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How retailers can help their customers move towards net zero

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A new report offers practical ways for retailers to help their customers move towards net zero. 

Compiled by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and PwC, the guide “Helping Customers Live Low-Carbon Lifestyles” outlines best practices for becoming a more sustainable consumer and common stumbling blocks to avoid. 

The advice is broken down into into four actionable steps, from how to engage and educate customers on the benefits of low-carbon living, through to top tips on disposing of unwanted products in an eco-friendly manner. 

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, explains: “Climate change is the greatest threat we face as a society, and we as an industry have a duty to fight it. The products consumers buy from our stores account for nearly a third of each household’s carbon emissions. 

“The BRC is working closely with retailers; sharing some of the very best practices in the industry and using this to help and support others,” she adds.

The move could help retailers meet the Climate Action Roadmap’s Net Zero goal in time for 2040, says the trade association. 

Tom Beagent, director, sustainability and climate change at PwC, says: “Retailers have a pivotal role to play in helping these less environmentally conscious consumers access better information and make it easier for people to make low carbon choices.” 

BRC is one of the many companies striving for change as the retail sector’s damage to the environment is growing alarmingly more transparent. Recent research from Accenture found that U.K. households cut their carbon emissions by an estimated 33 million tonnes in 2020 as people spent less during the pandemic. 

Lauren Ing, managing director, sustainability, Accenture U.K. and Ireland, comments: “The pandemic has not only had a major impact on consumption levels. It has also opened consumers’ eyes to the impact their purchasing decisions have on the environment and society. Concrete commitments to sustainability initiatives will be one of the most important drivers of competitiveness and growth for businesses in the coming decade. Brands with vague, green promises that fail to capitalise on the demand for lower carbon and more sustainable offerings risk losing consumer trust and loyalty in the years ahead.”

For further inspiration on building a greener future for your business, check out the RetailX Sustainability 2020 report.

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