Retailers and wholesalers standing at the ready to deploy cleantech
Press release - Environment, Sustainability & Energy
1 February 2023
The Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age presents retailers and wholesalers a chance to seize the net-zero opportunity. They are perfectly placed to be prime users of the advances in cleantech and can support the deployment of cleantech as promised by the Commission.
“Retailers and wholesalers are crucial and unique allies in reaching the sustainable transformation objectives of the EU’s new industrial plan. We are a large sector, with a presence everywhere in Europe, and hold a unique position in the value chain between producers and consumers.” highlights Christel Delberghe, EuroCommerce Director General. “As the EU looks at ways of strengthening the sustainability and energy transition, it should recognise that retailers and wholesalers offer many interesting opportunities for achieving the EU’s core strategic objectives.”, she continues.
“However, any competitiveness measure and the EU’s response to the global subsidy race must keep the Single Market front and centre. A robust Single Market remains the strongest strategy to increase the competitiveness of EU companies. A subsidy race between member states will create a serious wedge between them, threatening the Single Market’s integrity.”
With the right regulations, incentives and capacity to invest, the retail and wholesale sector’s drive to innovate can be directed to go beyond its traditional role in the value chain. Retailers and wholesalers are perfectly placed to develop and co-develop business opportunities from circularity and waste reduction to renewable energy generation and storage, says the association. The sector can join forces with supply chain partners to make the value chain more sustainable and help distribute and deploy cleantech in Europe.
Retailers and wholesalers provide an essential service and employ more than 26 million people. A study recently carried out in partnership with McKinsey estimates that our sector needs to invest up to €600 billion between now and 2030 to achieve its digital and sustainability transformation and attract and retain talents. Half of that amount is needed for the sector to install renewable solutions and charging infrastructure and increase the energy efficiency of stores and warehouses. This is a massive opportunity considering that retail and wholesale real estate covers approximately 500 million m2 (over 70.000 football pitches) across the EU.
“Making these investments means doubling the sector’s current investment rate. That is impossible for a low-margin sector confronted with melting margins during an unprecedented sequence of crises” finds EuroCommerce. The sector’s transformation is crucial both for the EU to reach it sustainability objectives and to restore the competitiveness of retailers and wholesalers in an increasingly globalising market. But realistically such an ambitious investment programme is only possible if the EU and its member states develop a policy framework to support it.