Retail Excellence has warned that a proposed 20c levy on single use coffee cups 'sends the wrong message on sustainability' and that the Government needs to rethink its strategy as a priority. The warning from the largest representative body for the retail industry in Ireland, came before the launch of a new retail sustainability initiative, Sustainable Irish Retail Action (SIRA), which is set to take place in Dublin city tomorrow (Wednesday, 9 June).
This initiative will be launched in conjunction with Retail Excellence and Champion Green to support Irish businesses to take practical steps in becoming more sustainable, the group noted.
Proposed Levy Impact Duncan Graham, managing director, Retail Excellence, said that the proposed levy on single use coffee cups sent out the mixed message to retailers.In a statement,
“It is good to see the Government place a real emphasis on sustainable measures, but the coffee cup levy does not make sense," he noted.
"It wants consumers to use reusable coffee cups, but these are generally made from plastic which is clearly harmful to the environment. Single use cups, meanwhile, are compostable and will degrade naturally. This sends out a mixed message at a time when the cost of living is soaring and retailers and consumers cannot afford a further levy on goods.”
Graham highlighted that the retail industry has just emerged from the worst two years of trading on record, and now business owners – and SMEs in particular – have to contend with rapidly rising inflation, supply chain problems, and a nationwide staffing crisis.
"On top of all that, consumers are increasingly demanding the sustainable option, but that costs money which retailers simply cannot afford,” he said.He added that investing in sustainability initiatives was an “easy win” for the Government, which could rely on the retail industry to uphold the highest standards.
“It goes without saying that climate change is a huge risk, but retailers, suppliers and consumers alike want to do something meaningful about it. The Government is making strides on sustainability, but we need to see targeted sectoral support if we are to have the kind of impact that is badly needed.”
The SIRA guide, in conjunction with Retail Excellence, will be freely available on Thursday, 9 June, on Retailexcellence.ie