In 2007, the company committed to becoming a ‘One Planet Business’ by 2023; by cutting its absolute direct carbon footprint by 90% and helping customers cut their eco footprint by 10%.

Since then, B&Q has slashed its carbon footprint by a third whilst increasing the size of its estate. It has also improved waste management rates from a poor 29% recycling to an industry-leading 80%, with a landfill-diversion rate of 97%.

This process of operational transformation has allowed B&Q to understand its waste streams – in particular, the significant but difficult-to-manage resource of timber. With limited recycling opportunities for treated wood, the retailer realised that prevention had to be the focus.

Having already maximised the use of standard, re-usable transit media, B&Q insisted that suppliers take back their transit wood packaging for re-use where possible. But this still left the company with a big problem: the diverse shape and size of the products it sells, and the global nature of the materials it sources, meant that suitable re-usable transit packaging just didn’t exist.

But that initial barrier presented an opportunity for B&Q: the firm created an entire supply chain to make it happen – and thus, the Green Pallet Scheme was born.

Working in collaboration with Europe’s largest pallet producer, the Scott Group, B&Q developed the new scheme which provides suppliers – whose only option previously was single-use, white pallets – with returnable pallets in bespoke sizes; made only of responsibly sourced timber.

To date, four suppliers have joined the Green Pallet Scheme; covering 10 product types and three countries, resulting in 100,000 sustainably sourced pallets being repatriated and at least 5,000 fewer tonnes of virgin wood used in a matter of months.  Transport miles are also down across the entire supply chain, due to the need for fewer trips from forest to pallet producer.

This scheme’s scalability is enormous. Whilst primarily a logistics project, further opportunities are being sought across various types of transit media to ensure that B&Q minimises its wood waste; is confident of the sustainability of its source, and delivers against its overarching sustainability goals.

B&Q aims to extend the Green Pallet Scheme to more vendors and expect to reduce its timber waste by 50%. Moreover, the Scheme is to be rolled out across the portfolio of Kingfisher, which has DIY stores across Europe.

Ultimately, this is a sustainability initiative that delivers against all three core pillars – it is better for the environment; better financially, and better for people. With its Green Pallet Scheme, B&Q has taken a giant leap closer to becoming a One Planet Business.

Judges’ comments

The delivery and success of B&Q’s Green Pallet Scheme is second-to-none. The company is proving that business growth and sustainability can go hand-in-hand, and the scalability of this particular project makes it a potential industry game-changer.

Onsite Waste & Resource Management: Meet the finalists

Mitie Waste and Environmental

Mitie Waste and Environmental has worked collaboratively with Sellafield to introduce standardised recycling units across the facilities management buildings at a nuclear fuel reprocessing site in Cumbria. Since the recycling units were introduced in 2012, more than 1,178 tonnes of office-based recyclable material has been captured in these bins and recovered on-site and effectively turned into a resource for onward recovery and sale

Transport for London and Ferrovial Laing O’Rourke

Transport for London’s (TfL) new Resource Efficiency Plan, delivered in partnership with construction firm Ferrovial Laing O’Rourke, puts TfL’s responsible resource use vision into practice on the Northern Line Extension (NLE). After working with the Environment Agency to agree an Environmental Permit – a feat which, in itself, challenged the culture in the construction industry – TfL enabled a million tonnes of excavated material from all four NLE to be transported by barge to create arable farmland from a historic landfill.

Whittlebury Hall and Spa

Whittlebury Hall Conference, Training Centre, Hotel and Spa in Northamptonshire has undertaken a project to capture all organic waste produced at its site and manage it in a way that will have the least negative environmental impact. The new ‘WasteMaster’ product, delivered by Forum Enviro UK, is designed to eliminate food waste on site without producing harmful emissions. A prototype unit was initially installed in October 2015 which degraded and eliminated three tonnes of waste within a five-week period. 


Technical services provider AECOM founded the Major Infrastructure–Resources Optimisation Group (MI-ROG) in late 2013 as a forum for the UK’s infrastructure operators to collaborate across the themes of industrial symbiosis, resource efficiency and the circular economy. The forum has continued to grow in presence and now represents a real change in the way major infrastructure operators are approaching resource constraints and circular economy opportunities, and driving those approaches through supply chains.

edie staff

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