The Group is aware that its operations have an impact on the environment and tries to reduce any negative impact while working towards compliance with the Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment. Building upon investigations in previous years we have identified property (in particular energy usage in our stores), transport and waste management at both Shirebrook and in-store as areas where we can make a difference.
This year we were placed in 56th position in the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme league table, ahead of retailers such as M&S, Tesco, Morrison’s, JJB, Debenhams, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis.
The single most significant element of the carbon footprint of the Group is the usage of electricity. Electricity usage contributes approximately 98% of the footprint. During the year the Group has made further investments and continued to trial even more energy efficient solutions, using internal benchmarks to identify opportunities to improve, and rolling out proven technologies.
Smart meters now actively monitor and report 98% of the energy used in our UK store portfolio. This has contributed to a pro rata saving across the largest 336 like-for-like stores of 4.2%. This saved the equivalent of 1,890 tonnes of CO2. (Last year’s saving was 3,635 tonnes.)
The Group set its energy efficiency benchmarks against the FY08 year: when compared with the base year of FY08 the total reduction in energy usage across similar stores is 26.5%.
The emphasis continues to be on good housekeeping, supported with targeted investment to ensure that high standards are maintained. Energy consumption reduction continues to be a key performance measurement.
During the Year, the Group has worked with its largest waste contractor covering the majority of the UK stores. This work led to the diversion of the residual waste to a materials recovery facility. As a result there is a much higher level of waste stream segregation thereby minimising the amount of waste going to landfill. Where possible we recycle electrical waste, ink toners, redundant IT equipment and light bulbs. This Year we recycled 5,546 (2011:5,546) units of electrical equipment.
During the Year 55 tonnes of waste paper (2011: 26 tonnes), 6,622 tonnes of cardboard (2011: 6,237 tonnes), 127 tonnes of metal (2011: 116 tonnes) and 453 tonnes of plastic (2011: 488 tonnes)
The Group has always kept its transit packaging to a minimum by the use of metal roll cages. Where it is necessary to send transit packaging to shops (e.g. to ensure cleanliness of clothing), it is returned to the centre for re-use or recycling as appropriate. Our fleet of trucks haul recyclable cardboard and polythene from the stores back to the Head Office where it is separated into recycling streams.
As reported last year, all stores now use biodegradable carrier bags and provide the option of a Bag for Life. During the Year, the Group has raised the profile of the Bag for Life, actively promoting the use of the bag with high levels of employee engagement. Our aims for the coming years are to further improve energy efficiency across the stores and to continue to minimise waste.