Industry Intro

Retail and distribution

The sector encompasses firms engaged in the retail, wholesale and distribution of goods. This includes department stores, speciality stores and e-commerce.
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Retail and distributors

Delivering the scale of carbon reduction needed for a net zero world by 2050 demands companies transform - decarbonising their value chain, and by helping the world to get to zero emissions. Increasingly consumers are demanding sustainable products, and a growing number of retailers are making strategic climate commitments. There is an opportunity for retailers to lead the transition and leverage carbon action, particularly given their potential influence across the supply chains of goods they supply, and on their customers use of purchased products.

Understanding your carbon footprint

In order to tackle climate change effectively, companies benefit from having a clear understanding of which parts of their business emit the most greenhouse gases. Across the retail supply chain, direct emissions account for only a small proportion of the total, while the rest are outside of the companies operation; in their supply chains and in the way consumers use their products.

For retailers, major impact areas across the supply chain come from sourcing of materials and goods, processing and logistics distribution. Downstream impacts from consumer use and disposal are also significant. While emissions from operations appear relatively small, they are still significant and provide an important starting point in any carbon action plan.

Companies can understand their total impact by conducting a GHG value chain assessment, supplementing available company data with modelled estimates. Cozero Log can help with this.

Managing your carbon footprint

While a retailer can make progress in reducing operational emissions, transformative change means working with industry and consumers to tackle emissions through the supply chain and their consumers use of products; and by supporting carbon removal and reduction projects across the world.

First and foremost, increasing the energy efficiency of retail sites, procuring renewable power and heat, using low carbon refrigerant, and reducing waste delivers carbon and cost reduction.

Tackling supply chain emissions means engaging with suppliers on joint abatement and circularity projects, and opting for sustainable sourcing options, as well as optimising distribution and storage.

Retailers inform consumer patterns by sourcing products that are intended to be reused, refurbished, remanufactured and eventually recycled. Engaging with consumers on sustainable consumption and recycling measures will also cut downstream emissions

For a company's carbon footprint that is hard or not possible to address, companies can look to support projects that remove atmospheric CO₂, or reduce CO₂ from beyond their value chain.

Cozero Act recommends the carbon actions and solution providers to help companies focus on where action is needed most. Cozero Act supports companies to develop and manage bespoke carbon management action plans, as well as transparently track progress against these.