Comment: Retailers can grow and stay green

Retailers understand the need to operate in a sustainable way. Picture: TSPL

Retailers understand the need to operate in a sustainable way. Picture: TSPL

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PARTNERSHIP lets retail businesses grow and stay green, says David Martin

The retail industry in Scotland serves 5.3 million people in 28m transactions per week, employs around 250,000 Scots and generates £26 billion of sales. Retail is important to Scotland.

With such a significant footprint and direct involvement in their communities, retailers understand the need to operate in a sustainable way that ensures they can continue to serve those communities in the most responsible and efficient way possible. To do otherwise would make little business sense.

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That is why at our annual parliamentary reception the Scottish Retail Consortium is launching a publication that showcases the innovation and investment retailers have been undertaking to reduce their environmental impact and increase the resource efficiency of their operations.

A key plank of this activity has been a voluntary initiative that leading retailers have been working on since 2008, called A Better Retailing Climate. Through this initiative the retail industry in Scotland has taken a global leadership role in reducing the environmental impact of their own direct operations and supporting change along the supply chain.

Much has already been achieved since 2008, including substantial reductions in greenhouse gases and carbon emissions from retail operations. A cut in energy-related emissions from retail buildings by 50 per cent is close to being achieved and retailers have been successful in reducing retail waste sent to landfill, including food waste, by 41 per cent since 2008. A further ambition to send less than 1 per cent of waste to landfill by 2020 is on track.

The key message from the retail sector as we move forward with our new and even more ambitious targets is that the retail industry recognises and is acting on its environmental responsibility with much success. All of this is being achieved without the need for coercive action from government but rather is successful because government is prepared to work in partnership.

In 2015 we hope that government continues to recognise these significant achievements, doing what it does best by creating a supportive environment for firms to grow so retailers can get on with what they do best.

• David Martin is head of policy & external affairs at the Scottish Retail Consortium

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