FWD and SWA set out plans for wholesale to reach net zero by 2040

The FWD and Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) have set out their plans for the wholesale industry to reach net zero by 2040.

The FWD worked in collaboration with the SWA on the project and commissioned sustainability consultant 3Keel to produce the ‘UK Wholesale Sector Net Zero Roadmap’. Alongside the FWD report is a complementary SWA report, ‘Decarbonising the Scottish Wholesale Sector’, which provides additional insights and a Scottish context.

The UK Wholesale Sector Net Zero Roadmap consists of three key elements:

• A calculation of the carbon footprint of the UK wholesale sector.

• A carbon calculator, which will be free for all FWD and SWA members to keep track of their own emissions.

• A comprehensive step-by-step climate action guide to help wholesalers reduce emissions and ultimately reach net-zero targets.

The UK report reveals that the UK wholesale value chain (which consists of manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers and foodservice outlets) was responsible for producing 18 million tonnes of CO₂ equivalents in 2021.

However, wholesalers are only directly responsible for approximately 4% of these in the operation of their businesses (referred to as Scope 1 and 2 emissions), with the majority of the emissions ‘upstream’ in ingredient production and manufacturing processes (referred to as Scope 3 emissions).

When focusing on emissions created solely from wholesalers’ direct operations, the report showed that the majority of impact comes from vehicle use, at 63% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, followed by electricity use at 17%, refrigerants at 7%, and fuel use for buildings at 6%.

The SWA research for north of the Border identifies key sources of operational greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for the wholesale sector as road transport – particularly HGVs – at 67.3%, followed by electricity at 17.7%, refrigerants at 6.5%, then use of fuel to heat buildings at 8.6%.

The FWD and SWA reports both include requests of government. The FWD calls for a clear strategy for road freight decarbonisation, a long-term legislative plan for commercial and industrial building decarbonisation, and incentivisation of greater availability, consistency and quality of Scope 3 emissions data. Meanwhile, the SWA asks the Scottish Government for capital cost support for a swift vehicle fleet transition, investment in zero-emission transport infrastructure, and support for a rapid transition to renewable electricity.

Colin Smith, chief executive of the SWA, which sits on the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Truck Taskforce, commented: “The SWA and our members are sector leads in decarbonising our fleet emissions within Scotland’s food and drink supply chain.

“This report is an important step on our sustainability journey, during which the SWA will work hard to drive a just transition to a net-zero economy that can benefit all of Scotland’s wholesale sector.

“While the report shows that wholesalers overwhelmingly are willing to take action to achieve a just transition to net zero, the upfront capital investment required is the key barrier which is why that is one of our key policy asks of government.”

FWD chief executive James Bielby added: “It is clear that wholesalers are acting across all areas of their business, but more help and encouragement is needed to enable the sector to fully measure progress towards net zero. This is no longer an added extra, it’s a business essential for a wholesale channel which is sustainable – in both senses of the word.”

The FWD has been invited to present the UK report to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.



Published Date: June 29, 2023
Category: Wholesale Industry News