On 3rd March 2009 the European Commission and the European retail sector launched the Retail Forum as part of their drive to promote more environmentally sustainable consumption patterns. The Forum was launched by Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva, EuroCommerce President, Senator Feargal Quinn and Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and CEO of the Delhaize Group, representing the European Retail Round Table (ERRT). The event in Brussels also involved producers, consumers and environment groups.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said: “Retailers can make a major contribution to the achievement of more sustainable consumption and production patterns through the products they choose to stock and promote. By bringing the retail sector together with other relevant stakeholders, the Retail Forum can help to accelerate this process. I very much welcome the environmental commitments already made by a number of retailers who have joined the Forum, and urge others to follow their example.”
Consumer Commissioner Meglena Kuneva added: "If we really want consumers to buy green, the sustainable choice must be an easy choice. Product information must be clear, and sustainable products must not be a luxury option. European retailers are in a unique position to help us get there. They are a part of consumers' everyday life and can have an immediate impact on the choices they make. That is why I am truly happy to launch the Forum today, alongside Commissioner Dimas. And I believe this is a good starting point for a concerted approach among retailers and stakeholders who can jointly influence consumer behaviour for reducing our carbon footprint."
EuroCommerce President, Senator Feargal Quinn said: “In these times of economic recession the launch of REAP and of its Forum signals the commitment of retailers to preserve the environment for our future generations. This Forum should encourage the sharing of information and demonstrate the best practices of commerce, consumers and all players with a view to stimulate competition and the commitments of individual retail companies.”
Pierre-Olivier Beckers, President and CEO, Delhaize Group, representing the European Retail Round Table (ERRT), said: "We are delighted to launch this REAP initiative today. Retailers are focusing more and more on sustainability not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because our customers – and our stakeholders - demand it. There is no alternative. Despite the very difficult economic climate, the move towards sustainable consumption will only deepen and accelerate. It is part of our strategy. Indeed, the younger generation of consumers and of our staff associates are even more demanding in terms of what they want us to do. They will keep the pressure on us into the future, a pressure we accept and welcome.”
Dr Susanne Zänker, Director General of A.I.S.E. (the International Association for Soaps, Detergents and Maintenance products), said: “In the cleaning and maintenance products industry, we recognise that all actors in the value chain have an equally important role to play in improving sustainable consumption and production, with manufacturers providing innovative and sustainable products as well as information about best and safe use, retailers helping to convey this information to their consumers, and consumers using the products responsibly”.