British Retail Consortium

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The British Retail Consortium is a UK trade association, representing all sizes and shapes of retailers, from small, independently owned shops to big retail chains and department stores. Its membership accounts for ~80% of retail trade in the UK by turnover.
The BRC campaigns for the retail industry, and is recognised for its powerful influence within govt, and as a provider of in-depth retail information.

The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety (BRCGS) was developed by the BRC in 1996. The first edition of the BRC Food Technical Standard and Protocol was produced in 1998 for food suppliers. The standard has been widely adopted by food manufacturers around the world, especially by organisations supplying British retailers.ref Third party certification to the standard helps manufacturers demonstrate compliance with customer, regulatory and statutory requirements and hence assists in providing a due diligence defence.ref,ref

On-pack Recycling Label


The On-pack Recycling Label scheme was launched in late 2007, aiming to make recycling messages clear for purchasers. The scheme is operated by the British Retail Consortium, with technical support from Wrap,ref and is used by ~400 members across all sectors.[2019] However, some major international companies such as Procter & Gamble have ruled out signing up because their products are not packaged specifically for the UK.ref


  • Nov.2016: BRC Global Standards was sold to the LGC Group, an international life sciences measurement and testing company. BRCGS had become the world’s largest provider of safety and quality standards programmes for food and non-food manufacture, packaging, storage, and distribution. BRC retained a minority stake in the business.ref
  • Jun.2009: OSS Retail, a provider of management development programmes for the retail industry, was acquired by the BRC from the British Independent Retailers Association.ref
  • 2007: On-pack Recycling Label scheme was launched, aiming to make recycling messages clear for purchasers.
  • 1996: BRC Global Standards was founded by retailers who wanted to harmonise food safety standards across the supply chain.ref
  • Jul.1995: Retail Credit Group: the BRC acquired the residual assets and liabilities of the RCG. (AR-Jun.1996)
  • Jan.1992: British Retail Consortium: the British Retailers' Association and the Retail Consortium merged.
  • Mar.1983: British Retailers Association
  • Dec.1979: British Multiple Retailers Association
  • Mar.1946: The Multiple Shops Federation was incorporated.



  • Dec.15.2018: Industry fights to water down bottle recycling charges. Michael Gove pledged in March that the gov't would “introduce a deposit return scheme in England for single-use drinks containers (whether plastic, glass or metal), subject to consultation later this year”. He said the 22p deposit on drinks containers in Germany had resulted in 97% being recycled. Only 57% of the 13bn plastic bottles used each year are recycled, although the Plastics Industry claims the rate is 74%. The BRC is lobbying for glass to be excluded; and for the scheme to primarily target plastic bottles smaller than 1 litre. Retailers are worried about the cost and practicality of installing reverse vending machines, each costing about £32,000. The aluminium can industry argues that a deposit on its products would remove them from household recycling bins, in which they are the most valuable item, helping councils to cover the cost of collections. It also says that a deposit scheme would result in the metal being mostly aerosols which can explode when crushed, creating a risk in bin lorries and at recycling centres. Surfers Against Sewage urged Gove to introduce a comprehensive scheme. Campaign to Protect Rural England said Gove should not be influenced by the BRC, which had also lobbied against the 5p plastic bag charge. Ben Webster, The Times.