Kingfisher makes £50m renewables investment to reduce grid energy consumption
International home improvement firm Kingfisher, whose brands include B&Q and Screwfix, has unveiled an ambitious new £50m investment into renewable energy.
The investment forms part of a plan to reduce Kingfisher's energy consumption from the grid by 10% in the next two years. It will see the roll-out of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels across selected stores in the UK and France, with further plans to be implemented across the 10 countries where Kingfisher operates.
Kingfisher sustainability director Richard Gillies said: “We hope our renewables investment helps demonstrate to the world’s leaders discussing the climate deal this week that leading businesses want a sustainable future, and to see the right deal in Paris.
“This renewables investment is part of our Net Positive journey to transform our business to be a force for good. There’s plenty more we can do but business needs stability and certainty to make these types of long-term investment decisions. That’s why we need leadership in Paris – it’s the key to enabling the consistent national policies and incentives business needs to invest.”
Future renewables will also include air-source heat pumps, combined heat and power boilers and new fuel cell generation. These renewables follow on from the success of the PV installation at the Screwfix head office in Yeovil, which has seen more than a third of the centre's power generated through solar.
This announcement follows on from the Net Positive movement in 2012, which Kingfisher led. The movement urges companies to redesign how they operate in order to have a positive impact on the world. Highlights from the 2015 Net Positive Report include reaching 92% responsibly sourced timber and paper products last year, 2% ahead of Kingfisher’s 2016 target and well on-track to hit the 100% target by 2020.
Kingfisher has aspirations for every store and customer home to be at least zero-carbon by 2050 and has already reduced property portfolio energy intensity by 17% - a milestone reached one year ahead of schedule.
In an exclusive interview with edie last month, Gillies revealed a desire for Kingfisher to move towards a sharing economy-based business model and provide its customers with the skills they need to deliver home improvements themselves. Gillies cited a ‘how-to’ video on B&Q’s website which has received almost a million views.
Gillies also revealed his main hopes and expectations for the Paris climate talks, as part of a wider feature incorporating the views of 21 sustainability leaders on COP21.
Kingfisher continues to make great strides with its sustainability pledges, but other retailers have been busy laying out their own credentials. A host of high-profile companies, including NIKE and Procter & Gamble, are the latest to join RE100 - an initiative whose members are committed to sourcing 100% renewable energy.