Protecting the planet is even more important today than it was in 1976, when we first published our five core values. We're committed to reducing our impact on the environment by reducing the energy we consume and generating less waste. We take full responsibility for the way we run our business. We're using our global network to help change attitudes around the world. And we're building on positive efforts already being made by our suppliers, franchisees, colleagues and customers.
What we're doing
Measuring our performance against 2010, we've committed to clear targets for 2020 to reduce the direct impact of our operations in stores, offices and distribution centres. We aim to:
- Reduce our CO2 emissions from these activities by 50 per cent, including emissions from electricity, gas and diesel consumption, transporting product from distribution centres to stores, and business travel.
- Reduce our electricity consumption for these activities by 50 per cent. We're targeting electricity because it's a key contributor to CO2 emissions.
- Reduce our waste from these activities by 50 per cent. We want to reduce all the waste created by our stores, offices and distribution centres. And we mean all the waste we create ?everything. But we're also counting on you to help by recycling our product packaging.
- Reduce our domestic water consumption by 25 per cent. Water is an increasingly scarce resource and we want to make sure we don't waste it.
In 2010, total CO2 emissions from our operations in stores, offices and distribution centres was 45,600 tonnes. Most of this came from electricity consumption, so reducing it is a priority.
Wherever we can, we buy from companies that generate electricity from renewable or low-carbon sources such as hydro and wind. All UK stores (and a significant proportion of European stores) are now supplied with electricity from cleaner, low-carbon sources.
We're removing low-efficiency lighting in stores and replacing it with LED lighting which uses much less electricity and lasts longer. Trials in stores have shown that we can save up to 25 per cent either by using new technologies, or simply using less lighting.
In some stores we're piloting energy-management systems to automatically control equipment such as heating and air conditioning. In other stores we have Automatic Meter Readers (AMRs) which track energy usage. The data from AMRs shows exactly how our employees can reduce consumption through direct action. Our best-performing stores have saved as much as 10 per cent on previous bills.
We're constantly looking to replace worn-out equipment with the latest technology. For example, we recently installed chargers for our forklift trucks which have reduced their electricity consumption by over 20 per cent.
At our Littlehampton HQ, we've installed a large roof-mounted solar PV system. It's so big that it provides almost 25 per cent of the site's electricity needs. We also have plans for a new wind turbine in Littlehampton and solar panels at our US HQ.
Freight movements contribute to our CO2 emissions, so increasingly we're manufacturing our products locally. We have moved a sizable amount of production to Asia, and we're also planning to open a distribution centre there. Both initiatives will help to reduce the distance our products need to travel to reach customers in that part of the world.
Last but not least, we reduce the emissions from business travel by encouraging video-conferencing, and by choosing company cars with low emission levels. The average for our whole fleet is now less than 130g CO2/km.
We're constantly seeking to minimise the amount of packaging we use to transport our products to stores. In 2010 we eliminated six per cent of transport packaging through careful review and engineering. We're also increasing the amount of recyclate we use in product and transport packaging.
We're looking into how we can better dispose of reject products by splitting them back into their component parts ?composting the contents and recycling the packaging. When complete, this will eliminate the need to land-fill rejected stock. In our HQ in Littlehampton we no longer send any office waste to landfill ?it's all sent for recycling.
We also recognise that some products can affect the environment long after we wash them down the plug hole. That’s why we made a pledge to replace microbeads in all of our products with natural exfoliators. As of 2015, all of the materials in The Body Shop scrubs that replace the polyethylene microbeads are either natural or naturally derived and biodegradable.
Most of the water we use is for domestic purposes, so we minimise use through low-flush toilets, metering and other devices.
We've also formulated products that have minimal impact on the aquatic environment, like our Earth Lovers?range.
We're creating wildlife areas at all our corporate sites. We have allotments, beehives, meadows and butterfly-friendly areas at our Littlehampton HQ. We have fruit trees in our Wake Forest HQ in the US. We believe we can lead the way in improving biodiversity on corporate sites.