Screwfix halves direct carbon emissions in net zero drive

Screwfix halves direct carbon emissions in net zero drive

Trade retailer, Screwfix, has announced that it has reduced its direct carbon emissions (scope 1 and 2) by 50% since 2021/22, despite growing from 790 stores to more than 900 stores.

In 2021, Screwfix’s direct carbon emissions measured more than 23,000 tonnes. In 2022, this figure dropped to 18,900 tonnes, and by the end of 2023 it had decreased to less than 11,000 tonnes.

The fall in direct carbon is driven by a move away from fossil fuel heating to air source heat pumps (which use cleaner electricity) in over 639 stores, with more added every month, and a transition to HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) in delivery vehicles across 85% of the fleet. Made from 100% waste materials, HVO is an alternative fuel that uses renewable feedstocks and food wastes, including cooking oil. HVO diesel not only helps Screwfix to minimise carbon emissions, but it also reduces the impact transport has on air quality.

The retailer is committed to replacing fossil fuel heating in all stores and transitioning the remainder of the delivery fleet to HVO, to halve its Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions again within the next two years. Screwfix is also now working to measure and reduce indirect and product related (scope 3) emissions, as it works towards net zero carbon.

Screwfix’s ambitious sustainability strategy, ‘Let’s Fix Tomorrow, Today’, launched in 2021, with the trade retailer pledging to eliminate carbon emissions, reduce and recycle waste, source responsibly, keep products in use for longer, sell sustainable products and provide sustainable packaging.

Screwfix continually gathers insight from customers about how important sustainability is to them and ensures that this insight shapes the strategy and its six main pillars. The retailer has achieved many milestones across each pillar of the strategy so far.

Sales of refurbished products reached £2 million last year and Screwfix is planning to double its refurb operation this year, investing a further £1 million into its distribution centre at Stafford. This will enable the refurbishment of water-based products (pressure washers, showers and taps) and high value non-electrical products.

In 2023, Screwfix labelled more than 1,500 products with its Green Star, highlighting options with a lower environmental impact and making it easier for customers to shop sustainably. The number of Green Star products will double to more than 3,000 by Summer 2024, the retailer says.

83% of waste was recycled last year, with 17% incinerated – with the heat generated captured to create electricity. Since 2018, over 99.5% of waste has been diverted from landfill. The retailer is launching waste reporting and a paper printing dashboard to support store colleagues with tracking and avoiding unnecessary printing where possible.

Screwfix has supported suppliers in transitioning to sustainably sourced and recycled packaging, and has transitioned its own brands – Site, Swirl, Turbo and LAP – into easily recyclable packaging. As of 2023, one of the retailer’s highest volume products, No Nonsense sealants, are now in tubes made from over 30% recycled plastic.

The retailer’s sustainability strategy is driven by its colleagues. In 2022, Screwfix launched an engagement campaign called Make A Switch, inviting colleagues to share sustainable switches they’d made and suggestions they had for the business. A year later, over 3,700 colleagues came together across the business for The Big Switch, to raise awareness and save carbon.

In April 2024, Screwfix celebrated its first SustainFest with its colleagues, with activities, supplier visits and talks at its Yeovil Head Office and across its 900 stores.

Matt Compton, Screwfix Commercial Director, comments, “Our colleagues tell us that working for a responsible retailer is really important to them and we have achieved some phenomenal milestones that we’re really proud of. We know there is much more to do and we’re committed to going even further to reduce our impact on the environment and make it even easier for our customers to shop more sustainably.”

Screwfix has also been recognised for its sustainability achievements by the British Retail Consortium, receiving awards for its HVO project in 2023 and Air Source Heat Pump programme in 2022.

For more from Screwfix, click here.

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