The Group has continued its efforts to improve the environmental performance of its operations.
Our focus continues to be on the key areas of energy efficiency, waste reduction and reducing the impacts of our vehicle and transport operations. We have an Energy Management Policy in place to support the reduction of the Group’s energy use where practical and consistent with the operational needs of the business.
Electricity use is a key component of the Group’s CO2 emissions. Significant reductions in electricity usage have been achieved and we continue to roll out low energy lighting schemes across our showrooms and our offices. Additionally, we use automated meters to monitor and investigate usage of both gas and electricity.
The growth in the Group has increased the number of customer deliveries being made. In addition to investing in telemetry systems for our distribution fleet, within DFS we also launched a #Drivewise Workplace initiative during the year which promotes techniques for safer and more fuel-efficient driving. All our drivers receive regular feedback via the telemetry system and use Workplace to share tips and knowledge.
The CO2 performance of our company car fleet has been maintained at 100g/km (FY18: 100g/km) which is 18% below the UK national average for new registrations. We encourage the use of electric or hybrid cars providing charging points at some sites across the UK. 15% of our company car fleet are electric or hybrid.
We are continually looking at ways we can improve our CO2 performance and now provide DFS customers with the opportunity to select “eco” delivery slots. Our route planning software then optimises the routing of our vehicles to minimise emissions.
This section includes our mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions pursuant to the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) regulations 2013. Emissions reported correspond with our financial year. We have included emissions from both our owned and leased assets for which we are responsible. In order to express our annual emissions in relation to a quantifiable factor associated with our activities, we have used Tonnes CO2 per employee as this is a relevant indication of growth.
DFS is committed to responsible sourcing, and our long-term aim is to ensure the timber and timber products in our furniture originate from well managed forests and recycled sources certified to credible certification standards, especially FSC® and PEFC certification. We are engaging actively with our suppliers to implement a robust verification programme for timber and timber products sourcing – to trace the timber and timber products used and bought to ensure legality and sustainability.
We comply with European Timber Regulation No 9952010, and whilst we are not an operator placing timber or timber products on the internal market for the first time, as a trader we require all our timber suppliers to certify that the timber used in our products or supplied to us, is compliant with the regulations. We keep records of all timber supplied to DFS and timber products from our suppliers for a minimum of five years.
We will not accept in our furniture:
During the year both DFS and Sofa Workshop were awarded “2 trees” by the World Wildlife Fund as part of their Timber Scorecard 2019, moving from 1 tree in the 2017 report and showing our improvement in timber and timber product sourcing. The report can be found at their website https://www.wwf.org.uk/timberscorecard.
After delivering our product to our customer we remove and return to our Customer Distribution Centres, all the packaging. Our distribution centres are all equipped with balers to facilitate the recycling of both cardboard and polythene used in the packaging materials to enable us to ensure we recycle as much of our packaging as is possible. During the year, we have continued to improve the amount we recycle and whilst we continue to look at ways to improve our recycling, we have increased our focus on how to reduce our need for packaging materials, whilst still ensuring we can deliver our products to customers in pristine condition.
One problem our customers can face is how to dispose of their old sofa, whilst we work with the British Heart Foundation to ensure as many sofas as possible are reused, this isn’t always appropriate. We are therefore currently trialling a new Sofa recycling scheme for our customers.
Business ethics is an essential part of working for our Group; the culture and ethos of all our brands is based around doing the right thing for our People, our Customers and our Suppliers as well as the Communities we live and work in.
We have an anti-bribery and corruption policy and all employees dealing with third parties are expected to undergo training in this area. Our Anti-Bribery and Corruption policy makes clear our approach on the processes for the giving and accepting of gifts and hospitality from third parties. Our contracts with suppliers contain anti-bribery clauses. A copy of our policy is available on our corporate website.
We also have a clear Whistleblowing policy supported by an external, confidential reporting hotline which enables employees to report concerns in confidence.