC is planning to fight climate change in the retail industry by decarbonising retail stores by 2030, deliveries by 2035, and products by 2040.

Among the 63 retailers are major players including supermarkets Aldi and Lidl, high- street favourites WHSmith and Costa, and specialist retailers Burberry and The Body Shop.

The Climate Action Roadmap

The roadmap is made up of five steps: putting decarbonisation at the core of business decisions, reducing emissions from shops and distribution centres, moving to net-zero logistics operations, increasing the number of sustainably sourced products, and helping consumers and employees live low-carbon lifestyles.

The BRC have come up with a huge range of ideas from algae-based carbon-absorbing clothes, retail spaces run on energy captured from customers’ footsteps, droned deliveries and even 3D-printed products at home.

However, the BRC inevitably needs government support to achieve these goals and carry out their bold ideas. If this is granted, the BRC could help the UK be a leader in the transition to a zero-carbon world.

‘A fundamental goal’

Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change said: “Through the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, retailers are setting a world-leading industry ambition to reach net-zero emissions. It’s a fundamental goal, requiring bold leadership from government and from commerce — I highly commend each retailer who supports this initiative.”

‘Tackling climate change’

The WWF’s head of climate change, Gareth Redmond-King, said: “Business has a huge role to play in tackling the climate crisis – every business leader must decide urgently whether they are working towards a 1.5°C future, and stand up and be counted. The BRC and its members are leading the way with this bold commitment.”

Helen Dickinson, the chief executive of the BRC, added that no industry has been so ambitious about tackling climate change. “Retail is the critical gateway between vast international supply chains and every one of us as citizens. We have a fantastic opportunity to make a real global difference if we can all work collectively.”

The efforts of the BRC could make a huge difference to the retail sector in bringing it closer to having a positive effect on the planet. However, with irreversible damage being carried out right now, we need change to start happening immediately.

Worried about climate change?
Click here to read our guide on how to deal with eco-anxiety.

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