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Majority of retailers see sustainability as business driver, BRC survey finds

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A new survey of British Retail Consortium (BRC) members has found 85% outline sustainability as a business driver, and 72% have a roadmap to go beyond minimum compliance, but there are further opportunities.

The Imperative to Act: Advancing Sustainability Maturity within the UK Retail Industry, conducted with BearingPoint, highlighted that there will be more investment in data and technology. It found many retailers (87%) rely on collecting sustainability data, such as Scope 3 emissions, manually. By automating the process of collecting data, retailers will also have more time for value-adding activities such as co-development of new sustainable products.

Additionally, 74% said they lack tools for simulating the effects of sustainability related changes. Retailers need to fully assess how different their future operating context could be and whether they have the right strategy to support this in the long-term.

While, over two thirds have taken steps to communicate the sustainability of their products, 45% were unable to state the percentage of revenue that comes from sustainable produces/services. Progress is therefore required to build trust and transparently communicate their progress with customers and external stakeholders.

“There is still much to do,” said Tracey Banks, climate action roadmap manager at the British Retail Consortium.

“We need to see greater weight given to sustainability criteria in sourcing; clear links between achievement and renumeration at all levels and increased use of technologies for measuring and monitoring in order to drive down emissions. It is also key, given that 40% of respondents did not know what proportion of their revenue came from sustainable products or services, that retailers take the opportunity to grasp how sustainable products drive their portfolios.”

The challenges, future possibilities, and realities of sustainable retail will be discussed at a brand new event.

SustainabilityX, part of RetailX Event’s Spring Festival, will also delve into how retailer and brands maintain trust in an industry in which consumers are wary of greenwashing. 

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