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Global retailers failing to address overall carbon footprint

Retailers such as Carrefour, Costco, IKEA, Tesco and Walmart should aim for more comprehensive carbon disclosures and collaborate to define meaningful GHG emissions reduction strategies for the industry, says a new report from independent analyst firm Verdantix.

The analysis finds that while retailers are addressing carbon disclosures relating to fuel use and electricity, disclosure relating to emissions data on product use, procurement, logistics and waste disposal is ‘patchy’.

The detailed analysis of GHG emissions by the firm covers grocery retailers Aeon, Carrefour, Costco, John Lewis, Metro Group, Tesco, Walmart and Whole Foods; home improvement stores IKEA and The Home Depot; drugstore chain CVS Caremark; and apparel firms H&M, LVMH and TJX Companies.

The Verdantix report, Carbon Strategy Benchmark: Retail Sector, finds that the retail sector is struggling to define and achieve carbon reduction targets.

Only four retailers in the study have valid targets for absolute carbon reduction. Tesco aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. John Lewis Partnership is aiming for a 15% reduction, relative to 2010. Carrefour aims for a 40% reduction in 2020 compared to 2009 levels. The Home Depot aims to cut its scope 3 upstream transport and distribution emissions 20% in absolute terms by 2015 versus 2009. 

The variations in start dates, end dates and coverage of emissions sources makes “comparison meaningless for investors and stakeholders”, Verdantix maintains.

“The retail brands in this benchmark have invested in carbon disclosures but the sector has not yet grasped the nettle of carbon reductions,” commented Ross MacWhinney, Verdantix senior analyst and GHG accounting expert.


Picture credit: © Eugenesergeev | - Supermarket Shopping Carts Photo

Global | Carbon Emissions

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