Horticulture Week Business Award - Sustainable Business of the Year

Winner - A good home for everyone, B&Q

Image: B&Q
Image: B&Q

The 10th year of B&Q’s sustainability programme in 2017 saw a step change in its sustainability delivery. The company focused on reducing its own footprint, increasing community work and engaging its customers.

In April 2017, B&Q decided to end the use of all neonicotinoid-based insecticides in the cultivation of all its flowering plants. Coverage generated a reach of more than 10.9 million. By November 2017 the top 10 leading garden centres had all made similar commitments.

The launch was held at a pop-up garden in Soho Square, central London. Subsequent online support, ranging from "how to" videos to a live question-and-answer session, all received very positive feedback. Overall, B&Q achieved an online reach of almost three million and 7,300 reactions, while sales of sustainable products grew.

The Nature of Gardens report was the cornerstone of customer sustainability engagement work in 2017. In September 2016, more than 50 organisations collectively published The State of Nature 2016. The report proves that the potential of gardens is under-represented in the narrative about the state of nature.

People see space, time, money and knowledge as barriers to doing more. They believe we all benefit from connecting with nature. B&Q has promoted tips to help garden wildlife, including activities such as wildlife surveys and creating a bird café.

To cut its direct environmental footprint, B&Q has invested in technology, reviewed its energy buying and involved everyone in an efficiency drive, cutting its overall footprint by 54%.

A new strategic partnership has been formed with the national housing and homelessness charity Shelter, giving £400,000 so far through company donations and national fundraising weekends.

B&Q also saw 3,373 children take part in wildlife workshops in its stores. During 2017, the group increased sales of sustainable products to 40% of all sales, with propositions such as 100% responsibly sourced timber, peat-free in all easyGrow bedding plants, price parity on peat-free composts, recyclable packaging on easyGrow ­bedding plants, a wide range of pollinator-friendly plants, an extensive range of wild flower seeds, water saving solutions and helpful advice available online as well as in-store.

B&Q introduced its timber policy back in 1991 and has overall aims to cut the environmental impact of its own operation as well as to help customers and colleagues create sustainable homes and gardens.

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