EuroCommerce, which represents the retail and wholesale sectors in Europe, has reiterated the need to act quickly on the proposals on energy by the president of the European Commission, Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen on 7 September.
Retailers and wholesalers are particularly vulnerable to the current increase in energy prices and are working hard to cushion customers from the impact of energy and commodity price rises, EuroCommerce noted.
As both sectors operate on low net margins, ranging between 1-3%, they will not be able to absorb these additional costs indefinitely.
In addition, they cannot slow down their activities, such as turning off heating and refrigeration or ceasing logistics operations, if they are to continue to serve their customers.
Energy Saving Efforts
EuroCommerce added that retailers and wholesalers could play an important role in energy saving efforts in the continent, as well as supporting the move towards renewable energy.
Employing more than 26 million people and providing essential services to consumers, both sectors consume energy significantly as they operate large networks of stores and warehouses across Europe.
Many companies have made concrete commitments and are taking urgent action to contribute to national energy saving initiatives and encourage consumers to save energy at home, EuroCommerce noted.
In addition, they are also investing in renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, wind and biomass, making a real contribution to addressing the energy crisis.
Measures To Tackle The Crisis
EuroCommerce also outlined several measures to help retailers and wholesaler navigate the energy and cost-of-living crisis.
It has urged for non-discriminatory access to short-term schemes to compensate companies, not just utility operators, from the impact of spiralling energy costs.
It also called for investment support in national programmes under the Recovery and Resilience Facility and other programmes focusing on both immediate and structural measures on renewable energy and facilitating access to permits as set out in the RePowerEU package.
Other areas of focus include offering support for low-income consumers, reviewing the current price-setting mechanisms and decoupling the price of electricity from gas, and treating retail and wholesale as a priority sector in any emergency measures to ration energy.