B&Q to speak at Chamber ‘green’ conference after winning Queen’s Award for sustainability

George Padelopoulos, Sustainability Manager, Ethical Trade, B&Q, will be speaking at Norfolk Chamber’s Sustainability 2012 Conference on 10 May at the John Innes Centre.

B&Q has recently won the UK’s most prestigious business award, The Queen’s Award, for its work in creating a sustainable business and helping people improve the sustainability of their homes,

At the Sustainability 2012 Conference Mr Padelopoulos will be delivering a presentation entitled: ‘Preparing for the Green Deal – a B&Q perspective’. He commented: “With more than 18 million homes likely to be eligible under the Government’s Green Deal programme, this presentation will take delegates through some of B&Q’s experiences in preparing for and providing an outline of what the Green Deal could mean for businesses.”

The UK’S largest home improvement retailer, which has already been named Retail Week’s Responsible Retailer of the Year this year, B&Q will be presented with their Sustainable Development Award later this year. It demonstrates that corporate social responsibility is intrinsically linked to business success, not at odds with it. 

Whilst the retailer proved it has made significant progress by; reducing its own emissions; investing in green technologies; educating its employees; and helping people make their homes more sustainable - the award was, in no small part, made as a result of B&Q’s 20 year journey to become the first major UK retailer to only buy timber products from proven responsibly-managed sources.  

As well as now stocking more than 15,000 Forest Friendly products, B&Q also provides a range of over 3,500 independently accredited One Planet Home eco products, designed to reduce levels of environmental impact or help people get greener homes. Currently 12 per cent of product sales are from the eco-brand.  Already looking ahead to the launch of the Green Deal later this year, B&Q is researching and developing new products and advice to ensure it can offer people the help and advice they need to take advantage of the Government’s Green Deal offer to ecovate their homes.

Matt Sexton, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at B&Q said: “This award is a huge honour and confirms B&Q as one of the UK leaders in more sustainable retailing. 

“Our sustainability journey started over twenty years ago when we were challenged about where the timber in our garden furniture came from.  Today we monitor over 15,000 timber and paper lines specifying that they come only from proven responsible sources.  This has meant making some hard commercial choices along the way but we believe it is the only way to operate.

“We have made good progress against other One Planet Home goals with substantial cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, solvent levels in paint and the amount of waste we send to landfill.  This is thanks to teams throughout our business, who constantly work to support our One Planet Home goals.  We always strive to do the right thing and if we don’t always get it right we work hard to put it right.

“We are delighted to have been recognised with this prestigious award which will spur us on in pursuit of our goal of becoming a truly sustainable business.”

Some of B&Q’s sustainability headline achievements:

  • VOC levels per litre of paint cut by 60% in the last ten years
  • 26% cut in carbon emissions from transport versus 2006/7
  • 24% cut in carbon emissions from store electricity versus 2006/7
  • 87% of waste diverted from landfill in 2011/12
  • Overall reduction in absolute carbon emissions of more than 20% since 2006/7
  • Peat content in plants and growing media cut from 71% to 44% in ten years
  • Launched its Forest Friendly campaign to raise awareness of the importance of only buying products made from or containing wood that has come from sustainable, well-managed forests because individual buying choices can help prevent deforestation Campaigned in Europe to ban the import and possession of illegal timber
  • Launched an One Planet e-learning module for staff - completed by 12,000 staff
  • Purchased and ecovated a two-up-two-down end of terraced house, which now meets 2050 energy standards which has cut emissions by 69 per cent
  • Is a founding partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation dedicated to propagating developments in closed loop business models
  • Has appointed a Youth Board (mentored by B&Q’s board directors) to help shape the business’ sustainability strategy.  The young people present their recommendations to B&Q Board and Dame Ellen MacArthur at the end of July.
  • Retail Week’s sustainable business of the year 2012; was listed in the top 20 of Sunday Times Best Green Companies 2011; was given The Observer’s Ethical Business Award 2010
  • Leading the way in sustainable innovations. Introduction of Clean Spirit, Powder Paint, recycled newlife paint, recycled plastic loft insulation, carpet underlay made from old clothing.
  • Continuing to champion leading employment policies. A quarter of the workforce is over 55 with a similar percentage under 25 and only UK business to be recognised as a world class employer for five years running by Gallop
  • Helping your people develop practical skills through our Job Done schools programme, our partnership with UK Youth and the DIY Scout badge
  • For more details of the work B&Q has been doing read our action plan
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