The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has on Tuesday announced that its signing up as a supporter of UK Plastics Pact, affirming its commitment to making the convenience sector more sustainable.
The UK Plastics Pact, led by environmental charity WRAP, brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain with the UK government and NGOs to tackle the scourge of plastic waste.
The Pact has four main objectives: Eliminate problematic or unnecessary single-use packaging through redesign, innovation or alternative (reuse) delivery model; 100% of plastics packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable; 70% of plastics packaging effectively recycled or composted; and 30% average recycled content across all plastic packaging.
“We are committed to working with WRAP and other environmental groups on finding ways to make the products that our members sell more recyclable,” commented James Lowman, ACS chief executive.
“The convenience sector is currently facing huge challenges through a range of different policy interventions across the UK, including bans on some single use plastics, the introduction of differing deposit return schemes in different countries, and the expansion of the extended producer responsibility scheme – it is important that we introduce measures that will be maximally effective without imposing unnecessary costs and burdens on retailers.”
The announcement came as the trade body hosted its Heart of the Community conference on Tuesday, which discussed how the convenience sector can respond to the challenges it faces on levelling up and sustainability.
The conference featured a keynote speech from Katy Balls (Deputy Editor, Spectator) on the current political landscape, as well as a panel session with the finalists of the 2022 Raj Aggarwal Trophy – Dean Holborn and Bobby Singh. Other speakers included Ian Diment (AF Blakemore), Mike Crowhurst (Public First), Councillor Ankur Shiv Bhandari (Bracknell Forest Mayor), Shadow Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Daniel Zeichner MP and Jen Emerton (WRAP).
This year’s conference also featured the new Partner Hub where retailers can access advice, best practice and essential information about supporting colleagues, helping the local community and tackling crime. Partner Hub contributors include the National Business Crime Centre, GroceryAid, Community Alcohol Partnerships, the Safer Business Network, the Money and Pensions Service and Bucks and Surrey Trading Standards.
Lowman said: “Local shops play a crucial role in the levelling up agenda, providing essential products and services to communities that in some cases would otherwise be without a local grocery offering at all. These are businesses that are embedded in their communities, as job creators, investors, social hubs and much more. When the government considers the best way to level up local communities, thriving convenience stores should be central to their plans.”