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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 25 March 2016, the following number of colleagues were contributing monthly to the following schemes:

  • 3,403 colleagues – 2015 SAYE scheme;
  • 2,611 colleagues – 2014 SAYE scheme;
  • 2,456 colleagues – 2013 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 25 March 2016 is as follows:-

  Male Number Female Number
Directors 8 2
Senior managers 59 7
Other employees 9,464 4,100

The Group has a balanced workforce in terms of experience, with an average age of 40.57 (2015:  39.8).


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. 

Each business centre, distribution centre and support centre has nominated a local charity. For the year ended 25 March 2016, colleagues raised £65,473 for these charities.

The Group also donates surplus food to local homeless charities from Booker Business Centres and distribution centres. In the year, the equivalent of over half a million meals were donated to charities across the UK, with an additional 14 tonnes of food donated to animal 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.

Carrier Bags

Carrier bag charging is now in place across all areas of the UK.  The Booker reports for the year 7 April 2015 to 6 April 2016 are given below:


Number of chargeable bags supplied: 48,480
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £2,424.00
Net proceeds of the charge: £2,020.00
VAT:  £404.00
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: 71,861
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £3,593.05
Net proceeds of the charge: £2,994.21
VAT: £598.84
Costs incurred informing the public about the charge: £0
Compliance costs: £0

The net proceeds were donated to Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Northern Ireland

Number of chargeable bags supplied: 17,473
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £873.65
Costs incurred informing the public about the charge: £0
Compliance costs: £0

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


The law in England differs to the other countries meaning bags without handles are not covered by the 5p charge.


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:

  • LED lighting has been installed on six sales floors, saving an average of 24% electricity per year, and roll out is planned across the remainder of the estate over the next three years.
  • By changing waste disposal to more environmentally friendly methods, waste to landfill is down 54% versus last year. 
  • We are committed to reducing business miles through the use of video conferencing being rolled out across the business.  Initial assessments show substantial savings on miles and management time.

During the year, our absolute use of energy was 235 GWH compared with 250 GWh in the prior year, a 6% reduction, despite 6GWh additional energy requirements from the acquisition of BRP.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

For the third year, we report on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for which we are responsible in accordance with The Large and Medium-sized 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 25 March 2016 and the prior year.

GHG Emissions Data

  Tonnes CO2e
Tonnes CO2e
Scope 1 12,352 10,714 -1,638 -13
Gas consumption 38,995 46,770 7,775  20
Petrol from leased vehicles -   1,666 1,666   -
Fugitive emissions – Refrigerant Gas 17,021 27,342 10,321 61
Total Scope 1 68,368 86,942 18,124 27
Scope 2        
Purchased Electricity Generation 90,584 81,659 -8,925 -10
Total Scope 2 90,584 81,659 -8,925 -10
Significant Scope 3        
Electricity Transmission & Distribution 7,921 6,742 -1,179 -15
Waste Disposal 1,371 1,032 -339 -25
Total Scope 3 9,292 7,774 -1,518 -16
Out of Scopes 940 1,619 679 72
Total Gross Emissions 169,184 177,544 8,360   5
Intensity Measure 35.77 35.51 -0.26  -1


  • 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 Jan 2015;
  • 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;
  • CO2e is the CO2 equivalent; and
  • 20% of the increase in refrigerant gas emissions is due to a change in the DEFRA carbon equivalent conversion factor.

Whilst our total Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions have shown an increase of 8,360 tonnes, primarily due to the acquisition of BRP, our like-for-like footprint shows a reduction of 4,434 tonnes or -3%.

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 emission 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 recycling paper, plastic, cardboard, metal and wood from pallets. We have invested across the estate in balers, instigated waste league tables and continually focus on improvements. During the year we increased the volume of waste recycled and sent to recovery processes by 11% and reduced waste to landfill by 54%.

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, and now over 14,000 customers are regularly using the service. Volumes of cardboard recycled in the year ended 25 March 2016 are up approximately 12% on last year at over 16,000 tonnes.

Customer Used Cooking Oil Recycling

Customers deposit used cooking oil at their local business centre or a collection can be arranged from their premises. The Group operates a simple rebate scheme of 20p per litre of waste oil recycled. Approximately 12,500 customers are using the service and over 6.7 million litres of waste oil have been recycled into sustainable bio fuels in the year ended 25 March 2016, up 72% on last year.

Customer Energy Efficient Lighting Conversion

This is a new service available to customers, which supports customers in changing to more energy efficient lighting.  Initial reports from retail customers show a pay back on investment in under 12 months. 

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 charges on own label products have saved 133 tonnes of packaging material. Changes include moving Happy Shopper vinegar from glass to plastic bottles, reduction of the tin weight of Chefs Larder fruit and vegetables, and removing the card tray from the outer case on own label juices.

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 25 March 2016, the Group had 138 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 Chefs Larder tea and coffee products now being Fairtrade accredited. The Lichfield Fairtrade range now has 26 products across tea, coffee, sugar and hot chocolate. During the year the Group contributed the equivalent of £116,700 through Fairtrade premiums to help tea and coffee growers.

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. Although palm oil is only an extremely small input into the production by suppliers of our own label products, all Chefs Larder, Happy Shopper and Euroshopper ranges of biscuits and snack products contribute to the production of certified sustainable palm oil.

Egg Sourcing Policy

Booker Group already offers a choice of cage free, free range eggs in pack sizes appropriate to both our retail and catering business customers.

As consumer trends develop so do our ranges and in this respect eggs are no different. We are fully supportive of the 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.

We have already been in discussion with our suppliers in order to achieve this aim.

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