One of Bioregional’s longest-running and most important partnerships is with B&Q, the first One Planet Company. We’re entrusted with reviewing its progress on sustainability against ambitious plans and targets. We work on a wide range of projects, helping B&Q to reduce the environmental impacts of its operations, its products and the lifestyles of its millions of customers.

Greening a DIY giant

We’ve worked closely with this leading UK home and garden retailer since 2007. At the core of this partnership is B&Q’s One Planet Home Action Plan, which we helped it to develop. Each year we review the company’s progress against the challenging sustainability targets set out in this plan.

Sustainability is now embedded into many of B&Q’s core functions ensuring that its energy use and transport, for example, continue to become more efficient. Ongoing engagement with buyers ensures that supply chain risks are minimised and innovative new products and services are continually sought.

Cumulatively these efforts have had a huge impact in reducing B&Q’s impacts and improving its bottom line since 2006/7 including:

  • A saving of 98,000 tonnes CO2e through a 31% reduction in its absolute carbon footprint
  • Reducing costs by £115m through better energy, transport and waste management
  • Replacing 497 million litres of peat in 2014 with more sustainable alternatives to help make the nation’s gardens greener

One Planet Home and the 2023 targets that underpin the programme present an ambitious but necessary vision for sustainable business.

Having a better understanding of its impacts has allowed B&Q to focus on specific initiatives to reduce its environmental impacts while saving money. Like many other retailers B&Q has achieved high levels of diversion from landfill (now 96%) but  it is also striving to ensure that wherever possible waste is prevented or recycled.

This has led to a focus on timber waste with specific initiatives including:

  • Metsa Wood, one of B&Q’s largest timber suppliers, now takes back and reuses its bearers (pieces of wood used instead of pallets to transport timber products)
  • A wood recycling project is underway in 34 stores across the B&Q estate, in partnership with the National Community Wood Recycling Project (NCWRP). Wood collected by the NCWRP is then sold through its network of stores or reused to make items such as household and garden furniture, worktops, decking, bird/animal boxes and giftware.
  • In 2015 B&Q will launch an exclusive re-usable pallet scheme, which will use wood from known sources and reduce the creation of waste wood

With over three million customers a week there is also huge opportunity for B&Q to make the nation’s homes greener.

Recent projects we’ve worked with on B&Q on include:

  • Understanding the environmental impacts of the bedding plant industry. We researched the annual operational energy use and growing practices of a key B&Q bedding plant supplier. A new improved bedding plant product, Easy-Grow, hit the shelves in the Spring of 2014
  • Carrying out a carbon footprint analysis of B&Q’s fitted kitchen range

The company has won several awards for its leadership on sustainability in the retail and DIY sectors.

But any ambitious sustainability plan will face challenges along the way and this is true of B&Q’s commitment to make deep cuts in carbon emissions. Reductions have plateaued in recent years. To hit the target for zero carbon stores by 2023 firm investment plans are needed.

You can download our latest 2014/15  sustainability review using the link on the right.

About the partner

B&Q is the leading home improvement and garden retailer in Europe and the third largest in the world. It has more than 300 stores in the UK and Ireland. and sales in 2014/15 of £3.8 billion.