The British Retail Consortium (BRC) announced the launch of the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, a new initiative aiming to lead the UK retail industry to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The BRC is a trade association with membership comprised of over 170 major retailers representing £180 billion of retail sales and over 1.5 million employees.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said:

“Climate change is a threat that none of us can afford to ignore. 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.

“Never before has an entire industry been so ambitious in 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 new roadmap outlines five areas of action for the retail industry, including putting decarbonisation at the core of all business decision making, reducing carbon emissions from shops and distribution centres, moving to net zero logistics operations, increasing sustainably sourced products, and helping customers and employees to live low carbon lifestyles.

Today’s announcement from the BRC includes a call upon the UK government to work in partnership with the retail industry on the new initiative. The association stated that with government support, it believes the industry can decarbonise stores by 2030, deliveries by 2035 and products by 2040.

According to the BRC, 63 leading retailers have already announced their support for the new climate initiative.

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.”

Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate Change at WWF 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 degree future, and stand up and be counted. 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.”