Greenest Garden Centre

Winner: B&Q

More than 98,000 tonnes of carbon has been saved at B&Q through the company's One Planet Home programme, demonstrating its commitment to sustainability.

B&Q has taken decisions including only stocking sustainably sourced timber, promoting peat-free gardening and discontinuing patio heaters.

The retailer knows the source of the timber in its garden-based products and across all 40,000 product lines, and assures customers through its certified chain of custody at every store that every product containing timber and paper has been responsibly sourced.

In 2007 it became a One Planet business, helping three-million customers every week to create affordable, desirable sustainable homes and gardens. Its gardening department has consistently risen to the challenge of offering affordable and more sustainable products and has consulted with non-Government organisations to deliver a slew of market-leading improvements.

B&Q has cut its overall absolute carbon footprint by 31 per cent since 2006. It is down 100,000 tonnes per year, which is equivalent to taking 29,000 cars off the road.

In 2014 the company opened the first retail unit in the UK with a transpired solar collector - in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales.

The firm's total waste generation has been reduced by 26 per cent since the start of the programme and the company now segregates waste into 29 different streams, recycles 77 per cent and diverts 96 per cent of it away from landfill - a remarkable change from the company's 29 per cent recycling baseline.

B&Q has consistently supported its customers with advice and equipment to help compost garden waste. It also stocks a wide range of products from water butts to decking made from recycled material.

The company started charging for plastic bags in England ahead of legislation, resulting in £80,000 so far being donated to the BBC's Children in Need charity.

B&Q's logistics footprint is 33 per cent lower than in 2006. Its transformation of traditional pack bedding to "easyGrow" has saved the company £460,000 in distribution costs by cutting pack size. The stackable trays also meant that suppliers save because they can get exponentially more trays on a delivery.

The company assesses the sustainability performance of its ranges each year and challenges its teams to deliver improvements. Eco products now represent 35 per cent of sales.

Customers reported that they were fed up with non-recyclable expanded polystyrene plant trays filling up their bins, so the firm took the opportunity to innovate and created a new packaging solution - the recycled easyGrow tray, designed to be reused as a seed tray. This single change, applied across 10 million bedding plant packs a year, prevented 22,000cu m of expanded polystyrene (enough to fill nine Olympic swimming pools) ending up in landfill.

B&Q's garden centres are a major source of water use, so by achieving sustainable water use, which involves using water wisely and detecting leaks quickly, the company is now able to train staff on effective watering every year. It also has a programme to roll out smart water meters across all its stores.

Award sponsor

Neudorff's range of organic weed, feed and control products uses natural active ingredients that have as little impact on the environment as possible, helping to protect birds, bees, worms and other beneficial garden visitors while tackling unwelcome pests, fighting weeds and fertilising plants and vegetables.

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