In a significant move towards advancing the green and digital transformation of the retail and wholesale sector, the European Commission has officially initiated the co-creation process for the retail ecosystem transition pathway.

This marks a crucial step following the announcement of the pathway’s development in the May 2021 Industrial Strategy Update. EuroCommerce, the European retail and wholesale association, expressed enthusiasm about the pathway’s potential impact.

According to EuroCommerce Director General Christel Delberghe, the initiative will bring together stakeholders in the retail ecosystem, supported by the Commission, to propose a sustainable, digital, resilient and competitive roadmap for the sector.

The retail and wholesale industry plays a vital role in serving Europe’s consumers and business customers.

However, it has faced severe challenges during recent global crises, including disruptions in supply chains, rising costs, margin pressures and limited investment opportunities.

The co-creation process signifies a shift towards a collaborative approach in shaping the industry’s future agenda, focusing on transformative measures and continued contributions as the EU’s leading private employer.

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By adopting technology and promoting circularity and climate neutrality, the sector aims to maximise its value and impact.

The need for investment

According to a recent study in partnership with McKinsey, retailers and wholesalers will require up to €600bn by 2030 to successfully undergo a triple transformation – becoming more sustainable, digitalised and equipped with the right skills for change.

EuroCommerce has identified five key projects for potential investments and offered suggestions to create a more favourable policy environment centred around the single market to support this transformation.

These investments and policy changes aim to drive the sector towards a more sustainable and technologically advanced future.

Collaboration across sectors

The EU has also launched a similar co-creation process for the agri-food sector, underscoring the importance of collaboration among different industries.

Retail and wholesale are vital partners in ensuring a sustainable and resilient agri-food chain, providing consumers with safe, affordable, healthy and sustainable choices.

As the sector strives to meet the ever-evolving demands of consumers and business customers, cooperation across industries is seen as a crucial step towards achieving shared sustainability goals.

Looking ahead with optimism

EuroCommerce looks forward to actively participating in the co-creation process, contributing its insights and expertise to shape the retail ecosystem transition pathway.

The involvement of various stakeholders, including businesses, policymakers and consumers, is essential to crafting a comprehensive and effective roadmap for the sector’s transformation.

The pathway’s success would not only lead to a more sustainable and resilient retail and wholesale industry but also reinforce its position as a key driver of circularity, innovation and climate neutrality.