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10 Aug 2023

The wholesale sector's road to Net Zero

The wholesale sector's road to Net Zero

The Federation of Whole Distributors (FWD) has recently released the Wholesale Sector Net Zero Roadmap, a comprehensive document examining the industry's progress towards the ambitious goal of achieving Net Zero by 2040. 

IFE caught up with FWD Chief Executive James Bielby to learn more about some of the report's key points and findings. 

What are some of the headline takeaways from the report? 

The UK wholesale sector’s total carbon footprint, including impacts from across its value chain, was 18 million tonnes of emissions in 2021. 

Key sources of Scope 1 and 2 emissions are road transport, followed by electricity use in depots and offices. Other sources of Scope 1 and 2 emissions identified were fuel used to heat buildings and refrigerant leakage from storage and HGVs. The majority of impact comes from vehicle use, at 63% of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, followed by electricity use at 17%, refrigerants 7% and fuel use for buildings at 6%

Were there any findings that surprised you?

Wholesalers are only directly responsible for approximately 4% of emissions in the operation of their businesses with the majority of value chain emissions upstream in ingredient production and manufacturing processes. 

It is therefore vital for wholesalers to engage with manufacturers, suppliers and customers to reach net zero. 

How well is the wholesale sector meeting the requirements to reach net zero by 2025? 

It is clear wholesalers are acting across all areas of their business, but more help and encouragement is needed to enable to the sector to fully measure progress towards Net Zero. 

Many of FWD’s members are in the early stages of their climate action journey. To help wholesalers get started, the roadmap includes a four-step guide: Firstly, wholesalers must baseline their company’s current emissions, then set clear climate ambitions and develop an action plan. Finally, establish internal structures for tracking progress and hold themselves to account. 

What are the biggest barriers to the sector meeting this goal?

We need Government support for our climate transition. These include a clear strategy for road freight decarbonisation, a long-term legislative plan for commercial and industrial building decarbonisation, and incentivisation of greater availability, consistency and quality of Scope 3 emissions data.

View the full report from the FWD and access other sustainability resources at



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