For the first time in the UK the retail sector has united to introduce a set of comprehensive industry-wide pledges to tackle climate change.

Retail giants, including Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, have agreed upon a number of targets for the next five years.

Commitments include cutting emissions, cutting water use, reducing waste sent to landfill, reducing packaging, offering energy efficient products, developing carbon footprinting on goods and improving recycling for customers.

Over 40% of the total retail industry has signed up to the scheme.

British Retail Consortium (BRC), the organisation behind the initiative, told just-food today (30 April) that while the pact alone may only have a limited impact on climate change the real hope is that retailers will exercise a degree of influence on their customers.

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“Can these proposals make a difference to climate change? In and of themselves, no,” a spokesperson for the BRC commented.

“Only a small proportion of CO2 emissions come from the retail industry, but it is hoped that retailers can use the special relationship they have with consumers to change their behaviour. By creating incentives and making it easier for consumers to reduce emissions there is a greater chance of this.”