British Retail Consortium reveals over 60 chains have now signed up to roadmap that aims to deliver net zero emissions across the sector by 2040
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has provided an update on its Climate Action Roadmap, revealing that the number of companies signed up its goal of delivering net zero emissions by 2040 has swelled to over 60 leading chains in recent months.
Unveiled earlier this year with the backing of 20 major retailers, the Roadmap sets out how the retail sector could decarbonise its stores by 2030, its deliveries by 2035, and its products and supply chains by 2040.
The group features high street brands, supermarkets, and online retailers, including leading brands such as Boots, IKEA, Asos, M&S, Ocado, Sainsbury's, Ted Baker, and many others.
"Climate change is a threat that none of us can afford to ignore," said Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium. "The BRC Climate Action Roadmap is a clear and decisive statement that the retail industry is ready to take on this challenge - to be part of the solution. By 2040, we want every UK customer to be able to be able to make purchases - in store and online - safe in the knowledge that they are not contributing to global heating."
The Climate Action Roadmap - which was debuted yesterday as part of UN's Race to Zero Dialogues series of events - sets out several areas of focus for retailers, such as embedding emissions goals in business decision-making processes and taking steps to reduce emissions from shops and logistics. It also highlights the crucial role the sector has to play in catalysing the development of more sustainable products and promoting low carbon lifestyles to customers and employees.
And the report highlights how retailers can help drive green innovations, such as algae-based carbon-absorbing clothes, on-site renewables generation, electric vehicle and drone deliveries, and the use of 3D printers.
Dickinson stressed that the sector had a critical role to play in the wider net zero transition. "Retail is the critical gateway between vast international supply chains and every one of us as citizens," she said. "We have a fantastic opportunity to make a real global difference if we can all work collectively."
The new strategy was welcomed by Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change, who said the Climate Action Roadmap represented 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," he said.
Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate change at WWF, urged customers to support those businesses that were committed to delivering net zero emissions. "Business has a huge role to play in tackling the climate crisis - every business leader must decide urgently whether they are working towards a 1.5C future, and stand up and be counted," he said. "The BRC and its members are leading the way with this bold commitment. As customers, let's show our support to the businesses making this commitment. And as citizens let's call on government to work with the BRC and other corporate leaders to help deliver on it, and bring other businesses along with them."
The Net Zero Leadership Hub is brought to you in partnership with BT, as part of its support for the Net Zero Leadership Stream at the world's first Net Zero Festival this autumn. All the content on the Hub is fully editorially independent unless otherwise stated.