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Time to rise to the challenge of Net Zero

A viewpoint from Will Jones, Chief Operating Officer of BHETA – the leading UK Trade Association for manufacturers, importers, and distributors who operate in the home improvement and garden sectors.

Most operators in the DIY market will have heard the term ‘Net Zero’, sometimes referred to as the carbon challenge, and will probably know that it means no longer adding to the total amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Frequently discussed in the media, in Government circles and at climate-related events all over the world, it is recognised as an imperative for all economies, businesses, and consumers, with decarbonisation being the defining challenge for our age. The science shows that to keep global warming to 1.5ºC and avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the world must reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Notwithstanding the principles however, over recent years too many UK businesses in our sector – and equally in specification and building products – have tended to react in one of three ways. On the one hand, try to ‘do their bit’ or at least be seen to be; on the other, hang back until such time as legislation forces the issue; or thirdly, be somewhere in the middle not quite knowing what to do. It is high time that this ‘ducking the issue’ approach changed radically. In fact, it is vital for the sector – and not just because of impending legislation. For ultimately this is what consumers and end users want – even those who are currently distracted from all things green by the cost-of-living crisis. Retailers know it and retailers are in practice now the biggest drivers of change in this area – meaning that successful suppliers will have to comply, legislation or not.

What is the legislation?

Of course, the legislation is itself no small matter. BHETA has been advising members for some time now on the implications of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), which will see many more organisations having to provide detailed reporting on sustainability issues – and not just big players, most SMEs too. It’s only going to become
more stringent, so taking advice now is crucial.

The retail imperative – carbon reporting Scope 3

While legislation is not to be underestimated, my real reason for urging the industry to get ahead on Net Zero is actually about sales – and investment. “In the past 12 months there has been an increase in the proportion of consumers saying they have adopted a more sustainable lifestyle across 11 of the 23 sustainable behaviours we track.” So says Deloitte, Sustainable consumer behaviour and lifestyle 2023 | Deloitte UK and while some consumers have been forced to compromise their preferred choices because of rising prices, retailers have very much taken note.

Retail contributes circa 215 MtCO2e (million tonnes CO2-equivalent) per year and over eighty large retailers have announced plans to target a ‘net zero’ position, including milestone plans for reductions in the next decade or by 2040 in line with the BRC’s Climate Action Roadmap. The measurement includes so-called Scope 3 carbon emissions defined as ‘indirect emissions from the upstream and downstream activities of a company’s value chain, including the carbon emissions of products being manufactured, during transport, and in use.’ In other words, the burden falls on the supplier, with inaction likely to lead to de-listing. Public statements like those from B&Q, Screwfix, Travis Perkins including Toolstation, and Wickes, it is not only sales that are at stake, but investor confidence also.

The big DIY retailers – what are they saying?

  • B&Q and Screwfix, as part of Kingfisher plc: “We’ve committed to reach net zero in our operations (scope 1 and 2) by the end of 2040 and will …reduce scope 3 emissions from the supply chain and customer use of products by 40% per £million of turnover by 2025/26”. Read more here.

 

  • Travis Perkins plc: “Scope 3 emissions … represent 99% of the Group’s carbon footprint” and it aims to “reduce total scope 3 emissions by 63% … before 2035.” Read more here.

 

  • Wickes aims to be “a Net Zero Business by 2040 across all three emissions scopes”, and “aims to reduce scope 3 emissions from the use of sold products 42% by 2030.” Read more here.

 

Look for examples of good practice

To date, I am seeing suppliers responding with varying amounts of urgency. Getting this right while maintaining commercial success is not always easy and BHETA has a lot of advice to offer. We are also keen to promote examples of suppliers taking the Net Zero challenge and making great progress, which is why I am including a case study from BHETA member, Triton Showers.

Whatever your commercial situation, I urge everyone to deal with this now. BHETA can help across the piece and its business service providers can consult specifically on the best way forward. For more information and access to detailed advice, contact the BHETA Member Services team in the first instance. Phone 0121 237 1130 or visit the BHETA website www.bheta.co.uk.

Triton Showers on its Net Zero mission

Triton products have been a familiar fixture in millions of bathrooms across the UK since 1975. Triton has been manufacturing in Britain for over 48 years and has been a member of the Made in Britain scheme since 2014.

CLICK HERE FOR TRITON WEBSITE

Managing Director, Dave Tutton says: “We want to be the most sustainable shower brand in the UK. Our purpose is to inspire consumers to shower sustainably, and we believe in taking a leadership role in the shower category and to drive wider behavioural change over time. Our long-term commitment is a “Net-Zero by 2035” target’. The plan is to reduce Scope 1, 2, and 3 UK emissions, then participate in tree planting and renewable energy programs to offset our residual carbon.

The first step was to measure the carbon impact and cradle-to-grave emissions from our business activity and the use of our products. Supported by the Carbon Trust, this work has formed the basis for our “Net-Zero by 2035” target. In 2021, we were proud to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard. 2022 also saw us achieve Carbon Neutral certification, accredited with the Carbon Trust.

In 2023 we have been continuing our commitment and progress by achieving carbon neutral certification again, accredited by Planet Mark. Current and next steps are:

  • 100% REGO-certified renewable electricity for the site.
  • Installation of a new HVAC system, reducing Scope 1 gas emissions.
  • Accelerated EV (Electric Vehicles) rollout to the service fleet, reducing Scope 1 fuel emissions.
  • Reduced airfreight for component supply to reduce Scope 3, Category 4 emissions.
  • Continuation of a zero-to-landfill business (since 2015).
  • Rollout of 100% recycled plastic bags in our consumer-facing products.
  • Investment in climate projects, purchasing 430 tonnes worth of C02 offsets covering residual FY22-23 footprint.
  • Development of showering innovation to achieve higher standards of efficiency and water consumption.
  • Introduction of circular principles – including re-use of returned products and materials, re-use of incoming supply chain packaging, and ‘design for recycling’.

 


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