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March 15, 2013

Alice Ellison,
Environment Policy Adviser, BRC
A new progress report shows that retailers have beaten a range of challenging targets for reducing their impact on the environment.

The A Better Retailing Climate progress report launched today by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that retailers went above and beyond industry-leading commitments to reduce their waste, energy and water usage in 2012.

The sector is also on track with ambitious goals to reduce the environmental impact of customers in the supply chain, in areas including packaging and food waste in the home.

This is the latest assessment against commitments set by the BRC's A Better Retailing Climate initiative, which was set up in 2008 and committed businesses representing the majority of the UK retail market to sector-wide green goals.

A Better Retailing Climate also makes recommendations to Government to help drive further progress. These include developing more forward-looking and consistent policies for carbon reduction, and implementing provisions in the 2012 draft Water Bill to enable businesses to choose their water suppliers. The BRC is also calling for EU regulations governing the shape and size of fruit and vegetables to be relaxed further so that more ‘wonky veg' can be sold in stores.

British Retail Consortium Environment Policy Adviser Alice Ellison said: "This update demonstrates that the retail industry is going above and beyond in its commitments to reducing its environmental impact across all aspects of its operations. Despite the downturn and other challenges affecting business, retailers are continuing to innovate and collaborate in this space, which delivers real environmental benefits as well as value for their customers.

"We want to keep this momentum going past the 2008 commitments, so our next step is setting new targets to build on this progress and continue to invest in protecting the planet."

The results it reveals include:

Exceeded target
Retailers committed to reduce waste sent to landfill to below 15 per cent by 2013. Signatories beat that target two years early, sending just 10 per cent of waste to landfill in 2012 (down from 45 per cent in 2005).

Exceeded target
Retailers committed to reduce delivery emissions by 15 per cent by 2013 (compared with 2005 levels). In fact they achieved a 27 per cent reduction by 2012.

Exceeded target
Retailers committed to cut energy-related emissions from buildings by 25 per cent by 2013 (compared with 2005 levels and allowing for growth). By 2012, these emissions were down by 33 per cent.

Exceeded target
Retailers committed to halve emissions from refrigeration by 2013 (relative to floor space to allow for business growth). By 2012, these had been reduced by 52 per cent.

Exceeded target
Retailers committed to measure water-use in sites collectively anticipated as accounting for 75 per cent of water usage. By 2012, an estimated 87 per cent of water usage was measured.

Customers and suppliers
On Track
Retailers are on track to meet challenging targets for reducing customer impact in the supply chain, across food waste, packaging and carrier bags.

Notes to Editors

A full copy of A Better Retailing Climate: Progress Report 2012 is available at:

25 retail businesses (comprising 26 retail brands) are signed up to the a better retailing climate commitments, comprising 50 per cent of uk retail by turnover.

Targets on food waste and packaging were set as part of the courtauld commitment, a voluntary responsibility deal between wrap and retailers and brands aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing the carbon and wider environmental impact of the uk grocery sector. the courtauld commitment phase 2 agreement ended in december 2012 and the final results will be reported in autumn 2013.

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