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Education key to reducing waste, say BRC as it partners with Company Shop Group to inspire industry

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The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is urging the UK retail industry to grab the opportunity of a post-pandemic rebuild to create a more sustainable industry – and is looking at how to educate both retailers and consumers in the coming months to make this happen.

To achieve this, the BRC has joined forces with Company Shop Group to educate and inspire the retail industry to help reduce unnecessary waste. The Group, which is the UK’s largest redistributor of surplus food and products, has been announced as the BRC’s official Sustainability Partner for the year ahead.

With a heritage spanning five decades, Company Shop Group has long been at the forefront of the retail industry’s sustainability agenda. It will be working closely with the BRC, engaging with BRC members through various digital resources and events to help educate, inspire and change mindsets across the industry when it comes to sustainably handling surplus stock and reducing unnecessary waste.

The partnership comes at a critical time, as the country enters a third national lockdown which will create ongoing high levels volatility within the supply chain as a result of retail and hospitality closures, likely leading to an additional increase in surplus stock.

To support the industry’s recovery from the pandemic, the BRC and Company Shop Group are encouraging retailers and businesses to ensure they are unlocking all value from stock and operating as sustainably as possible. The Group’s trusted and well-established distribution network enables it to provide ready-made solutions to help retailers to minimise unnecessary waste, extract maximum value from surplus and ensure all products reach the end consumer, as intended

The Group works with all the major retailers, manufacturers and brands to stop good food and products from needlessly going to waste. By purchasing surplus stock from the FMCG supply chain and redistributing it across its network of 17 membership-only stores at heavily discounted prices, Company Shop provides a financial return to its industry partners, whilst generating positive social and environmental benefits.

The latest partnership between the BRC and Company Shop Group reflects both parties’ long-standing relationship and is another step on the road towards building a more sustainable retail industry, with the reduction of unnecessary food and product waste and greater industry collaboration key.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, explains: “The BRC and Company Shop are at the forefront of driving a greener, more sustainable retail economy. This new partnership creates a powerful collaboration supporting the industry to embed more sustainable practices across its supply chains. As we begin to look at how we might recover from the coronavirus crisis there has never been a better opportunity to rebuild a more sustainable industry. We look forward to continuing the work already underway and hope that this partnership will give BRC members the insight and opportunities to make the progress needed to reduce food and product waste.”

Jane Marren, Managing Director of Company Shop Group, adds: “We have long worked closely with the British Retail Consortium and its members to help tackle unnecessary waste and to champion sustainable business practices which protect the environment, support businesses stability and maximise positive social impact.

“It is essential that businesses use surplus management and redistribution as an asset for themselves, for the planet and for communities everywhere. Fluctuations in the supply chain are likely to be greater than ever this year, especially with another national lockdown, but we can help – if stock can be eaten, used or worn, then we can take it.”

Marren concludes: “This partnership with the BRC is fitting for our collective and ongoing sustainability work, and we very much look forward to continuing to work closely together as we support the industry and our retail partners to achieve their ambitious goals”.

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