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Retail’s race to net zero: tackling the BRC's net zero roadmap

23 March 2023

Achieving a zero-carbon future across all industries is crucial to ensure the UK succeeds in reaching the 2050 net zero target, set by the Government in June 2019. With over 300,000 separate businesses operating in the retail industry in the UK, the climate impact is considerable. Retailers should now be exploring ways to lower their carbon footprint and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have made the issue more pressing, stating net zero is achievable ten years earlier, by 2040. 

They’ve outlined ways to do this through their Climate Action Roadmap, which has already received support from retailers including Aldi, Greggs, Dunelm and Schuh. 

In total, the roadmap features five pathways: 

  • Placing greenhouse gas (GHG) data at the core of business decisions 
  • Operating efficient sites across the portfolio powered by renewable energy 
  • Utilising low-carbon logistics 
  • Sourcing sustainability 
  • Supporting customers and employees to live low-carbon lifestyles 

Each pathway is then graded by milestone achievements, with progress targets set for 2025, 2030, 2035 and then the final deadline of 2040. This tiered approach gives retailers extra time to focus on achievable landmarks on their net zero journey.   

The pathway is comprehensive, but we’ve earmarked the key achievements by the three milestone years leading up to 2040: 


  • Ensure top suppliers are committed to Net Zero targets 
  • Power new buildings with renewable energy and LED lighting  
  • Develop advanced fuel efficiency programs for retailer fleets and drivers 


  • Sourcing 100% renewable electricity 
  • Access to Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points at all stores 
  • Gain product greenhouse gas data from all top suppliers 


  • All sites powered by renewable energy 
  • Utilising 100% zero carbon-heavy goods vehicles 
  • Widespread retailing of circular products 

The immediate priority for all retailers is hitting the 2025 targets. Developing efficiency plans across the logistics teams and securing stronger visibility over carbon emissions across scope 1, 2 and 3 are the key. Alongside ensuring all new sites utilise energy-efficient equipment and renewable energy. Difficult goals, but equally very achievable. 

Whilst the pathways may seem daunting, they’re not without advantages. Businesses’ stakeholders are becoming increasingly motivated by sustainability, gifting those committing to it a market advantage. And improved efficiency and lower energy usage help save money on electricity bills, much-needed in an era where online retailers continue to deliver fierce competition to the high street. 

These benefits are something we’ve witnessed first-hand in the retail sector for our customers meeting the ESOS regulations. It's also part of the reason BRC has set the targets it has, empowering retailers to lead the way in UK industry tackling the climate crisis. 

Do you want more advice on how to start your journey to net zero? Get in touch and our carbon experts can help turbo-charge your sustainable surge.

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