Retail roundup: John Lewis Partnership signs on to Terra Carta sustainability agreement

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Photo courtesy of John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership has become the first UK retailer to pledge to support the Terra Carta, an initiative launched by HRH The Prince of Wales to have businesses agree to become more sustainable now and in the future by embracing nature, people and the planet.

HRH The Prince of Wales has called on CEOs from companies across the UK to change the course of history for future generations and preserve the environment and the country's natural resources. It has listed a series of actions for those businesses to take in order to reach sustainability goals. 

"The more companies that sign up to the Terra Carta, the greater its capability will be to drive the change we so desperately need," HRH The Prince of Wales said. "I can only encourage more people to join this urgent call to arms.”

John Lewis has agreed to those principles and the many actions that HRH The Prince of Wales has set out in its guidance, a Magna Carta-like document that is part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative. 

Some of its ambitions include:

* Becoming net zero carbon across its entire operations by 2035.
* Eliminating fossil fuels across its transport fleet by 2030.
* Heavy goods vehicles will be converted to biomethane gas, which is made of food waste, by 2028.
* Own-brand packaging across Waitrose and John Lewis will be widely recyclable, reusable, or home compostable by 2023.

“HRH The Prince of Wales has made an outstanding contribution to global environmental preservation and protection for over 40 years and we are proud to support his latest initiative and become a Terra Carta supporter," Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said. "The Terra Carta reinforces the Partnership’s commitment to sustainability and we're pleased to be the first retailer to support. It will help galvanise our work to put the environment at the heart of what we do. We know we still have a long way to go but each day we are making progress.”

One of its boldest statements is that it says it will "achieve carbon targets by sourcing food only from carbon net zero farms in the UK by 2035." John Lewis already runs its own farm called Leckford Estate that will be used to test regenerative farming and carbon mitigation techniques. 

At Waitrose stores, food waste will be cut in half in its operations and supply chain by 2030. 

Co-Op makes commitment to underserved: UK convenience retailer Co-op announced a nationwide initiative to improve employment opportunities for individuals from under-represented groups and has asked other businesses to join it. The retailer is committing an initial £500,000 and has asked other employers to create a £15m fund to support thousands of new apprenticeship opportunities for Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals. The initiative will help small businesses, in particular, that struggle to create apprenticeships.

Co-op has set a bold target of doubling its Black, Asian, and minority ethnic leaders and managers by the end of 2022.

“By pledging funds to this initiative, companies will help create new apprenticeship opportunities for young people across the business sector," said Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Director of Business In The Community (BITC). "With 33% of black employees feeling their ethnicity will pose a barrier to their next career move, this initiative will be a great step forward to addressing inequalities that exist today.

"However, this will only succeed if enough businesses show their support. Business leaders should fund this initiative and show they are serious about changing the record for young black, Asian and minority ethnic people more broadly by signing the Race at Work Charter. Together let’s make the apprentice opportunity gap a thing of the past.”

Reducing plastic at Sainsbury's: The UK supermarket chain says it will allow customers to recycle Polypropylene (PP) film products, such as salad bags, in 63 Sainsbury’s stores. Shoppers will be able to put PP plastics into the same recycling bins that collect PE plastics. If the trial is successful, it will be rolled out in all Sainsbury's stores.

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