Nordic Retail Forum on SCP

A Nordic Retail Forum on SCP could provide a useful platform for public-private collaboration for achieving environmental improvements within the Nordic retail sector. A key focus area could be scaling up existing small-scale initiatives through exchange of best practices and a role of the retail forum could involve establishing a baseline and committing to continuous improvement and a variety of other initiatives.

Such a forum could be limited to Nordic retail companies and public authorities but could also involve a broader group of key stakeholders and rules for membership of such a Nordic retail forum could take many shapes.

While the success of a retail forum depends on a number of factors including the level of commitment as well as the work programme agreed upon overall, the starting point for a Nordic retail forum is promising.

Opinions of Stakeholders

A group of Nordic retailers were asked about their opinion on the usefulness of establishing a Nordic retail forum aimed at promoting more sustainable consumption and production. Five of the nine retailers responding stated that such a forum would be useful. Four retailers did not regard an establishment of a retail forum useful.

Furthermore, at a Nordic expert Workshop on Sustaianble Consumption and Green Lifestyles held in Copenhagen on November 24-25 th , 2010, participants where asked to identify pros and cons of establishing a Nordic Retail forum for environment. Experts saw many potential benefits in establishing a retail forum, but also identified numerous risks or drawbacks.

A number of real potential benefits of a Nordic retail forum have been identified, but concerns were also raised especially about the risk of too low ambition level, too little action and of the additional value of a Nordic retail forum to the existing EU retail forum.

The EU Retail Forum for Sustainability

In 2008 the European Commission published the Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy (SCP/SIP) Action Plan to complement already existing policies at EU and national level aimed at fostering resource efficient and eco-friendly products and raising consumer awareness.

The Action Plan amongst other initiatives called for the establishment of a Retail Forum on SCP, which was launched in 2009 by the European Commission, together with EuroCommerce and the European Retail Round Table (ERRT). The Forum aims to reduce the environmental impact of the retail sector and its supply chain, to promote more sustainable products and to better inform consumers about 'green' purchasing opportunities.

Membership of and participation in the Forum is voluntary and open to all retailers who sign on to the Retailers’ Environmental Action Programme (REAP), which includes company-specific environmental commitments that champion innovation in a variety of different business areas.

Key stakeholders such as producers, suppliers, consumers and environmental organisations are encouraged to participate on specific issues raised by the Retail Forum. This ensures transparency and collaboration, as well as the sharing of the necessary expertise, practical experience, and constructive input.

For much more information on this policy option download the background document:
Potential Policies to Promote SCP via the Food Retail Sector in Nordic Countries