ARA backs urgent climate action

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) supports calls for Australia to commit to net-zero emissions by 2050, with a more ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says taking urgent action to address climate change will become a leading focus for Australian retail as the sector emerges from lockdown and shifts gear into recovery.

“Having navigated the global pandemic, we are now moving on to tackle the next big global disruption – climate change. The science is clear, and so is the business case for change,” he says.

“Report after report has demonstrated that Australian consumers want this change with a recent study showing that Australians are three times more concerned about climate change than Covid. Our sector is listening and acting, with 40% of Australia’s retail trade already covered by public commitments to net-zero emissions.”

Following the establishment of a sustainability taskforce earlier this year, the ARA has conducted in-depth consultation with members to gather their views on climate action. In an October survey, 63% of members who responded agreed that urgent action is needed to mitigate the impacts of climate change. 59% have already taken steps to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

ARA five-point climate action plan

In the lead up to the COP26 Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, starting later this month, the ARA has outlined its initial five-point plan on climate action that will:

  1. Engage retailers to unify our sector behind a common vision for change.
  2. Create a net-zero roadmap for Australian retail, informed by global best practice and the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign, recently launched by global leaders in sustainable retail.
  3. Support retailers in setting and meeting their own ambitious targets, including workshops, training and technical guidance to build capability across the sector.
  4. Support the retail sector to transition to renewable energy through education and partnerships.
  5. Collaborate with other sectors to take a holistic approach to addressing emissions in key retail precincts, in warehousing and transportation, and along the supply chain.

“Unlike previous disruptions that have caught some retailers off guard, we’ve had plenty of notice about the need for climate action,” says Mr Zahra.

“Retail has a great foundation to build on, with many Australian retailers already taking steps to reduce emissions within their sphere of influence.

“But no sector will achieve net-zero emissions in isolation. That’s why we need strong policy settings from government, to encourage energy providers and supply chain partners to make the investments that will be essential if the retail sector is to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”

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