The convenience sector will be judged on its ability to reduce its use of resources - not only by customers, but by staff who want to work for a responsible company, retailers heard.
AF Blakemore managing director Peter Blakemore said he believed that use of resources such as petrol and electricity, and handling of waste, should be seen as an aspect of responsible retailing, and is one where the convenience sector has an advantage over the multiples.
"We must be competitive in convenience, price and availability," he said. "But we must also beat them with our approach to responsible retailing."
He revealed that the company's consumption of oil, gas and electricity was not currently sustainable. However, changes to the distributor's fleet had helped reduce its fuel consumption and Blakemore's new recycling centre in Willenhall, West Midlands, is now fully operational.