World Footwear


Less than 20% of retailers on track to meet sustainability targets

Apr 8, 2022 World
Less than 20% of retailers on track to meet sustainability targets
A study found that sustainability is now a strategic priority for retail businesses, but the vast majority is still failing to make meaningful progress
According to the 'Sustainability in retail is possible – but there is work to be done' study by the global management consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG), in collaboration with the World Retail Congress, the retail industry “must work harder and faster” to deliver their climate change commitments. Today, retailers are one of the biggest contributors of plastic packaging, which represents 40% of global plastic usage, and are responsible for more than 25% of global emissions.

The study found that there is a disconnection between the retailers’ ambition and their actual progress towards a more sustainable business. “While 60% of the firms believed their company’s goals were bold and differentiated, more than half had still not set any sustainability key performance indicators (KPIs) across their businesses to measure progress, and less than 20% were currently on track to cut Scope 3 emissions, which include those of suppliers, by enough to meet targets for limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5 degrees, set by the Paris Agreement in 2015”, it can be read on BCG’s statement.

The consulting group states that some companies are only doing enough to comply with regulations and meet the minimum expectations of investors and other stakeholders, and many admit that “they don’t have clarity on how to improve their performance”.

Thus, BCG introduced a three-pronged strategy to assist retailers on their journey to meet their sustainability goals while creating value: prioritizing sustainability targets as much as any other parameter; striving for an end-to-end integration, with sustainability-related KPIs inculcated at all levels of the business, and adequate use of digital technologies to support decision-making; reimagining value chains, by localizing their production or integrating vertically and working collaboratively with industry peers.  

The survey polled 37 major retailers around the world (including fashion firms, grocers, and those selling homeware and electronics), with annual revenue ranging from 1 billion US dollars to 500 billion US dollars.

Image Credits: Marcus Loke on Unsplash