Following Loblaw’s lead, Canadian retailers need to set GHG reduction targets

By: Laura Gosset, Engagement Analyst

Canadian retailer Loblaw Companies Ltd has taken an important step this week by announcing a climate action strategy and target to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG emissions) 20 per cent by 2020 and 30 per cent by 2030. This action demonstrates leadership in corporate responsibility and also assures investors that the company is taking clear steps to address the climate risk it faces.

In the wake of agreement on Canada’s national climate action plan, it is clear that Canadian businesses will have to make GHG emissions reductions a priority. Regulatory changes in fuel efficiency standards and carbon pricing could impact many businesses that operate in Canada, and especially those that operate energy intensive buildings and transportation networks, such as supermarkets.

As we transition to a low carbon economy, we need more large energy users like Loblaw coming forward and committing to a solid plan and timeline for managing energy consumption and reducing GHG emissions. While other global retailers such as Walmart have made commitments, many of Loblaw’s Canadian peers are lagging behind, leaving investors wondering just how prepared these companies are for the future.

SHARE has been encouraging Canadian companies with large carbon footprints to establish GHG reduction targets that align strategically with government policies and are also science-based, i.e. align with the level of reductions that the scientific community agrees is required to limit the risk of catastrophic climate change.

SHARE’s institutional investor clients would like to see other Canadian retailers follow or even surpass Loblaw’s lead and set achievable but ambitious targets that contribute to ensuring a safe and sustainable future for all.

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