Retailers meet for energy summit


The UK's major electronic retailers are meeting later today at 11 Downing Street for a government summit to discuss energy efficiency among consumer goods.

Organised by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the government is aiming to encourage retailers to cut greenhouse gas emissions from consumer electrical goods and to develop more energy efficient products.

The summit was originally announced in this year's Budget and intends to create a voluntary retail partnership that will aim to reduce carbon emissions by 2010.

Ian Pearson, the environment minister, has revealed that given the popularity of electronic goods among consumers, their annual electricity usage amounts to the same output of five standard power stations, or one-third of the UK's total domestic electricity consumption.

He will lay out the importance of today's summit between the government and major retailers lay in their joint aims.

"This is a truly international agenda. We have similar products and we share the same problem - how to deal with the demand for more and better goods and services while at the same time ensuring that we minimise the effect on the environment," he will say.

"The government is deeply serious about reducing energy demand, and we have to now tackle these risks and challenges. This is why I and my Treasury colleagues will be meeting with the major retailers to invite them to commit to set ambitious energy efficiency standards for the consumer electronic products that they sell," he will add.

John Healey, financial secretary to the Treasury, will say: "Climate change is the greatest environmental challenge we face. Just leaving devices such as TVs and DVD players on standby at home puts up to one million tonnes of carbon a year into the atmosphere and costs households around £25 a year. By working in partnership with retailers, this initiative will not only help tackle climate change, it will help cut customers' electricity bills."

The retailers attending today's summit are Argos, Amazon, Asda, Comet, Dixons, John Lewis, Kingfisher, Morrisons, Morphy Richards, Sainsbury's and Tesco.

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