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Kingfisher makes savings across the board from sustainability efforts

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Kingfisher expects to make savings of more than £10 million a year from renewable energy by 2018 as part of its sustainability strategy. Image: Kingfisher.

Kingfisher is broadly on track to reach towards its 2020 sustainability targets after its latest update showed the company had reached several milestones on the way towards achieving its net positive Ambition.

The home improvement retailer, which owns almost 800 B&Q and Screwfix stores in the UK and Ireland, has reduced its energy intensity by 15% since 2010/11. This sets the company on course to achieve the intermediate target of 45% by 2020 which was originally expected to be achieved next year.

This has been achieved by wide adoption of energy efficiency measures, including the installation of LED lighting in 27% of the company’s 1,156 stores worldwide. This has reportedly saved the company £700,000 per year after energy consumption fell by over 16GWh per year. Kingfisher therefore plans to roll out LEDs to all of its stores by 2020.

Energy management systems are also said to be having an impact, with B&Q saving over £37,000 from just three stores trialling the ‘Measure My Energy’ scheme, which enables store managers to monitor electricity use conveniently and in real time.

Kingfisher has also saved around £77,000 in energy costs at its Fareham data centre by replacing cooling and power infrastructure, and is expecting to save £900,000 by consolidating the number of data centres and moving them to more energy efficient locations.  

Despite this progress, the report warns that energy intensity has increased year on year as the company’s activity grows, with “considerable work” needed to reach Kingfisher’s 2020 target.

Chief executive Véronique Laury said: “I want Kingfisher to be a truly sustainable company – both in its operation and its offering. We have been on a sustainability journey for many years. We have made great progress with some remarkable achievements.

“That said, and as this report shows, we still have much further to go to achieve all our targets and we need to increase our rate of change.”

The company’s carbon reduction plans will also need to be stepped up as it hopes to reduce its footprint by a quarter in 2020 compared to 2010/11. So far only a 0.6% reduction has been achieved, with Kingfisher’s report stating: “Achieving our ambitious target for 2020 will be very challenging due to business growth, particularly growth in customer home deliveries.”

However, greater progress has been made in cutting the carbon intensity of the company’s property, which has fallen by 16% since the baseline year. Kingfisher hopes to increase this to 20% by 2016/17 as it works towards an overall 50% reduction target by 2020.

This has so far been achieved by a combination of energy efficiency measures and investment in renewable energy.

Kingfisher expects to generate 5% of its electricity from onsite renewables by the end 2018, which is estimated to cut costs by £10.2 million per year at current prices. The company is already on the way to achieving this after installing solar PV on two stores and three distribution centres with a generation capacity of 4.1MW during 2015/16.

This included the Screwfix distribution centre at Trentham which has a 1.8MW PV solar that will generate around 30% of the site’s electricity needs.

In December 2015, Kingfisher announced it would invest £50 million in renewable energy across its network of locations in an effort to reduce its consumption of grid energy by 10% in the next two years.

The company also plans to negotiate larger green tariff contracts to cover more of the business and to work with suppliers to encourage them to offer electricity from renewable sources at the most competitive rates.

While these measures would help Kingfisher reduce its own environmental impact, the report claims the retailer wishes to do the same for its customers. Its 2020 target is to save customers 38TWh of energy through the energy saving products and services purchased since 2011/12

Like many of its other targets, Kingfisher says it is on track to achieve this, with its customers thought to have saved 10.8 TWh every year, saving them an estimated £750 million each year.

Currently, the only one of Kingfisher’s eight energy-related targets that it is not on track to achieve is ensuring all energy-using products meet best practice standards on energy efficiency. Only 42% of energy saving products in five operating companies currently meets the company’s best practice standards.

Despite this setback, the company remains confident that it will be able to achieve its goal of being carbon positive by 2050, with every one of its stores operating at either zero carbon or generating more energy than they consume. It also wants all its products and services to help its customers achieve the same goal.

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