I was delighted to see the Prime Minister’s recent Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution to support our economy’s transition to net zero.

The BRC’s Better Retail Better World campaign commits the retail industry to building a fairer, more sustainable economy in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, we have just launched its Climate Action Roadmap to steer the retail industry and its supply chain to net zero by 2040. In the lead up to COP26, leading retailers wanted to galvanise collaborative efforts and showcase industry-wide support to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The BRC Climate Action Roadmap is the framework to guide the industry to net zero.

Within our Roadmap we set out a number of the areas where further government action is needed to decarbonise our economy and it’s great to see some of these addressed in the Prime Minister’s proposals. For instance, we welcome the announcement by the UK Government to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030. Many industries, including retail, rely on vans, trucks, shipping and aviation to move goods around the world. The latter three of these are difficult-to-decarbonise industries and therefore its very encouraging that research projects will be commissioned for zero-emission planes and ships.

However, we are especially keen to engage in the forthcoming consultation on the phasing out of new diesel HGVs to put the UK in the vanguard of zero emission freight. At present, the technology is not ready to enable retailers to invest in zero carbon heavy goods vehicles (trucks). We need the steer from Government as to whether the future of these vehicles is electric, hydrogen-powered or an alternative. Retailers will have one, maybe two, opportunities to update their distribution vehicles before 2030, so the decisions made now will lock in carbon emissions for up to 9 years – that is unless a heavy goods vehicle scrappage scheme fit for a net zero future is introduced.

We look forward to working with the Government to decarbonise our economy and we are excited about some of the opportunities the ten point plan provides.