Circular economy: European retailers lead the way

The new Retailers’ Environmental Action Programme (REAP) mandate, confirming retailers' commitment to meet their environmental responsibilities, was launched in Brussels on 3rd December 2015.

REAP is a voluntary retailer initiative, in collaboration with the European Commission, aimed at improving the environmental performance of the sector, sharing of best practice and engaging with the whole supply chain. It has run for two previous mandates, and this new three-year mandate will involve initiatives for the Circular Economy, focusing particularly on products, operations and consumer awareness.

The launch brought together some 100 sustainability experts from business, civil society and the EU institutions. In addition to keynote speeches by Director-General of DG Environment, Daniel Calleja and by Mr Jocelyn Bleriot from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there was a lively discussion on how retailers can make an even greater contribution to the environment under the new mandate. The conference also looked at best practice cases from the previous two mandates of the REAP presented, which detailed the progress made by signatories through the programme in achieving their sustainability targets over the last six years.

Speaking of the event, Director-General of the European Retail Round Table (ERRT), Susanne Czech said “The Circular Economy represents an ideal opportunity for retailers to move away from a linear, take-consume-waste, economy to become even more responsible in how we sell. Through the next REAP, our sector recognises that not only does it have to build upon previous sustainability targets, but also that by becoming circular, we can improve consumption behaviour, bringing important benefits to European consumers.”