The carrier bag levy: strategic initiatives enable retailers to give more effectively

Autumn 2015

By now, you may have noticed a small additional cost to your weekly grocery shopping bill courtesy of the 5p carrier bag levy in force in England. The levy hopes to reduce the 61,000 tonnes of waste generated by discarded bags each year and follows the introduction of similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The levy also means there is opportunity for an estimated £73 million extra per year to be raised for good causes - as retailers are being encouraged to donate proceeds from the levy to charity

How are top UK retailers using the policy to achieve their CSR goals?

Aldi is helping the Royal Society Protection of Birds (RSPB) connect more than 500,000 children with nature. It is expected that profits from carrier bag sales will see the charity receive donations in excess of £2 million. The retailer had previously charged 3p per bag but will be increasing the charge to 5p in line with the new legislation. 

Morrisons will be supporting the Morrisons Foundation, which was established in 2014 to provide grants to registered charities throughout the UK. Last year the retailer raised more than £580,000 for good causes through the charges in Wales and Scotland.

Shoppers in a supermarket

Ways we can support you:

If you haven’t yet formalised any plans for your carrier bag levy, there’s still plenty of time. We’ve been supporting a number of retailers to create efficient and impactful programmes by offering advice and giving vehicles to ensure their organisation makes the most impact from the new plastic bag levy and it is as easy as possible to implement.

This includes:

Utilising the CAF Company Account

The CAF Company Account protects and ring-fences funds raised from the levy.  The account will keep a clear record of money received and donated, which can be used to make your reporting easier.

Working with our specialist CSR advisors 

Our expert CSR advisors can help you to choose charitable partners that fit your strategic aims and differentiate you from other retailers.

Setting up a grant making programme

Our team can support you to develop and administer a corporate grant making programme that helps you engage with the causes that are important to your customers, employees and local community whilst supporting a wide range of charities that are not always usual recipients for corporate funds.  

Evidence shows that similar charges in Ireland, Wales and Switzerland have led to an 80% reduction in the number of carrier bags issued. Despite this decrease, the carrier bag levy in Wales has still raised £22 million for charity since 2011. This is not only an exciting time for the charities that will benefit from the extra funds but also an opportunity for companies to respond with innovative and impactful ideas to benefit society as a whole.

Get in touch

If you’d like to find out more about how we can support you please contact us on 03000 123 207 or email