Four leading retail companies have partnered to introduce an initiative that aims to address the issue of climate change.

The Race to Zero Breakthroughs: Retail Campaign is being led by H&M, IKEA, Kingfisher and Walmart in partnership with the COP26 High Level Climate Action Champions.

It is backed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The campaign calls on retailers worldwide to take ‘ambitious action’ to tackle climate change and limit global warming to 1.5⁰C.

The retailers leading the campaign are encouraging fellow players to join the campaign by pledging to halve their greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050.

WBCSD president and CEO Peter Bakker said: “This campaign is a call to retailers everywhere to take ambitious climate action as they increasingly recognise the risks posed by climate change across their supply chains and operations.

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“We need more retailers to join the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Race to Zero and showcase leadership and commitment, like H&M Group, Ingka Group (IKEA), Kingfisher and Walmart.”

Only 5% of retail sector businesses have joined the UNFCCC’s Race to Zero so far.

Retail trade associations can support the initiative by driving awareness about the campaign.

Mr Bakker said: “The climate emergency, together with the loss of nature and rising inequalities, are the greatest and most complex challenges of our time.

“Only by joining forces and collectively rethinking industries like retail will it be possible to tackle them.

“Governments, investors and businesses are uniting to support a pathway to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5°C, in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. [This is] the only viable way for people and planet.”

Last August, Retail Insight Network reported that IKEA and Unilever had demonstrated a particular commitment to sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic.