Our philosophy is that we should eventually be able to put more back than we take out – to be ‘net positive’. Our strategy sets ambitious targets across the business until 2020 and focuses on four priority areas: timber, energy, innovation and communities. Over the past year our achievements show how this journey is already underway. Our CR Report, to be published in June 2012, will provide more detail on our performance.
In 2010/11 B&Q UK became the first major UK retailer to achieve the aim of purchasing 100% of their timber products from forest sources independently verified as well-managed. B&Q UK continues to be a leader in responsible sourcing and is committed to maintaining that achievement by only selling timber from independently verified legal and sustainable sources. We aim to replicate this success across Kingfisher with a Group-wide target to reach 100% independently verified sustainable timber sourcing by 2020. In 2011/12, our Group-wide responsible sourcing was at 86%. We are also working with our Operating Companies to help them to comply with the new EU Timber Regulation for 2013.
All of our Operating Companies work at country level with domestic timber suppliers to incorporate Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified products within the supply chain and to improve availability of certified timber and products. Over the past year, Castorama France was recognised by WWF France as the leading supplier of sustainable timber in France; Brico Dépôt Spain won the Cemex Foundation’s ‘Sustainable Supply Chain’ Award for their work with Kingfisher on responsible timber sourcing; and Koçtaş in Turkey is working with Rainforest Alliance on a strategic plan to improve the supply of certified timber within Turkey. In-store, our Operating Companies are planning campaigns during 2012 to increase customer awareness of the importance of responsible timber sources.
Our energy targets are aimed at significantly reducing our energy consumption as a business by 2020; whilst also helping our customers consume less energy at home without compromising on comfort.
We continue to work closely with the UK government to progress the UK’s ‘Green Deal’. The initiative, expected to be launched later this year, aims to encourage households to invest in improved energy efficiency, off-set by long-term cost savings on home energy bills. Our approach is to offer advice and simple DIY products to customers, whether retail or trade, alongside professionally installed insulation and energy saving products. To date we have carried out insulation installation trials at 31 B&Q UK stores. Later this year, we plan to offer in-house energy efficiency assessments for customers. We will also be helping smaller tradesmen across the UK to prepare for the demand for energy efficient products.
Our work on the UK’s Green Deal will enable us to contribute to discussions on the current European Energy Efficiency Directive, which aims to encourage Member States to become more energy efficient. Castorama France has launched a dedicated web application aimed at helping its customers become more energy efficient.
During 2011/12 we successfully reduced our store energy consumption by 8%, two low-carbon stores were opened by Castorama France and one by B&Q UK, with further low energy stores planned at Brico Dépôt France, Brico Dépôt Spain and Castorama Russia.
Within our supply chain, our main sourcing office in Hong Kong has started work with WWF Hong Kong to encourage our largest suppliers to reduce emissions as part of the WWF Low Carbon Manufacturing Programme (LCMP).
We aim to be at the forefront of eco-product innovation by 2020. Eco-product sales now account for approximately 13% of Group sales. Eco-products include ‘best in class’ eco-products, such as B&Q’s new ‘Clean Spirit’ – an eco-alternative to white spirit – and ‘eco-compliant’ ranges, including certified timber products. Each item is assessed by the sustainability experts BioRegional to ensure it meets our sustainability criteria.
In 2011/12 we launched 11 Group common brands across all of our Operating Companies. This Group brand alignment enables synergies, leverages volumes and helps to control the sourcing of products, which means that we can apply a common approach to embedding sustainability across our brands.
Our research into ‘closed loop’ products continues, building on B&Q UK’s role as a founding corporate partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Over the past year we have been exploring ways in which materials can be reused to preserve resources and increase their value. This work forms part of the Foundation’s vision to create a ‘circular economy’ where resources are perpetually in use. For example, we are currently undertaking a feasibility study with a local council to recycle disused polypropylene and transform it into containers for grout or adhesives.
We aim to be a good neighbour and our stores and employees are the link to communities, with many already involved in local volunteering. Throughout the Group we aim to help people build skills within the community. Castorama France launched ‘Les Troc’heures’, a free community skills swapping website that encourages people to share skills, from DIY to dressmaking. In early 2012 the site had 3,500 members and over 1,000 swaps had taken place.
Another leading programme is B&Q UK’s ‘Job Done!’, which provides free teaching resources for young people aged five to 16 to learn practical DIY skills. B&Q also has a partnership with UK Youth and Youth Work Ireland that includes skills training to youth groups around the country.
Kingfisher net positive
Kingfisher’s Net Positive plan marks the beginning of the next phase of our leadership in corporate responsibility and is a core part of Kingfisher’s Creating the Leader strategic programme. Our full CR Report, published in June, will detail our progress against our strategy and targets. Our ambition is not simply to replace what we use or to be neutral, but to contribute to creating a better future.