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Major Retailers Sign Voluntary Sustainable Business Code

The European Retail Round Table (ERRT) and EuroCommerce have announced a voluntary sustainable business code for Europe’s retailers one year after the launch of the Retailers’ Environmental Action Programme (REAP). Under the new business code, retailers commit to sustainable actions in six areas: sourcing, resource efficiency, transport and distribution, waste management and communications and reporting.

The Code for Environmentally Sustainable Business (PDF) has been signed by 17 companies including Asda Wal-Mart, Marks and Spencer, and Tesco as well as nine federations.

Other retailers that have signed the code are Auchan, Carrefour, C&A, Delhaize, Ikea, Inditex, Kaufland, Kingfisher, Mercator, Mercadona, Metro Group, Rewe Group, Royal Ahold, and Coop Switzerland. The program is open to all retailers.

Federation members include ANGED (Asocación Nacional de Grandes Empresas de Distribución), CCP (Confederação de Comércio e Serviços de Portugal), CEC (Confederación Española de Comercio), CLC (Conféderation Luxembourgeoise du Commerce), EuroCommerce, ERRT (European Retail Round Table), FCD (Fédération des Entreprises du Commerce et de la Distribution), Fedis (Fédération des Entreprises de Distribution), Finnish Commerce Federation, and Kaupan Liitto (Federation of Finnish Commerce).

By signing the code retailers are committed to implementing measures to reduce the environmental footprint of their operations. As an example, in the area of resource efficiency, action items may include the reduction of energy, water and paper consumption, as well as a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their own operations and/or stores.

Other actionable measures include increased use of renewable energy, use of efficient refrigeration and heating systems, retrofits to include use of more natural light and energy-efficient lighting systems, and implementation of eco-management practices.

Some retailers like Asda and Tesco are already implementing such measures. As an example, these retailers, together with Sainsbury’s and Boots, have voluntarily agreed to reduce the carbon footprint of their grocery packaging by 10 percent by 2012.

Tesco also recently announced that its distribution center in Widnes, England, will be 100-percent powered by renewable energy generated from food waste.

In June, Marks & Spencer achieved a 20 percent reduction in food packaging, increased energy efficiency in stores by 19 percent, and used 417 million fewer carrier bags last year.

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