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Leading retailers support plan for sustainability and equality

Over 25 leading UK retailers, including Sainsbury’s and John Lewis, have signed up to a series of pledges to tackle global challenges over the coming decades.

The ‘Better Retail Better World’ scheme 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 – 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 under-represented demographics to progress in employment
  • Reducing waste, greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation

Retail is one of the first industries to take collective action in this way and as part of the project retailers will share knowledge, best practices and publicly disclose progress on these goals.

‘Better Retail Better World’ follows the announcement of the first industry-led ‘Retail Sector Council’, 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.”

The first set of retailers to sign the ‘Better Retail Better World’ pledge include:

  • Aldi
  • Baukjen Group
  • Boots
  • C&J Clarks
  • The Co-op
  • Debenhams
  • DFS
  • Dixons Carphone,
  • Fenwicks
  • Greggs
  • The House of Bruar
  • House of Fraser
  • IKEA
  • John Lewis Partnership
  • Kingfisher
  • Lidl
  • M&S
  • Morrisons
  • Musgrave Group
  • Next
  • Ocado
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Signet (Ernest Jones, H. Samuel)
  • WHSmith
  • Wilko

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