The Ethical Consumer Research Association has criticised garden centre groups for their sourcing of wood furniture, but praised others for improving their environmental credentials.
Notcutts came out top in the analysis of areas such as environmental reporting, supply chain policy and product sustainability. Dobbies fared worst, mainly because of its parent Tesco's poor scoring.
Dobbies responded by saying all its garden furniture was made using wood from Forest Stewardship Council-accredited sources and it "is committed to purchasing timber products only from legal, sustainable sources".
The retailer added that it was "committed to the principle of phasing out all potentially illegal sources of wood and will never knowingly purchase products using timber from illegal sources for our own-brand products or products supplied from third parties." Nor will it source any timber species that is prohibited under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, it maintained.
'ETHISCORE' OUT OF 20
Country Gardens 10
Garden Centre Group 10
Garden & Leisure 9.5
Capital Gardens 8
Blue Diamond 7
Focus DIY 1.5
COMPANIES URGED TO IMPROVE ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD WHERE THEY CAN
KATY BROWN, RESEARCHER, ETHICAL CONSUMER RESEARCH ASSOCIATION
"A lot of background ownership problems still exist. For example, we found out that Cerberus, which owns Focus, owns a security company criticised for its behaviour in Afghanistan among other places. But this is no reason for companies to give up hope and they can still strive to improve where they are able - I make the point in the report that Dobbies is ahead of parent Tesco and we like to highlight where companies are doing well, regardless of the ownership. I was pleased to see the progress that some companies had made. Notcutts stood out and received our best buy."
RICHARD JARDINE, SUSTAINABILITY MANAGER, DOBBIES
"Dobbies believes that excellent sustainable practice is an integral part of the running of a leading retail brand. We are working on areas including reducing our environmental impact, expanding our eco-product ranges, buying and selling our products responsibly, supporting local communities and encouraging customers to follow our examples. The analysis focuses on one area of Dobbies' sustainability commitment - the sourcing of wood for garden furniture. We have clear guidelines on sourcing. We work with our suppliers to support initiatives designed to promote responsible forest management and increase the availability of certified wood sources. We support the use of recycled wood and waste wood. We offer our customers choice by labelling products that are made from wood from certified sources in line with the UK Governmental Green Claims Code."