A collaborative approach to responsible sourcing, packaging and the circular economy has taken DIY giant Kingfisher to new heights in the second year of its Net Positive sustainability plan.
On Wednesday, the parent company of B&Q, Screwfix and other European home-improvement brands released its annual Net Positive Report, updating stakeholders on its sustainability ambition to transform the business to have a restorative impact on the environment.
Kingfisher’s group sustainability director Richard Gillies said the strategy – which incorporates 50 specific targets under for ‘priority areas’ — is already generating business value from efficiency, productivity gains and new revenue streams.
“This year has been one of practical action and we have taken important steps to further integrate sustainability into our processes and decision-making,” Gillies said in the report’s review. “We are taking a systematic approach, tackling issues in our operations and by working with external partners and suppliers.”
For example, Kingfisher uses timber in roughly 40 percent of its products. The company updated its timber sourcing standards, introducing a global policy this year; worked with suppliers to increase the volume of responsibly sourced timber, and collaborated with businesses and NGOs to advocate for structural change beyond its business. This included a partnership with IKEA and Tetra Pak to assess the impact of certification on forests and biodiversity. This collaborative approach is having an impact: Gillies says Kingfisher has reached 92 percent responsibly sourced timber in its products — 2 percent ahead of its 2016 target and well on-track to hit its 100 percent target by 2020 — with B&Q UK at 100 percent.
Other highlights from the 2015 Net Positive Report include:
- Customers are now saving an estimated £600m a year through energy-efficient products and services purchased from Kingfisher brands since 2011/12. Total sales of products with a lower environmental impact were worth £2.4bn to the business this year.
- In its own operations, Kingfisher has reduced its energy intensity by 17 percent since 2011/12 and marginally increased its recycling rate to 70 percent — on track for its target of 75 percent by next year.
- However, Kingfisher acknowledges it is not on track with its target to understand its water footprint, with water use decreasing by just 2 percent in the past five years.
The report also outlines Kingfisher’s increased focus on the circular economy and further opportunities for closed-loop innovation. The company has worked with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Bioregional to develop a closed-loop calculator, which assesses the closed-loop credentials of each product; to date, Kingfisher says it has achieved 562 closed-loop products - with a target of 1,000 products and 10 closed-loop supply chains by 2020.