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My View: Government must help retail sector to act on green issue

Published:  18 January, 2007

The British Retail Consortium has brought together a string of household -name retailers - from supermarkets to clothing, DIY to homewares - to make a series of industry-wide environmental pledges for the next five years.

Retailing is not a major water-user either. But by 2012, we aim to meter locations which account for about three quarters of what we do use, so we can objectively assess what can be done to reduce it.

We aim to improve the energy efficiency of our vehicles, distribution systems and stores, and to reduce, recover, recycle and manage our unavoidable waste sustainably, and make appropriate use of rainwater.

But retailing also has a unique relationship with our customers, who control over 60% of direct emissions of greenhouse gases - and even more indirectly through what they buy. That's why we've also set some big goals for leading changes in customer behaviour.

But only a thriving retail sector can deliver on all this. That's why we need Government to reduce the burdens on retail, not add to them, to allow us to make a full contribution to the green agenda.

Stephen Robertson is director general of the British Retail Consortium