Making retail more sustainable

25 June 2018
The retail industry has been slow to embrace the environmental, social and financial benefits of sustainable practices. To discuss the role of retailers in the European plastic strategy and circular economy, experts and institutions gather at the Retail Forum for Sustainability in Brussels, Belgium on 26 June 2018.

The Retail Forum was launched in 2009 by the European Commission, Eurocommerce and the European Retail Round Table (ERRT) as a voluntary multi-stakeholder platform. REAP is currently joined by 26 of Europe’s most important retailers, including Ikea, Marks and Spencer, Metro Group and Auchan Retail.

Two mandates have been successful, with the third and current one focussing on the transition towards a circular economy – with more than 180 publicly accessible commitments set out by the REAP signatories.

As leader of the expert team for the Retailers' Environmental Action Programme (REAP), Ramboll's Valentina Romagnoli (Senior Consultant, Munich, Germany) gives a presentation on the status of retailers' commitments to circular economy.

Fewer plastic bags, more sustainable materials

Since the start of the programme, Ramboll has been responsible for monitoring retailers' voluntary commitments in partnership with the Austrian Environmental Protection Agency.

"The commitments set out by retailers directly address circular economy, with a particular focus on food waste, plastics and eco-design," says Valentina Romagnoli. "For example, retailers aim to phase out single use plastic bags, use more sustainable materials and help customers make more sustainable choices. Some progressive retailers are already working on new solutions to increase circularity, by means of research projects in partnership with universities and research institutes."

"As store visits are part of the monitoring process we can see that the level of commitments and targets are very high," she explains.

A report on the progress monitoring of the commitments, including the results of the store visits, will be published by the end of the year. 


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