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Commerce sector to extend successful sustainability platform for another 3 years


14 Nov 2011


Sustainable Dev.
Trade & Society

Today the European Retail Round Table and EuroCommerce announced their commitment in continuing the collaboration with the European Commission in the Retail Forum for Sustainability for a further three years. The announcement was made in the presence of the Commissioner for Environment, Janez Potočnik at the annual event of the Retail Forum in Brussels. 

In the last three years, this new policy instrument proved that cooperation along the supply chain and the exchange of best practices can effectively improve the environmental footprint of commerce. In the Retail Forum retail companies, representatives from European Institutions, industry, trade associations, NGOs and scientists combine their knowledge and efforts to help improve the environmental footprint of products and consumer behaviour.

Dr. Rainhardt von Leoprechting, President, EuroCommerce and Senior Executive Advisor to the Management Board, Metro Group said:  “We firmly believe that taking many relative small steps can take us further than attempting difficult big strides. If we make small improvements in the majority of products purchased by the majority of consumers, we will quickly see much greater environmental benefits than if we try to make large improvements in a few products purchased by few consumers.” 

Dick Boer, CEO of Ahold and ERRT President commented: “We believe that by sharing best practices and knowledge, we can move the whole industry forward. By defining a shared, pre-competitive agenda in platforms such as the Retail Forum, we can move the needle towards real, sustainable progress across the industry. Frontrunners can make it easier for others to follow the best examples.”  

Speakers at this year’s event have discussed how commerce and its partners along the supply chain can contribute to a more resource efficient society. This will also be the starting point on the work of the Retail Forum over the coming three years.

Since its launch in 2009, the Forum developed recommendations for all actors on how to reduce the carbon footprint of stores, successfully label products or to optimise the use of packaging. The REAP Annual Report and the European Commission’s monitoring process  show that retailers and associations have delivered on their promises. In cooperation with their suppliers, they have made the supply chain greener. By improving the awareness of their staff and using innovative technology, individual companies have reduced the environmental footprint of their stores. They have also provided consumers with more eco-friendly products and have enhanced consumer information on climate change. 


Marjolein Raes

Director Advocacy & Communications


T: +32 2 737 05 99

Simone Mancini

Policy Officer


T: +32 477 911 339 

EuroCommerce and the commerce sector

EuroCommerce represents the retail, wholesale and international trade sectors in Europe. Its membership includes commerce federations and companies in 31 European countries. 

Commerce plays a unique role in the European economy, acting as the link between manufacturers and the nearly 500 million consumers across Europe over a billion times a day. It is a dynamic and labour-intensive sector, generating 11% of the EU’s GDP. One company out of three in Europe is active in the commerce sector. Over 95% of the 6 million companies in commerce are small and medium-sized enterprises. It also includes some of Europe’s most successful companies. The sector is a major source of employment creation: 31 million Europeans work in commerce, which is one of the few remaining job-creating activities in Europe. It also supports millions of dependent jobs throughout the supply chain from small local suppliers to international businesses. 


The European Retail Round Table businesses operate worldwide and represent a cross-section of the retail sector.  Collectively, ERRT members have a turnover of more than €420 billion and employ 2.4 million people in over 44,000 stores.



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