For the retail industry
The following milestones indicate good practice measures that will help the industry to reach net zero:
> Reporting by retailers on their progress to tackle supply chain deforestation.
> Support for regenerative agriculture and greenhouse gas mitigation on farms
> Programmes with suppliers to accelerate their decarbonisation activities
> Zero deforestation from major commodities (beef and leather, cocoa, palm oil, timber*, pulp* and paper*, rubber, soy)
> Sustainable design principles embedded for raw material and product specifications
> Supply chain food waste halved
* - sourced from sustainably managed forests
> Circular feedstocks widely used
> Deep decarbonisation in key raw material production and processing
> Carbon dioxide removals projects implemented and delivering verifiable results
> Net zero agricultural production from UK farms, in line with NFU commitment
The following six recommendations in the Roadmap are intended as an ‘on-ramp’ for retailers considering greenhouse gas mitigation in raw materials.
1. Develop comprehensive deforestation and conversion-free policies
Adopt best practice in implementing deforestation policies, such as: include all significant uses of commodity in products and supply chain; develop a roadmap to transition to physically segregated supply, where possible. Advice on corporate best practice can be sought from UK commodity roundtables and initiatives identified in the section above. Use Accountability Framework Initiative definitions to inform policy development.
2. Be transparent and report on commodity usage and sustainability
Quantify and report on commodity usage and percentage of commodity that is zero deforestation. Use industry reporting guidelines to ensure consistency with others in the sector – for instance the new soy Reporting Guidelines from the Retail Soy Group. Include deforestation-related greenhouse emissions within corporate climate targets and report emissions using forthcoming land sector guidance from the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
3. Participate in commodity-specific initiatives to drive sector change
Engage with relevant commodity initiatives to drive change at sectoral and jurisdictional levels (see summary above). Tackling deforestation cannot be achieved by individual businesses – whole sectors must align to demonstrate demand for sustainably produced raw materials. By working together, initiatives can also advocate for improvements to standards and certification.
4. Encourage strategic suppliers to adopt climate commitments and actions
Retailers should act as a positive influence on suppliers and seek to encourage other businesses to develop ‘net zero’ and ‘deforestation and conversion-free’ commitments. This can be done through joint business plans with strategic suppliers or by including climate policies within procurement processes. As part of these commitments, retailers can seek to encourage suppliers to purchase renewable energy (for example through the RE100 initiative) and undertake joint projects on food waste prevention (for example by adopting the recommendations in WRAP’s Food Waste Reduction Roadmap).
5. Work with UK farmer and grower groups on climate mitigation
In categories where retailers have aligned supply chains, they should work with suppliers to develop programmes that support farm productivity improvements, reduce food waste, and encourage low carbon farming practices.
6. Adopt circular economy principles to reduce material use and waste
According to analysis by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy could reduce annual global greenhouse gas emissions from key industry materials by 40% or 3.7 billion tonnes in 2050. The key approaches include: designing out waste, reusing products and components; and recirculating materials. At the moment the global economy is only 8.6% circular – and retailers can play a key role in developing supporting new circular business models and products that can support the Paris Agreement.
Longer term transformation for net zero
1. Drive demand for zero carbon materials
Given their influence over product specification and design, retailers should seek to drive demand for emerging low or zero carbon materials through product development and by partnering with materials manufacturing companies – for example, through the inclusion of ‘zero carbon’ metals in products and packaging. There are several new private-sector led initiatives that are seeking to build supply of these materials – for example pilot production of zero carbon steel in Sweden and zero carbon aluminium technology in Canada.
2. Identify opportunities to support carbon dioxide removal projects
It is anticipated that some degree of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) will be required to compensate for emissions in sectors that are hard to decarbonise. Retailers should explore opportunities to support nature-based climate mitigation in their supply chains and through credible market-based emissions reduction schemes such as the Woodland Carbon Code.
 Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2019) Completing the Picture: How the Circular Economy Tackles Climate Change
 The Circularity Gap Report 2020 https://www.circularity-gap.world/2020
 UNEP (2019) Emissions Gap Report and Royal Society and Royal Academy of Engineering review of ‘Greenhouse gas removals’ for the Committee on Climate Change.