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UK retailers get stuck-in with carbon reduction

UK home-improvement retail giant, Kingfisher has committed under the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reducing Scope 1 (direct) and 2 (power-related) emissions by 38% in absolute terms by 2025 compared to a 2016 baseline and reducing Scope 3 (indirect) emissions from the use of sold products and purchased goods and services by 40% per £million turnover by 2025, from a 2017 base year. The target boundary includes biogenic emissions and removals from bioenergy feedstocks.

The targets have been approved by the SBTi as aligned to the 1.5C target of the Paris Agreement. Kingfisher’s chief executive Thierry Garnier said: “Through the great work of all our teams, we met our previous science-based carbon reduction targets well ahead of schedule.

“We felt it was critical for us to take additional commitments by 2025 and have now committed to make the additional investments needed to meet these ambitious new targets. We are proud to join the small number of retailers who have set approved science-based targets in line with a 1.5C scenario.”

Kingfisher has achieved a 27% reduction in absolute carbon emissions since 2016, with emissions from its energy-using products falling by 1.7 million tonnes. An 18% reduction in Scope 3 emissions has also been delivered.

Kingfisher is also a founding member of the UN’s Race to Zero Breakthroughs for the retail sector. The Breakthroughs outline how 20 sectors that make up the global economy, including finance, water, aviation and clean energy, can act on near-term tipping points to move towards net-zero emissions.

The company recently signed for a £550m revolving credit facility agreement (RCF) with interest rates linked to environmental and community targets. Under the terms of the new credit facility agreement, which has a duration of three years with the possibility of two one-year extensions, Kingfisher will benefit from a lower interest rate if it delivers specific targets which are aligned with the Group’s Responsible Business plan.

Kingfisher’s Responsible Business commitments, which are linked to the credit facility’s targets, include its carbon emissions targets and:

Create more forests than we use:

  1. To become forest positive by FY 2025/26 by creating more forests than it uses.

  2. The credit facility target to reach 100% sustainable wood and paper for its products by FY 2025/26, covering all retail banners across the Group (the current level for Kingfisher is 80.7%).

Fight to fix bad housing:

  1. To help more than 2 million people whose housing needs are greatest in UK communities by FY 2025/26. This is double their previous commitment.

  2. So far, over 790,000 people have benefited from their donations since FY 2016/17.

Kingfisher also made headlines last year with a commitment to create more forests than it uses by 2025. Kingfisher is working with the Rainforest Alliance to deliver this goal.

Rainforest Alliance partners with farmers and forest communities in many of the world’s most important tropical landscapes—working together to promote land management practices that protect nature while boosting rural livelihoods. It works with companies, big and small, to advance responsible business practices across global supply chains. At the same time, it works with governments and civil society organizations—at both the local and international level—to drive sustainability transformation through strengthened policies. It also seeks to mobilize millions of individuals to harness their collective power as consumers and make better choices for people and nature.

DS Smith

In related news, packaging firm DS Smith has also unveiled new science-based targets, which will act as interim steps towards a net-zero goal set for 2050.

Having reduced carbon emissions per tonne of product by 23% against a 2015 baseline, the company is now aiming to achieve a 40% reduction by 2030, compared to 2019 levels.

The target will be submitted to the SBTi for validation, and DS Smith is also signing up to the Race to Zero initiative.

DS Smith’s group chief executive Miles Roberts said: “It is widely recognised that heavy manufacturing is one of the most challenging sectors to decarbonise, but we are committed to playing our part by taking action to net-zero with a clear plan and roadmap.

“We’ve already made good progress in reducing our carbon as part of our long-term sustainability focus, but we know we need to do much more. That’s why, today, we are not only setting ambitious climate targets for ourselves but strengthening our commitment to delivering more circular solutions for our customers and wider society. I am incredibly proud of all of our people for making this happen.”

Australia’s leading home improvement chain Bunnings has targets to reduce scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions per store by cost saving renewable and energy efficiency options. However, there is no mention of any scope 3 emissions reductions that would represent more than 80% of total emissions.

Grant – International Climate Change Engagement Program

The Australian Government has announced the International Climate Change Engagement Program that will run over four years from 2020-21 to 2023-24.

The objective of the program is:

To advance Australia’s interests on international climate change action

The intended outcome of the program is:

To advance Australia’s priorities in implementing the Paris Agreement

Program priorities are:

To assist developing countries in the Indo-Pacific to meet their Paris commitments through the development and implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Support Australia’s negotiating priorities under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), including transparency of countries’ commitments, carbon markets and provision of support.

Strengthen bilateral relationships with key partners in the Indo-Pacific through practical climate engagement and initiatives, particularly for trade and investment opportunities.

Achieve regional cooperation on cleaner, more efficient energy generation and use.

Leverage private sector investment in climate action.

Other projects that may advance Australia’s interests not covered in the above list (as determined by the Assessment Committee)

For more information please go to:

The editor wonders whether the Australian Government has the moral right to launch such a program, given the nation does not even have a carbon emission target.

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