The Retail Forum's 2011 Annual Event took place in the Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels on 10th of November. It brought together some one hundred and fifty participants from business, civil society and EU institutions. This second high level Annual Event marked the launch of the new phase of the Forum starting in early 2012 and discussed how retailers should contribute to implementing the Resource Efficiency Roadmap in the years to come.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik presented the recently adopted Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe, which is calling for a large-scale switch to a resource-efficient economy and outlined the ways in which retailers can contribute to solving these issues. The Commissioner said: "I believe it’s the role of the Retail Forum to lead by example and to stimulate retailers to make a significant contribution to the resource efficiency agenda. … With more ambition, more commitment and more effective implementation of the Retail Forum objectives, I am convinced that we will be even more successful in our fight for green consumption and ultimately creating a prosperous and resource-efficient future."
He was joined by Dr. Rainhardt von Leoprechting, Senior Executive Advisor to the Management Board of Metro Group and President of EuroCommerce, who outlined how the retail sector is working on achieving a resource efficient economy and has stressed the achievements of the Retail Forum through the commitment of its members. He added that "if we make small improvements in the majority of products purchased by the majority of consumers, we will quickly see much greater environmental benefits than if we try to make large improvements in a few products purchased by few consumers." Dick Boer, CEO of Royal Ahold and President of the European Retail Round Table (ERRT) also delivered a keynote speech and emphasised that stakeholders can achieve a lot more in the area of resource efficiency if working together in a cooperative manner, just the way they do in the Retail Forum. He commented that "by defining a shared, pre-competitive agenda in platforms such as the Retail Forum, we can move the needle towards real, sustainable progress across the industry. Frontrunners can make it easier for others to follow the best examples."
The Commissoner and the Presidents of EuroCommerce and ERRT also participated in a panel discussion on these issues with Jeremy Wates, Secretary General of the European Environmental Bureau, Marie Vallee, Executive Director of FSC France, Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, the European Consumers´ Organisation and Ulrike Sapiro, Environmental Sustainability Director at Coca Cola.
For photos and a video of the Annual Event, please see our gallery here.
To read the keynote speeches delivered by Commissioner Janez Potočnik, Dr. Rainhardt von Leoprechting and Mr. Dick Boer, please click here.