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Corporate Social Responsibility Report

The Group recognises that it has social and environmental responsibilities arising from its operations and is committed to responsible business practices. These improve the welfare of colleagues and the communities in which we operate, and reduce our impact on the environment.


It is the Group’s policy to involve colleagues in the business and to ensure that matters of concern to them, including the Group’s aims and objectives and its financial performance, are communicated regularly in an open manner and, where appropriate, colleagues’ views are taken into account. This is achieved through the use of business briefings and other less formal communication.

The Directors encourage colleagues to become shareholders in order to promote active participation in, and commitment to, the Group’s success. This policy has been extended to all colleagues through the provision of a SAYE share scheme.

As at 24 March 2017, the following number of colleagues were contributing monthly to the following schemes:

  • 2,959 colleagues – 2016 SAYE scheme;
  • 2,847 colleagues – 2015 SAYE scheme; and
  • 2,319 colleagues – 2014 SAYE scheme.

Booker is an inclusive organisation where no-one receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, nationality, marital status, colour, race, ethnic origin, creed, sexual orientation or disability. The promotion of equal opportunities for all employees is regarded as an important Group priority.

An analysis of Directors, senior managers and other employees by gender as at 24 March 2017 is as follows:-

  Male Number Female Number
Directors 6 2
Senior managers 56 6
Other employees 9,519 3,851

The Group has a balanced workforce in terms of experience, with an average age of 41.1 (2016: 40.6).


The Group believes that good community relations are important to the long term development and sustainability of the operating businesses. The Group aims to build sustainable relationships with its customers, who are mainly independent businesses at the heart of their communities, by improving the choice, price and service of products and services supplied.

We are proud to assist our retailers in supporting their local communities with sponsorship of local football and rugby teams, fun days with free stock and raffle prizes, school healthy breakfast campaigns and work with the local university.

Each business centre, distribution centre and support centre has a nominated local charity. For the year ended 24 March 2017, colleagues raised £68,594 for these charities.

The Group also donates surplus food to local homeless charities from Booker business centres and distribution centres. During the year, the equivalent of over 800,000 meals were donated to charities across the UK, up 46% on last year, with an additional 14 tonnes of food donated to animal charities. In the last five years we have donated over two million meals to local charities.

Human Rights

The Group is committed to the upholding and respect of human rights. We expect our suppliers to operate in a fair and honest way towards their employees and those with whom they do business.


Resource Efficiency

Booker recognises its obligation to consider carefully its use of natural resources. We are taking steps to reduce our impact on the environment, both in our store operations and in our supply chain.

Using energy efficiently, minimising our emissions to air and monitoring our energy consumption are key components of our environmental work. Examples of initiatives this year are:

  • Following on from work started last year, 35 business centres, one distribution centre and two distribution centre freezer rooms have now been converted to LED energy efficient lighting with a projected annualised average saving of 22% electricity per annum. Roll out will continue across the remainder of the estate over the next two years.
  • Last year we committed to reducing business miles through the use of video conferencing across the business. We are pleased to report that video conferencing is now set up at all our main business locations.
  • As part of our on-going work to reduce emissions from our vehicles, a trial of heavy goods vehicles that comply with the European EURO VI emission standards have shown an improvement of 6% in fuel efficiency. Replacement of our fleet is due to begin in May 2017 and is forecast to save approximately 1,416 tonnes of CO2e per annum.

During the year, our absolute use of energy was 255 GWh compared with 235 GWh in the prior year, an 8.5% increase. The increase was due to additional energy consumption of 13 GWh by Booker Retail Partners, which is included for the first time for a full year, as well as an increase in gas usage during a colder winter period.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

We report on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for which we are responsible in accordance with The Large and Mediumsized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 (as amended). The statement below summarises the Group’s GHG emissions from fuel consumption and the operation of the Group’s facilities for the year ended 24 March 2017 and the prior year.

GHG Emissions Data

  Tonnes CO2e
Tonnes CO2e
Scope 1
Gas consumption 10,714 13,423 2,708 25%
Diesel from leased vehicles 46,770 56,189 9,419 20%
Petrol from leased vehicles   1,666 144 -1,521 -91%
Fugitive emissions – Refrigerant Gas 27,342 16,590 -10,752 -39%
Total Scope 1 86,492 86,346 -146 0%
Scope 2        
Purchased Electricity Generation 81,659 74,848 -6,811 -8%
Total Scope 2 81,659 74,848 -6,811 -8%
Significant Scope 3        
Electricity Transmission & Distribution 6,742 6,770 28 0
Waste Disposal 1,032 853 -179% -17%
Total Scope 3 7,774 7,623 -151 -2%
Out of Scopes 1,619 1,308 -310 -19%
Total Gross Emissions 177,544 170,126 -7,418 -4%
Intensity Measure 35.51 32.11 -3.4 -10%


  • The Group has reported on all material emission sources for which it deems itself to be responsible, and the emissions data is reported using an operational control approach to define our organisational boundary;
  • The methodologies and definitions used to derive the table above are based on the UK Government Environmental Reporting Guidance 2013 using the GHG Protocol and DEFRA GHG Conversion Factors 2016, expiring June 2017;
  • Data collected for the Government Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (‘CRC scheme’) has been used to report energy consumption data for Ritter & Classic. The CRC scheme is a mandatory reporting and pricing framework to improve energy efficiency in large public and private organisations;
  • The intensity measure selected is tonnes CO2e per £m of sales;
  • In respect of India, we have undertaken a materiality assessment and consider that the related emissions are not material. Emissions from these operations are, therefore, excluded from our reported emissions; and
  • CO2e is the CO2 equivalent.

Overall our total Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions have shown a decrease of 7,418 tonnes, or 4% due to a marked reduction in refrigerant gas emissions and reduction in electricity from a change in opening hours and LED lighting conversions.

The Carbon Trust Standard is a voluntary certification and mark of excellence that enables organisations to demonstrate their success in cutting their carbon footprint. The Standard can be achieved for Energy, Waste and Water. The Standard is awarded for a two year period, with Booker obtaining a fourth consecutive Carbon Trust Standard and second Carbon Trust Waste Standard in 2015. This accreditation externally verifies eight years of absolute carbon footprint emissions reductions and four years of improved waste management. Booker Group is the only wholesaler to have held the Standard for that length of time. The award demonstrates Booker’s long term commitment to successfully measuring, managing and reducing its carbon footprint.

Preventing Waste

Company Waste Prevention and Recycling

We continue to work to prevent waste, redistribute fit for purpose food, increase recycling and divert waste away from landfill. We use the Government’s ‘waste hierarchy’ which sets out five steps for dealing with waste ranked by their environmental impact, to ensure all waste is dealt with in the most environmentally positive way. Each store and distribution centre participates in surplus food donations, recycling paper, plastic, cardboard, metal and wood. We have invested across the estate in balers, instigated waste league tables and continually focus on improvements. During the year we reduced waste to landfill by 73% and now recycle 99% of total Group waste.

Business to Business Engagement

In addition to our own achievements, we believe that working on sustainability initiatives with independent businesses in local communities can deliver further improvements in sustainability.

Customer Packaging Recycling

In April 2012 our packaging recycling service was launched with approximately 13,500 customers regularly using the service. Volumes of cardboard recycled in the year ended 24 March 2017 were up on the prior year at over 17,000 tonnes.

Customer Used Cooking Oil Recycling

Customers can arrange a collection of used cooking oil from their premises. The Group operates a simple rebate scheme of 20p per litre of waste oil recycled. Over 18,000 customers are using the service and over 10.5 million litres of waste oil have been recycled into sustainable bio fuels in the year ended March 2017 up 57% on last year. The bio fuel derived from the waste cooking oil is part of the diesel blend used by our HGV vehicles.

Packaging Improvements

As a wholesaler of packaged goods, our primary objective is to ensure that our products are safe to eat and reach consumers in optimal condition. Packaging plays a critical role in achieving this and we review at every opportunity how we can use fewer materials. This includes improving packaging to protect stock from damage, thereby reducing food waste, and reducing the weight of the packaging. This year packaging changes on own label products have saved 45 tonnes of packaging material including reducing the weight of our Chef Larder vegetable tins, moving Euro Shopper Washing Up Liquid and Fabric Conditioner from cardboard to shrinkwrap outer case and improving the concentration of the fabric conditioner.

Ethical Sourcing

A number of the ingredients in our own label products are grown in developing countries. We seek to understand, manage and mitigate any issues associated with a particular commodity or country.

We use the Fairtrade and Red Tractor Farm Assurance schemes and all prospective own brand suppliers are required to complete a sustainability and ethics questionnaire. Examples of our approach are:

Red Tractor Farm Assurance: Red Tractor is a UK food assurance scheme which covers production standards on safety, hygiene, animal welfare and the environment. The Red Tractor logo on packs means food or drink has met these responsible production standards and is fully traceable back to independently inspected farms in the UK. Red Tractor certifies that food has been produced to independently inspected standards right across the food chain from farm to pack. At 24 March 2017, the Group had 115 own label products displaying the Red Tractor logo across its retail and catering ranges and continues to work to widen the products covered by this standard.

Fairtrade: The objective of Fairtrade is to achieve better selling prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade is an independent mark found on products where ingredients in the product have been produced by small-scale farmers that meet Fairtrade’s social, economic and environmental standards. The standards include the protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of a Fairtrade minimum price and an additional premium to invest in the farmers’ and workers’ community. The Group continues to expand its range of catering products that are certified as being Fairtrade, with all Chef’s Larder tea and coffee products now being Fairtrade accredited. The Lichfield Fairtrade range now has 24 products across tea, coffee, sugar and hot chocolate. In the calendar year 2016 Booker generated over £200,000 in Fairtrade Premiums, that tea and coffee farmers and workers invest in social, environmental and economic developmental projects to improve their businesses and their communities.

Sustainable Palm Oil: Palm oil production has been well documented as a cause of substantial damage to the natural environment. Its impact includes deforestation, habitat loss of critically endangered species and a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions. All Chef’s Larder, Happy Shopper and Euro Shopper biscuits and snacks support the production of certified sustainable palm oil by using palm oil sourced through RSPO-approved supply chain models.

Sustainable Fish: We recognise the pressures placed on marine wildlife by commercial fishing practices and act where practicable to minimise our impact on marine wildlife conservation and sustainability. The three factors that influence sustainability are species, fishery region and fishing method. The Marine Conservation Society has identified a number of fish species which are from unsustainable, overfished, highly vulnerable or poorly managed fisheries. This also includes species associated with unacceptable levels of by-catch. Booker will not trade in endangered or unsustainable fish or seafood (fish identified as ‘Category 5’ by the Marine Conservation Society). Where species come under pressure, we work with our suppliers to improve the sustainability across our range of fish products. In addition, Chef Direct has achieved Marine Stewardship Council chain of custody accreditation. Our fresh farmed Salmon is sourced from either Norway or Scotland; the Norwegian fish is Global G.A.P. accredited and the Scottish fish is RSPCA Freedom food accredited. Global G.A.P. and RSPCA Freedom promote responsible sustainable farming.

Egg Sourcing Policy: Booker Group already offers cage free, free range eggs in pack sizes appropriate to both our retail and catering business customers. Our intention is to move to full cage free sourcing of both branded and own label shell eggs by 2025, which will include all ‘eggs as ingredients’ in our own label lines. Cage free welfare provides hens with space to move freely, litter to scratch and dustbathe in, perches to rest on and nest boxes for hens to lay their eggs.

Carrier Bags

Carrier bag charging is now in place across all areas of the UK. The Booker reports for the year 7 April 2016 to 6 April 2017 are given below:


Number of chargeable bags supplied:  15,239
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £761.95
Net proceeds of the charge: £634.96
VAT:  £126.99
Costs incurred informing the public about the charge:  £0
Compliance costs:  £0

The net proceeds were donated to Keep Wales Tidy


Number of chargeable bags supplied:  48,565
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £2,428.25
Net proceeds of the charge: £2,023.54
Costs incurred informing the public about the charge:  £0
Compliance costs:  £0
VAT:  £404.71

The net proceeds were donated to Keep Scotland Beautiful


The law in England differs to the other countries meaning bags without handles used in Booker and Makro business centres are not covered by the 5p charge. Budgens details are:

Number of chargeable bags supplied:  503,419
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £25,170.95
Net proceeds of the charge: £20,975.79
Costs incurred informing the public about the charge:  £0
Compliance costs:  £0
VAT:  £4,195.16

The net proceeds were donated to local charities chosen by the customers of each store

Northern Ireland

Number of chargeable bags supplied:  11,186
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £559.30

The total amount is paid to the Department of Environment in Northern Ireland

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