This week BRC hosted a roundtable at Retail Week Live, to consider how retail can increase biodiversity. Bringing together a broad mix of retailers, the session raised more challenges than solutions when it comes to improving biodiversity.

Kicking off the session, our CEO Helen Dickinson was joined by Seasalt and Tesco to hear about their efforts to reduce and track their impact on nature and biodiversity.

Alice Ritchie, Lead Nature & Biodiversity Manager at Tesco, laid out the complexities in collecting place-based data and the need for greater supply chain transparency to truly understand and reduce your business’s footprint. She noted the need for stronger supply chain partnerships, especially for impactful and global commodities such as cocoa, coffee and soy, which are significant drivers of deforestation.

Meanwhile, new reporting frameworks and disclosures such as Corporate Social Reporting Directive, Taskforce for Nature-based Financial Disclosures and Science Based Targets for Nature, have presented new challenges as they diverge, but also have created a better, more sophisticated structure to establish a nature strategy.

Christian Jermyn, Director of ESG at Seasalt, presented Seasalt’s work on nature through their partnership with the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. He positioned the partnership with CWT as a no-brainer – it combined the brand’s purpose with the opportunity to support the communities they operate in and accelerate nature’s recovery.

Christian outlined how for years the retail industry has been writing “blank cheques” to nature, and that now it was time for retail to start paying nature their dividends. Indeed, for retail to continue to sell the range of products we have today, the industry must ensure they make provisions to protect and regenerate the Earth’s finite resources. This requires considerable investment and a shift from business as usual.

As more and more retailers get to grips with their nature strategy, new challenges are cropping up such as ensuring accurate data collection, presenting the case for nature at board-level and securing their buy-in, and the growing need for legislative change to establish a level playing field for businesses.

The key takeaway was the need for cross-industry collaboration. The nature agenda presents a minefield for retailers of all sizes as the urgency to act ever-increases and only by working together and sharing insights can we overcome these new challenges.

The BRC is here to support our members to understand how best to tackle biodiversity loss and navigate new reporting requirements. Don't hesitate to get in touch to find out more.