Brown Thomas Arnotts commits to science-based climate targets

Group to cut emissions by 50% and stop selling beauty products containing glitter

Brown Thomas Arnotts has become Ireland's first retailer to commit to science-based climate targets in decarbonising its business. This includes a 50 per cent cut in carbon emissions directly arising from its operations by 2030.

The group, which has department stores in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick, has had its emissions-reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and deemed consistent with levels required to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Initiative

SBTi is an initiative of United Nations Global Compact; the World Resources Institute and the World Wide Fund for Nature, which assesses sustainability claims made by companies as economies transition to zero carbon.

More than 1,000 major businesses are working with the SBTi to reduce their emissions in line with climate science and to achieve sustainability throughout their operations. Only 19 Irish businesses have made the SBTi list, which includes the Kerry Group, Glanbia, John Sisk & Co and Smurfit Kappa.

Brown Thomas Arnotts managing director Donald McDonald said the company is committed to imagining and creating a sustainable future for its people, customers, community and the planet.

“As a business in existence for more than 175 years we have always put sustainability at the heart of everything we do and we are delighted to make the list along with other leading diverse businesses across Irish industry,” he added.

Their aim is “to cultivate a retail environment that is conscious, considerate and community centred, while all the time protecting our planet”, he said.

The move is in line with targets announced by its sister company Selfridges under its Project Earth initiative which "puts sustainability at the heart of the retailer's operations".

The SBTi has confirmed the targets covering greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from Brown Thomas Arnotts’ operations were consistent with reductions required to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees, which is needed to prevent the most damaging effects of climate change.

Plan

The retailer has committed to reduce its absolute scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions by 50.4 per cent from a base year of 2018 by 2030, which includes direct emissions from its operation generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling.

In addition, it is to reduce by 15 per cent absolute scope 3 emissions from purchased goods and services by decade end from a 2019 base year.

“A comprehensive plan is in place towards achieving these targets, including a commitment to continue sourcing 100 per cent renewable electricity and investing in energy efficiency improvements across the business,” Mr McDonald said.

The retailer's move "will help Ireland to meet its climate targets and contribute to the EU's landmark December agreement to cut emissions 55 per cent by 2030", he added.

Brown Thomas Arnotts will also stop selling beauty products containing glitter from next month as part of its commitment to bring transparency to its whole supply chain, “focusing on ensuring priority materials sold in products come from certified/verified sustainable sources by the end of 2025”. Glitter contains high levels of plastic microbeads.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times

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