Retailers have a responsibility to help their customers become net zero, according to a new report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in partnership with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The companies report that goods sold to consumers account for 30% of all UK emissions, making the retail industry one of the largest contributors to climate change.

This, BRC and PwC said, gives retailers a responsibility to counter this effect.

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Fortunately the duo have created a guide for retailers entitled ‘Helping Customers Live Low-Carbon Lifestyles’.

The free guide for retailers is part of the BRC’s ‘Climate Action Roadmap’, which aims to ensure the retail industry and its supply chains are net zero by 2040.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Climate change is the greatest threat we face as a society, and we as an industry have a duty to fight it.

“The products consumers buy from our stores account for nearly a third of each household’s carbon emissions.

“Our role helping consumers to make better choices will be crucial in delivering the UK’s Net Zero ambitions.

“The BRC is working closely with retailers; sharing some of the very best practices in the industry and using this to help and support others.

“By changing the behaviour of consumers, retailers can ensure we meet the Roadmap’s net zero ambition, driving the market to supply better low carbon products. We know customers want to do the right thing on climate change, but they need help to do so.”

Tom Beagent, director of sustainability and climate change at PwC, said: “For the sector to reach net zero by 2040 sustainability needs to be at the very heart of a retailer’s strategy, focusing on innovations that please consumers and are good for business while reducing emissions within the business and supply chain.

“Although eco-consumerism is clearly on the rise, we know that some consumer segments haven’t fully embraced sustainable shopping.

“Retailers have a pivotal role to play in helping these less environmentally conscious consumers access better information and make it easier for people to make low carbon choices.

“Ultimately all choices need to be net zero by 2040 to meet this target so the race is on to make this vision a reality.

“Retailers can be part of the climate solution by only offering desirable net zero products and services which can be used and disposed of as part of a net zero lifestyle.”