The European Retail Round Table (ERRT) held its annual policy debate in Brussels. This year's event concentrated on the topic of "Retail and the Recovery" but included a focus on sustainability issues and the retailers' role in environmental stewardship.
The program included an introduction from ERRT's president, Terry Leahy of Tesco, followed by a panel discussion between the retailers, consumer associations and officials from the EU institutions. Key speakers included Robert Madelin, director general of the Consumer Affairs department of the European Commission, and David Byrne, former commissioner for Consumer and Health Protection.
The participants also addressed the central role that retailers can play in promoting sustainable consumption. According to the panellists, the need for economic growth and the need to protect the environment are entirely and necessarily compatible. If retailers can encourage Europe's millions of consumers to make small changes every day, this can add up to a very big change. The retailers highlighted the ongoing work of the Retail Forum as being at the core of their commitment to sustainability and pointed out that their client-facing position made them the ideal partners to diffuse sustainability messages and to lead by example.
Source: ERRT / ICSC