This week’s launch of the Net Zero Industry Act and last week’s adoption of the temporary crisis framework and General Block Exemption rules represent important steps toward reaching the EU’s climate goals – and the retail and wholesale sector has a big role to play its part across Europe.
Retailers and wholesalers consume altogether 220-240TWh per year, much more than many energy-intensive, or electro-intensive, sectors. The retail and wholesale sector is working to reduce this consumption through its commitments to the UN Race to Zero. It is shaping and sharing best practices on energy saving, sustainability measures and is generally supporting the energy transition.
A recent study by EuroCommerce and McKinsey recognises the potential of an advance towards net zero by retailers and wholesalers. Action to reduce up to 90% of their Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions requires an investment of up to €300bn by 2030. The sector also has the capability to partner with its supply chain and consumers to reduce emissions and to take steps to become a supplier of green energy. If incentives are given to retailers and wholesalers to feed the excess energy produced through solar panels and wind turbines back into the grid, captured on an estimated 500 million sqm of real estate across the EU, this could offer huge potential benefits for Europe.
EuroCommerce Director General, Christel Delberghe says: “Retailers and wholesalers are present throughout the EU and can play a significant role in driving the demand for renewables and investment in renewable energy production. Creating incentives to increase investments in net zero operations, including the generation and storage of green energy itself, can offer win-win outcomes. These benefits will help provide the EU with the opportunity to meet its climate goals and will encourage improvements in energy efficiency and innovation by our businesses. This, in turn, will help reduce energy price volatility and offer more stable prices for EU citizens, improving the competitiveness of our EU businesses and the competitiveness of the EU itself, simultaneously.”
She concludes: “Retail and wholesale can be a key partner in the delivery of the Green Deal Industrial Plan‘s objectives. We welcome the focus on support mechanisms for suppliers of clean energy and technology. However, to be a success, and to achieve the Green Deal’s ambitions, the strategy also needs to be reinforced with concrete incentives for users, including through access to financial support.”