Kingfisher’s Net Positive approach stimulates circular economy transition

DIY giant Kingfisher has made 'exciting progress' in the first year of its Net Positive plan; helping customers reduce energy usage by over 5TWh and cutting its own energy intensity by 10%.

The B&Q and Screwfix operator is already reaping the benefits of its far-reaching sustainability strategy, with today’s inaugural Net Positive Report revealing a drop in absolute carbon emissions by 5% since 2010/11 – a period of business growth. (Scroll down for Net Positive Report).

“It is early days for Net Positive, but this report shows that exciting progress is already happening,” said Kingfisher’s group chief executive Ian Cheshire. “We have launched new projects that will see us improve woodlands and forests, benefiting communities and biodiversity while creating new sources of sustainable timber for our business.

“We’ve started to review our product ranges and identified some closed-loop potential that we can build on to start designing out waste, working with our partners like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Our community projects are improving practical skills and connecting people within communities to help each other.”

The Net Positive Report, which charts the companies sustainability progress in from February 2012 to January 2013, reveals that 13,000 hectares of forest benefited from projects to restore forests and woodlands during that period, with 87% of timber used in products now responsibly sourced – B&Q UK has reached 100%. 

Net Positive: Key highlights 

  • Kingfisher customers saved an estimated £450m off their energy bills through sales of energy-efficient products and services. 
  • Kingfisher’s ‘closed-loop calculator’ was created for use in product development and new products launched with closed-loop credentials. 
  • 21% of sales revenue came from sales of eco-products (those with a lower environmental impact). 
  • A number of successful NGO partnerships such as B&Q UK’s collaboration with Friends of the Earth to address the issue of bee decline. 
  • Kingfisher became the first major company in the UK general retail sector to join the UN Global Compact.

Kingfisher launched Net positive in October 2012with an ambition to drive greater sustainability around timber, energy, innovation and communities. 

Looking forward, Cheshire admitted the transformation to a fully ‘Net Positive’ business will be an on-going process. 

“We don’t have all the answers for how we’ll reach our goals,” he said. “We need to find different approaches and business models, and to collaborate both internally and externally.

“By asking ourselves ‘How can we have a Net Positive impact?’ we will find new answers and ideas that will change our business for the better.

“Net Positive is a long journey for Kingfisher and for each of us that works here. I believe it is the only way to do business in the future and truly deliver better homes and better lives.”

VIDEO: Kingfisher’s closed-loop vision

Kingfisher, which has over 1,120 stores in nine countries, wants to contribute positively to some of the big challenges facing the world while creating a more valuable and sustainable business for its stakeholders. 

This month, WWF’s former head of business and industry Dax Lovegrove has joined Kingfisher’s Net Positive team, as the new director of sustainability and innovation.

Kingfisher Net Positive: Full report

Luke Nicholls

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