|Printable version||E-mail this to a friend|
Retailers show commitment to resource efficiency
The latest report from the European Retail Forum for Sustainability shows retailers taking the environment into consideration in their business decisions more actively than ever. Companies in the forum are paying more attention to the greening of their supply chains, sustainable distribution systems and the use of renewable energies. This shows that environmental responsibility increasingly make business sense and contributes to EU policies to promote sustainable consumption and production.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Retailers are in a strong position to support resource efficiency – they can influence their supply chain's environmental performance and stimulate changes in consumer behaviour. The environmental commitments delivered by the members of the Retail Forum have demonstrated what is possible and I would like to see this positive experience being rolled out through more widespread and general adoption of such good sustainable practices. The retail sector has a lot to gain by increasing consumer confidence in the credibility of environmental claims and actions and I wish the Retail Forum success in further developing the tools to enable this."
Retailers in the Forum pledge to carry out specific environmental actions to contribute to sustainable consumption and resource efficiency. Since the Forum was created in 2009 its members' targets and achievements have been monitored on an annual basis. The latest monitoring report describes the 390 environmental commitments made in 3 categories (“what we sell”, “how we sell” and “communication”) by 2010 – 100 more than in 2009.
A number of best practice achievements have been highlighted by the report. To promote supply chain sustainability, the Metro Group, in cooperation with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), introduced a supplier training programme to developing and emerging countries. Auchan achieved savings of almost 10,000 tons in the use of packaging material, while Mercadona eliminated 80 % of single-use plastic bags in 150 stores. Tesco UK achieved the goal of sending zero waste to landfills, while Inditex reduced the average power consumption in 840 stores by 42 %. More examples of commitments made by specific retailers can be found in the report.
The report also reveals that commitments increasingly reflect the recommendations and best practices described in Retail Forum issue papers on sustainable timber, environmental labelling, energy efficiency and carbon footprint of stores, environmental life cycle information for products, information to consumers, packaging, transport and logistics.
The Retail Forum was launched in March 2009 as a voluntary multi-stakeholder platform. Membership is open to all retailers who join the Retailers' Environmental Action Programme (REAP) and also to civil society organisations.
It was set up to facilitate dialogue between the European Commission, retailers and key stakeholders, to generate a better understanding of the practical measures needed to promote sustainable consumption. Part of the Europe 2020 Strategy to deliver smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the core idea of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) policy is to meet our own growth and consumption needs in such a way that we do not deprive future generations.
SCP policy contributes to Europe 2020's Resource Efficiency Flagship Initiative by helping to translate macro-level objectives of the Resource Efficiency policy (decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation) to micro-level objectives, thereby driving individual economic actors to achieve the best environmental performance economically possible.
Currently, retailers contribute 13 % of Europe's GDP while the food and drinks, housing and mobility sectors generate around 70-80 % of the negative environmental impacts of consumption. As retailers are active in all three areas, enhancing sustainability through retailer action can reap significant environmental benefits.
Services on Monitoring Retailers’ REAP commitments (full report, summary report and annexes)
The Retail Forum:
Latest News from
New EU support for the Civil Society in Ukraine16/09/2014 11:25:00
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle and Prime Minister of Ukraine Arseniy Yatsenyuk signed a new programme to support civil society in Ukraine. The new programme, worth €10 million, is designed to enhance the role of civil society in promoting and monitoring democratic reforms and inclusive socio-economic development in Ukraine.
EU leads an international demarche against whaling by Iceland16/09/2014 10:25:00
The EU, its 28 Member States and the governments of the United States, Australia, Brazil, Israel, New Zealand, Mexico and Monaco, have declared their opposition to the fact that the Icelandic government still permits commercial whaling, in particular the hunting of fin whales and the subsequent trading of fin whale products.
Immigration needs a courageous and inclusive European approach15/09/2014 13:25:00
With hundreds of thousands of refugees a year crossing the Mediterranean, Member States such as Italy, Malta and Greece are reaching the limits of their capacity. Securing borders and accommodating asylum seekers cannot be left to just a handful of Member States but has to be addressed at European level.
EU and Chinese customs join forces to target undervaluation of goods at customs15/09/2014 12:25:00
EU and national authorities prevented losses of over €80 million in customs duties, during a major joint customs operation (JCO) coordinated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). This joint customs operation had particular significance as, for the first time ever, it also involved Chinese customs authorities.