Implementing sustainable practices entail significant upfront costs for businesses, and as retailers struggle through a cost-of-trading crisis, owners are looking for cost saving measures in their transition to a low carbon future.

According to a recent Retail Sentiment Report released by the National Retail Association, only 16 per cent of businesses will increase spending on sustainability in 2024, putting pressure on the nation’s drive to reduce carbon emissions by 2030.

Ahead of Retail Fest, National Retail Association Director Rob Godwin has announced a partnership with Carbonhalo (Emissions Reduction Collective – ERC Protocol), a platform designed to provide businesses with an affordable pathway to reducing carbon emissions.

“Retailers are key to Australia’s transition to net-zero, so making sustainability more affordable to business owners needs to be an industry-wide priority,” Mr Godwin said.

“We have found that operational costs for 77 per cent of all retailers will be worse this year with energy costs, wage costs and insurance being major constraints on business.

“While businesses will look to the May Federal Budget to lighten incoming cost burdens, owners will save themselves in the long run by getting ahead of their carbon neutral journey,” he said.

Carbonhalo CEO Richie Mulder said their ERC Protocol platform is designed to remove cost burdens by standardising, and simplifying emissions reduction.

“The platform caters to businesses that have no knowledge of sustainability, as well as to larger corporates looking to activate their value chain. Small to medium-sized businesses can also collectively connect and collaborate towards their sustainability goals,” Mr Mulder said.

The ERC Protocol provides tools, education, one-on-one support, and automation to create a seamless sustainability journey for business owners, which would allow them to showcase their impact, and engage with customers.

“Ultimately. the platform is designed to help businesses identify cost saving measures and increase customer appeal, making sustainability a financially viable strategy,” he said.

According to a survey from McKinsey & Co., 75 per cent of millennial respondents said they consider sustainability when they make a retail purchase.

Mr Mulder also underscored the significance of prioritising sustainability given the federal government’s push for mandatory climate reporting.

“Prioritising sustainability is no longer optional, but a necessity. Done correctly, it significantly enhances a business’s reputation and attracts new customers,” he said.

“In the current cost-of-trading crisis it’s so important for retail owners to adapt and differentiate themselves by adopting the ERC protocol. It offers a tailor-made roadmap for businesses to better embrace sustainability and move towards a carbon-neutral future.”


The National Retail Association will be embarking on a national road show, starting in April 16-18 at Retail Fest Gold Coast, providing free expert advice on these business costs, and insights on HR & legal, store security & inventory management, operations, & performance and planet & suitability. These roadshows with key partnerships like Carbonhalo, will hit all capital cities and regions throughout 2024.

For more information, contact the National Retail Association media unit on 0467 792 013.