The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has strengthened its focus on sustainability with the appointment of Jason Robertson to the newly created role of director, sustainability and impact.
Robertson will lead the development of a sector wide sustainability and social impact strategy and will also serve as the inaugural Chair of the ARA Sustainability Advisory Committee.
Robertson comes to ARA from IAG, where he led projects on responsible sourcing and supply chain governance. Prior to that, he spent 12 years driving the sustainability agenda at David Jones, including as head of social responsibility and sustainability. He also worked for NBN Co where he led the development of a strategic framework for CSR. Prior to that, he worked with SMBs, owner operators and franchisees in Australia's dynamic food retail sector.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra says sustainability is one of the greatest challenges for the sector and the wider community.
"We are pleased to strengthen our resources in this important space working on initiatives that can deliver sustainable outcomes for customers, business and government," Zahra says. "Jason is one of the country's most experienced retail sustainability experts and he will work closely with ARA members to advise and advocate for their needs and help deliver positive change for the community and environment.
The Australian Retailers Association is Australia's largest retail association, representing a $340bn sector employing more than 1.2m people. ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members.
"Retail is already leading the way on so many positive sustainability outcomes," Zahra says. "By uniting the sector with one voice and driving collaborative efforts where it makes sense to do so, we hope to take our members' impact to the next level."
Robertson says the association has a "great foundation to building upon," noting that 75% of major members and 50% of large members with established sustainability programs in place.
"We want to leverage all that great work and intend to help all our members become more sustainable and to use the collective weight of Australian retailers to drive positive sustainability outcomes across the sector," Robertson says.
"We will also look at where the ARA can focus its efforts to improve social impact and environmental outcomes while exploring opportunities that reduce the cost of doing business for our members," he says.