The objectives of Green Commerce are:
- To involve small retail shops in the campaign against climate change
- To promote environmental responsibility in the retail sector
- To reduce energy consumption and the waste production by means of simple and easy measures
- To promote innovation to resolve environmental business issues by disseminating successful case studies
- To raise awareness with consumers about best practices for shopping respectfully regarding the environment
RETAIL AND ENVIRONMENT
According to Eurostat data, the number of small sized retailers in the EU-27 represents 3,60 million businesses, being approximately 19% of the non-financial business in the European Union and employ 16,7 million of people giving an average of 4,6 employees per business.
At this moment, there are no relevant studies about the environmental impact of small sized businesses in Europe, nor objective studies that share possibilindicators on their environmental impacts - elements of top importance for Green Commerce.
It is estimated that the European retail sector is responsible for 2 to 3,5% of the CO2 emissions. As commercial distribution chains release so much CO2 this is the core discussion of Green Commerce and a key aspect that will define futurepolicies in sustainable development for transport, food industry, waste management, etc.
The retail sector is going in the right direction, progressively reducing their operations impacts. This is due to the increase in environmental norms, the development of new efficient technologies, but also, the growing number of environmentally ethical entrepreneurs and desire or appreciation of consumerfor greener products as well as industry.
The main environmental ambitions Green Commerce emphasizes include:
*Energy: small size retailers could have major savings if they switched to more environmentally-geard systems for light, heat and refrigeration
*Waste recycling: approximately 10 to 15% of municipal waste comes from the retail sector as commercial waste, with the added problem of its big volume .
*Plastic bags, packaging: The plastic that plastic bags and bottles are made of represents almost 40% of the total European consumption. It is estimated that each person use between 130 and 160 plastic bags every yearl.
*Water: Some commercial sub-sectors, such as food retailers, are important consumers of water and contribute a great deal to the worsening of the hydraulic deficit of some regions, especially in the Mediterranean areas. Through Green Commerce, we will promote measures to save rather than waste water.
*Eco-labelling and responsible consumption: eco-labelling is distinctive in that it stimulates consumers to choose products and services more respectful of the environment. More and more people are understanding it is not enough to seem respectful of the environment, rather they must be influenced to do so in their usual consumption behaviour. Environmental labels are still not well-known or understood - even withEuropean Eco-Label.Green Commerce aims to clarify and build awareness around how these labels can provide a better purchasing decision.
*Transport: The distribution and supply activity in commercial establishments generate a lot of environmental impacts - mainly of which are from the transport. A small sized retailer undertakes, in average, ten loading and unloading operations, however in some sub-retail sector they are larger. The goods transported to retailers, usually made with conventional vehicles, generate4 to 5 eq/tn of CO2 yearly. The larger amount of emissions are produced in cities where the logistic-distribution chains are largest
*Commercial equipment: It is usual to see in small sized retailers a large range of appliances such asrefrigerators, ovens, telephones, faxes, scanners, photocopies machines, televisions, DVD’s, etc. We will be inspiring the retail sector to use more efficient equipment, showing the ecological and economical benefits to doing so.