Sustainability Priority For Retail

A maturity survey from BCG and the World Retail Congress finds that sustainability is now a strategic priority for many retail companies. However, the sector as a whole has some way to go before it can claim truly sustainable retailing credentials. It says only a few large retail operations are significantly reducing the climate impact along their value chains or embedding sustainable behaviour throughout their own organizations. Most have yet to put in place comprehensive sustainability agendas, and fewer than 20 per cent indicate that they are on track to abate their direct and indirect emissions to perform in line with the goal set by the Paris Agreement in 2015 of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5⁰C. This report underscores the pressing need for the retail sector to augment and accelerate its climate-change responses. Today, retailers are among the biggest contributors of plastic packaging, which represents 40 per cent of global plastic usage. Additionally, the green supply chain is not yet a reality in the industry; retailers’ supply chains are responsible for more than 25 per cent of global emissions. To help turn ideas into action, the report says the most critical principle is to put value capture squarely at the centre. To think of this value mindset in terms of value creation, retailers need to work on having the rest of the principles in place. That calls for a three-phase approach: first prioritize; then embed; and then reimagine.