Retail Industry Launches Ground-Breaking Action Plan To Advance Sustainability, Development And Equality

Over twenty-five leading UK retailers are today signing up to a series of pledges to tackle some of the biggest global challenges of the coming decades, as highlighted by the UN. Retail is one of the first industries to take collective action in this way.

Better Retail Better World includes a series of stretching targets for the retail industry to achieve by 2020, and uses the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework. These include:

  • Embedding a policy that no worker in the supply chain should pay for a job, to provide a safeguard against modern slavery. This is to tackle situations where low-wage workers borrow large sums of money to cover recruitment fees, putting them at risk of exploitation, including debt bondage.
  • Publicly disclosing how retailers are supporting people from underrepresented demographics to progress in employment.
  • Reducing waste, greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation.

Over twenty-five of the UK’s best-known retailers are among the first companies to sign the Better Retail Better World pledges. As part of the project, retailers will share knowledge and best practice, and publicly disclose progress on these goals.

This launch of Better Retail Better World follows the announcement of the first industry-led Retail Sector Council last week, which will be chaired by Richard Pennycook and Andrew Griffiths MP – Retail Minister, and will seek to encourage growth and positive change in the sector.

Richard Pennycook, Chairman of the British Retail Consortium said:  “This is part of a growing movement for change. It is time for the retail industry to show what it can do for the common good. We are taking collective action to build a better, more prosperous and sustainable world, and demonstrating how we are making a positive contribution to society, in terms of the supply chain, food packaging, and waste.”

Andrew Griffiths MP – Retail Minister added:  “Retail is a driving force for our economy and our recently launched Retail Sector Council will seek to boost the industry’s economic health and sustainable growth.

“Through our Industrial Strategy and the Good Work Plan, we have already made steps to create a stronger, fairer society, and it’s encouraging to see retailers coming together to fulfil these ambitions through the Better Retail, Better World initiative.”

Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of the WWF said:  “We are delighted to support the Better Retail Better World industry goals which provide BRC members with some of the best information and guidance to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The goals are what the SDGs are all about: bringing business, civil society and government together to bring about change in the world. Retail businesses working with consumers are key to the success of the SDGs and key in the race to restore nature.”

The initiative is being launched at an event in Parliament today, attended by leading industry figures, government representatives, and campaigners.

The British Retail Consortium is encouraging more retailers to get on board. Click here to see which retailers have signed up so far and to track progress.


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