Over the next two months, the British Retail Consortium will work with Government to draw up plans which will see more energy efficient products on shop shelves.

Speaking at a meeting with the consortium last week, Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock said: “Britain has led the way in phasing out inefficient lightbulbs. I’m proud of this achievement and want to see it taken to a new level with all the electrical products we see in stores.

“In 2006, consumer electronics used 15% of the UK’s total domestic electricity consumption – and this has the potential to double between now and 2020.

“Switching to more efficient products will make a dramatic difference, both to consumers’ bank balances and to the UK’s CO2 emissions.

“I want to begin the switch off in inefficient products. Our retailers have a crucial role to play in offering greener choices to consumers, and I am greatly encouraged by their clear commitment to work up this initiative.”

Retailers welcomed the work of the Energy Saving Trust, which this year has enabled them to order more energy efficient products, which are now available in stores in time for Christmas.

This initiative will aim to set clear targets and retailers will be looking at ways to analyse the energy efficiency of consumer electronic products, starting with set-top boxes and to consider how a significant reduction could be made in stand-by energy use.

The British Retail Consortium offered to lead work in partnership with the Government and the Energy Saving Trust, to develop proposals for an initiative to phase out the least efficient consumer electronics products with the aim of cementing commitments in early 2008.

Recognising the crucial role of manufacturers in this initiative, Joan Ruddock pledged to convene a summit of manufacturers to build on this commitment.

The meeting is planned for January and will be hosted by Intellect, the trade association for the UK technology industry.

Sam Bond

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