H&M, Ikea, B&Q, and Walmart have launched a new climate change initiative to drive action on encouraging other retailers to achieve carbon reduction targets. They have partnered with the COP26 High-Level Climate Action Champions to initiate “Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign”. This initiative is supported by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)..
Up till now, only 5% of retail businesses have so far committed to taking action to limit global warming. Making the retail business agree to this sort of initiative is hard as the price of sustainability is huge. With their multi continent sourcing models, the impact on environment emanates not only from the material ingredients but also processing , packaging and shipping. It has been estimated that sometimes something as simple as a T-Shirt may involve total shipping distance of over 10,000 km for assembling the materials at one place and then dispatching the same to stores. The impact is enormous and it also makes it very difficult for the retailers to reduce their carbon footprint as they may have to recalibrate their sourcing models .
These 4 retailers have pledged to support industry-wide campaigns to promote climate action and encourage other retailers to outline their intentions to reduce carbon emissions and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius – ensuring that 50% emissions are reduced by 2030 by setting science-based goals and commit to achieving net-zero emissions from vehicles by 2050 at the latest, and join the “zero-emission race” initiative.
“I encourage the retail industry to join us and take immediate climate action to halve global emissions by 2030. Together, we can win the Race to Zero,” said Nigel Topping, UN High-Level Climate Champion for COP26.
WBCSD chief executive Peter Bakker said: “This campaign is a call to retailers everywhere to take ambitious climate action as they increasingly recognize the risks posed by climate change across their supply chains and operations.
Bakker also stressed that “the climate emergency, together with the loss of nature and rising inequalities, is the greatest and most complex challenge of our time”.
“We need more retailers to join the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero and showcase leadership and commitment, like H&M Group, Ingka Group (Ikea), Kingfisher, and Walmart.”
“Only by joining forces and collectively rethinking the industries, like retail, will it be possible to tackle them,” he said.
In 2019, Amazon and the climate non-profit organization Global Optimism jointly launched the Climate Pledge, which is a similar movement. The members of the climate pledge promise to achieve the Paris Agreement ten years ahead of schedule and achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. Verizon, Siemens, Microsoft, and Best Buy are among 108 signatories to the pledge.
With a broad support for the carbon reduction targets across industries, we may see a much more coordinated efforts and solutions which may bring results quicker than we anticipate. “If intentions are sincere, results will found “.