It also added that retailers and wholesalers are perfectly placed to be the prime users of the advancement in 'cleantech' and support its deployment, as promised by the Commission.
Christel Delberghe, EuroCommerce director general said, "Retailers and wholesalers are crucial and unique allies in reaching the sustainable transformation objectives of the EU’s new industrial plan. We are a large sector, with a presence everywhere in Europe, and hold a unique position in the value chain between producers and consumers.
“As the EU looks at ways of strengthening the sustainability and energy transition, it should recognise that retailers and wholesalers offer many interesting opportunities for achieving the EU’s core strategic objectives.”
'Robust Single Market'
Delberghe also emphasised that any competitive measure and the EU’s response to the global subsidy race must keep the single market front and centre.
"A robust single market remains the strongest strategy to increase the competitiveness of EU companies. A subsidy race between member states will create a serious wedge between them, threatening the single market’s integrity,” she added.
The right regulations, incentives and capacity to invest can direct the retail and wholesale sector’s drive to innovate to go beyond its traditional role in the value chain.
They are perfectly placed to develop and co-develop business opportunities from circularity and waste reduction to renewable energy generation and storage, EuroCommerce noted.
By joining forces with supply chain partners, the sector can make the value chain more sustainable and help distribute and deploy cleantech in Europe.
Digital And Sustainability Transformation
A recent study, carried out in partnership with McKinsey, estimates that the retail and wholesale sector needs to invest up to €600 billion between now and 2030 to achieve its digital and sustainability transformation and attract and retain talents.
Half of that amount is needed for the sector to install renewable solutions and charging infrastructure and increase the energy efficiency of stores and warehouses, EuroCommerce added.
The retail and wholesale real estate covers approximately 500 million square-metres (over 70,000 football pitches) across the EU and employs more than 26 million people.
'Making these investments means doubling the sector’s current investment rate. That is impossible for a low-margin sector confronted with melting margins during an unprecedented sequence of crises,' EuroCommerce said.
The sector's transformation is crucial for the EU to reach its sustainability objectives and to restore the competitiveness of retailers and wholesalers in an increasingly globalising market.
However, EuroCommerce believes that an investment programme of this scale is only possible if the EU and its member states develop a policy framework to support it.