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RUSSIAN STORES TO TAKE CARE OF NATURE

04 june 2019
On June 4, Russia's largest retailers supported by WWF-Russia signed a memorandum aimed to develop and introduce new eco standards for consumer goods. Retail has a real opportunity to reduce the ecological footprint of manufacturers by increasing the requirements to the products they offer in stores, which means those products will be manufactured in a more environmentally responsible way.

The frequency, the number of purchases we make, and our consumer habits put more pressure on our planet. Every time we buy a product, we also buy the packaging that immediately goes to waste and that — like any other disposable product — has to be produced and disposed of, which takes our planet's resources.

To manufacture products, people cut down forests, use huge amounts of water, cause greenhouse gas emissions which aggravate the climate crisis, and then 30% of products end up going to waste. We double the damage: when products go to waste deposits, they cause more harm to the environment.

If retailers, manufacturers, and consumers join their efforts, they will be able to reduce the harmful impact.

During the Russian Retail Week, the country's largest retailers together with the Russian Association of Internet Trade Companies and the Retail Companies Association signed a Memorandum on Sustainable Development. The companies are planning to work together on eco standards in the industry, develop environmental projects, and introduce the best international practices for sustainable development into their business operations.

The Memorandum was signed by Yevgeniy Schwartz, Director for Environmental Policy at WWF Russia, Sergey Belyakov, Chairman of the Retail Companies Association, Artyom Sokolov, President of the Russian Association of Internet Trade Companies, and representatives of Russia's largest retailers—Wildberries, Х5 Retail Group, M.Video-Eldorado Group, Magnit, DNS, Azbuka Vkusa, Lenta, VkusVill. Snow Queen, Utkonos, and Holodilnik.ru also joined the Memorandum.

Photo: (c) Sergey Panikratov / WWF-Russia

"The Memorandum is an important event that marks the start of the joint work on making the Russian retail industry environmentally friendly. It took a series of events for us to understand that long-term development should only be based on the principles of sustainable development. Today, it is clear that the main environmental problems cannot be solved without making consumption environmentally friendly and optimized. These problems include depletion of natural resources, extinction of animal and birds species and their habitats, the expansion of extensive agriculture and forestry, products that go to waste, and creating waste that cannot be reused or recycled. The only way to tackle these problems is to join our efforts. The Memorandum already includes two-thirds of the major food market players and almost half of technology and electronics companies. Our goal is to reduce a negative impact on the environment and to prevent greenwashing — the deceptive practices for trying to appear environmentally friendly,"  said Yevgeniy Schwartz, Director for Environmental Policy at WWF-Russia.

The members of Memorandum are planning to include sustainable development practices into their business strategies and to promote them both within their companies and beyond them, to encourage consumers to choose products that were manufactured without harm to environment, to work on the various techniques for waste collection and disposal.

"M.Video-Eldorado Group implements a number of corporate social responsibility projects every year. Over 10 years ago, we stopped using plastic bags at all M.Video stores and replaced them with paper ones. We regularly collect old tech products for further correct disposal. For example, Eldorado stores have accepted over 3.5 million of broken-down items, and since last year the Group's stores have special boxes for collecting old batteries. The Memorandum allows us to join our efforts with big market players, the World Wide Fund for Nature and industry associations, to increase the number of environmental practices and to further and more extensively support responsible consumption and correct waste disposal," said Aleksander Tynkovan, President of M.Video-Eldorado Group.

The Memorandum is an open document and any retailer, product supplier, and packaging manufacturer that supports treating nature in a responsible way and is prepared to participate in working toward the goals of the Memorandum can join it. The members of the Memorandum agree to report on their achievements in sustainable development every year.

Photo in the caption: (c) Yuriy Yurkin / WWF-Russia

Photo in the announcement: (c) Sergey Panikratov / WWF-Russia

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