Booker is the UK’s leading food wholesaler, supplying 338,000 catering businesses and 83,000 independent retailers. We operate from 172 cash and carry stores throughout the United Kingdom and operate a national delivery service.
Carbon Trust and Carbon Reduction Commitment
Booker Group plc (including Booker Direct and Classic Drinks) was the first UK food wholesaler to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard and remains the only wholesaler to have achieved recertification, plus the only foodservice operator to have retained the standard. This demonstrates our long-term commitment to successfully measuring, managing and reducing our carbon footprint. We are particularly proud of our achievement in reducing our absolute footprint by 4% in the last 3 years during a period of strong business growth. Although we have made good progress, we still have a lot of work to do and are committed to a more sustainable future for Booker and its customers. The Carbon Trust Standard certifies that an organisation has genuinely reduced their carbon footprint and is committed to making further reductions year on year.
In 2011 Booker was ranked 71st out of 2100, ahead of all our wholesale competition and all but two of the major retailers. The ranking is primarily an indicator of our ability to measure and manage carbon footprint through technologies such as Automated Meter Reading and accreditation such as Carbon Trust Standard.
These successes and others below, led to Booker winning the Grocer Gold “Green Wholesaler of the Year” award in 2012 and 2010.
Information on some of our work in the this area is given below organised under the following headings:
Booker believe our responsibility to the environment extends beyond our own business and into those of our customers. We continue to innovate by offering green services that support customers in running a more sustainable business themselves by eliminating the associated cost and difficulties. In addition to our own achievements, we believe that working through our customer relationships we can deliver improvements in sustainability on a far greater scale.
Booker Direct has developed a significant presence in the national account market, serving both retail (e.g. M&S) and food service clients (e.g. HM Prisons). These businesses have often achieved some fantastic sustainability wins in their own right, and generally have their own plans and procedures, through which we continue to learn and create joint initiatives.
However, we believe that the biggest gains can be made by working on sustainability initiatives with independent businesses in local communities for two main reasons:
Scale: From customer data we estimate that our independent customers have a collective carbon footprint some 200 times greater than our own, and the volume of packaging waste generated is up to six times greater.
Access: Recycling and environmental services for small independent customers are often expensive and are not always available. Additionally, our customers can be ‘harder to help’ with advice and solutions as they are often time- and cash-constrained.
Packaging recycling service: We have now created customer recycling centres in all Booker sites to allow customers to recycle their cardboard and shrink-wrap through their local branch. This material is then combined with our own and returned to our distribution centres for recycling. The benefits accruing from this approach are outlined below.
- Can clear their premises and save space
- Save money (up to £1400 per year) on waste collections
- Get a more environmentally friendly business
- Increased recycling rates in the wholesale channel (100% increase)
- Carbon-zero recycling solution through use of Booker reverse supply chain
- Saving 820kg CO2e per tonne of card recycled v landfill and 1076kg CO2e per tonne of shrinkwrap (source: Defra GHG conversion factors)
Battery Recycling: Booker provides customers with an in-branch battery recycling point and also offers a battery recycling kit to support retail customers fulfil their legal obligation under the battery regulations. This helps the retailer demonstrate sustainability to customers and drive footfall by offering a local service. Since the start of the service we have recycled over four tonnes of batteries.
Used Cooking Oil Recycling: Booker has now helped customers recycle over 5 million litres of Used Cooking Oil. As part of our drive to improve service we have given customers over £0.5 million back as a ‘thank you’ and converted a waste product into a sustainable bio fuel.
Welsh Carrier Bags: In October 2011 the Welsh Government introduced a 5p charge on all single use carrier bags. The Booker report for the first year is below.
Number of chargeable bags supplied: 57,820
Total amount received from the sale of chargeable bags: £2,891
Total amount received from the 5p charge: £2,891
Net proceeds of the charge: £2,409.17
(Admin and compliance costs were not deducted as they exceeded the proceeds)
The difference of £481.83 between the total amount received from the sale of bags and the net proceeds of the 5p charge is made up of the following:
Amounts above 5p that customers paid for bags: £0
Costs incurred informing the public about the charge: £0
Compliance costs: £0
Customer support and advice: As part of our service to customers, we keep them up to date on any changes to legislation that will affect their business and deliver solutions that minimise cost and promote sustainability at a community level. We also provide guidance in the form of energy saving advice and tips on environmental topics through our retailer in house magazine Talking Shop.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions (GHG)
We continue to look for innovative investments in sustainable technology and methods in our estate, refit and operations, and this has also made a major contribution to our absolute reduction in carbon footprint.
We have installed voltage optimisation in 2 Booker branches, resulting in a reduction in power consumption of over 10%,. This technology will be rolled out across the Booker estate in 2012 at a cost of over £2m, giving an anticipated saving of over 6000 tonnes CO2.
New branches Hayle and Bradford have had energy efficiency features below included in their design:
- Maximum transparent roof area, light-sensitivity and occupancy controls; energy-efficient lighting
- High efficiency heaters, timing controls and re-circulation fans
- High thermal efficiency cold rooms wherever possible instead of less efficient refrigeration equipment (e.g. open “multi-decks”)
- New cladding and roofing to improve insulation
The property team make use of the same energy saving technologies applied in the new builds for refit programmes across the estate. In the last year a dozen branches have benefited from new energy saving lighting technologies that include occupancy detectors, daylight sensors and T5 fittings. The graph below shows the energy usage before and after the refit at Shrewsbury showing a 17% improvement.
Distribution Centres: Our two largest regional distribution centres have been converted to energy efficient lighting in ambient and chilled areas - a saving of 76% of energy consumption, or 2000 tonnes CO2.
‘Smart Grid’ Electricity Generation
In 2011 Booker, with their partners PeakGen, have installed 3 ‘mini power stations’ at their distribution centres. These stations are built to balance demand and capacity for new renewable power generation (e.g. wind, solar) and during periods of stress on the national grid. This new ‘smart-grid’ technology is capable of providing power to around 16,000 local homes and businesses, preventing power outages and deferring the construction of new large-scale coal and gas-fired power stations.
Automated meter reading has been installed across the Booker estate in 2010/11, the carbon team has used the data to highlight energy efficiency improvements.
The efficient movement of stock is vital in delivering excellent Choice Price and Service to customers. In particular as internet sales increase we are working hard to make all deliveries more efficient and reduce our emissions from transport.
Rail: Booker continues to move goods by rail from the midlands to Scotland and has increased this over the last year, saving a further 42,000 miles and 60 tonnes of carbon. Future plans will avoid a further 724,000 miles a year equivalent to 1,000 tones CO2.
Double Deck Trailer: We are trialing a double deck trailer which gives us the capacity to load 44 pallets as opposed to the standard 26. This will save 8 journeys a week per double deck trailer, equivalent to saving 120,000 km a year or 106 tonnes CO2 per vehicle. If the trial proves successful we will increase the number within our fleet.
Long Trailers: Booker has been granted an allocation of 15 'Long' trailers by the DFT. These trailers allow us to increase the number of pallets we can transport by 15%, saving 24 journeys a week or 360,000 km a year, equivalent to 321 tonnes CO2.
Branch van fleet: Delivered sales have continued to grow but despite this there has been a reduction in total fleet numbers to deliver the additional volume. A 3.5 tonne replacement programme starts in 2012, the vehicles selected have greater payload capacity, reduced CO2 emissions and improved MPG capability. This is coupled with continuous training of drivers through CPC, changing driver behaviour through practical driving training for smaller vehicle drivers, and also SAFED training being investigated 2012.
Our current Company car fleet (666 cars) have an average CO2 emission of 134g per km, down from last year despite a growth in car numbers due to acquisition. This is below the average of Lex Autolease's entire managed fleet (c300,000 cars) which is at 150g. The average C02 of the cars under order is 118g indicating that our average will drop further once these vehicles are delivered. Just under one third of our fleet currently have CO2 levels of below 120g. Colleagues are encouraged to opt for a ‘green’ car when choosing their company car.
Smarter Driving: We have put 48 company car drivers and 24 van drivers through the Energy Saving Trust’s Smarter Driving course in the last year. This course helps drivers focus on techniques to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. On top of the benefits for the company we are also keen to engage colleagues in reducing their own fuel consumption and as the scheme continues to roll out to all car and small van drivers in England.
Distribution Efficiencies: The Booker team continue to look for ways to reduce food miles across our network. Changes to the network this year have saved over 270,000 kms or 244 tonnes of CO2. This is equivalent to taking a further two Booker vehicles off the road on top of the eight removed in previous years.
Saving Miles: Booker continue to collaborate with suppliers to find ways to reduce food miles from the total supply chain. This year we have maintained our industry leading-focus on minimising empty journeys and continue to save over 1 million kms (equivalent to over 1,200 Te CO2). An example of this work with Coca-Cola is available as an industry best practice case study on the IGD website, click here.
Product Sourcing and Packaging
Booker continues to seek opportunities to make our own label products more sustainable through reducing packaging, eliminating waste and the use of fair trade and farm assurance schemes. All manufacturers are required to complete a questionnaire that covers ethics and sustainability. This year key areas include:
Re-Usable Meat trays: In the last year, during the pilot with our largest meat supplier, we prevented 315 tonnes of contaminated card going to landfill, saved 74 tonnes in damages eliminating food waste from the supply chain. We plan to roll these trays out to our lamb and pork own label suppliers in summer 2012, removing a further 144 tonnes of card from production and landfill plus preventing further food waste.
Fair Trade: Booker continues to expand it’s range of catering products that are certified Fair Trade, all Chefs Larder tea and coffee have moved to Fair Trade, the Lichfield range currently includes coffee and coffee sticks, sugar sticks, hot chocolate, breakfast tea bags and caramelised biscuits and we are working to expand this. This enables hotels and B&B’s to offer a Fair Trade welcome tray to their guests.
Red Tractor Farm Assured: The Red Tractor farm assurance scheme is used to ensure good standards of animal welfare on UK livestock farms. Booker has a number of own label products displaying the red tractor logo which has now grown to over 70 products across retail and catering ranges. We continue to work to widen the products covered by this standard.
Environmentally Friendly Products: In April we launched an innovative new range of 100% bio-degradable food and drink disposables that decompose naturally with no damage to the environment. The products are made from plastics derived from plant sources, waste streams from the sugar industry, cardboard and wood that are FSC approved. This will help caterers offer a green solution to their customers and comply with the sustainable requirements of many events and local councils.
Packaging efficiencies: We review packaging at every opportunity and this includes increasing packaging if we are seeing damages and consequently food waste from poor product protection. This year we moved our catering tinned tomatoes out of boxes into shrink and tray but the damages caused in the container meant the environmental impact from food waste was greater than the benefit from light weighting the packaging. The product has now returned to a boxed format with the food waste drastically reduced. We have worked in collaboration with Tulip meats to reduce packaging and prevent waste across the range, this has resulted in reducing packaging weight by 28 tonnes a year across our retail cooked meat range.
Waste & Recycling
Reducing waste and improving recycling is a priority to Booker. We are working to better manage our waste by diverting it away from landfill to more productive methods of disposal such as Anaerobic digestion and energy production, but most importantly we are focusing on preventing the waste from being produced in the first place.
As part of our commitment to prevent waste we have signed up to a voluntary industry agreement via the IGD to target the prevention of 75,000 tonnes of waste and the diversion of 150,000 tonnes of waste away from landfill by the end of 2012. For more information on this IGD initiative click here.
In 2011 we have focused on removing food waste from landfill and diverting it to power generation in local Anaerobic Digestion plants. We now have 50 branches that have a local solution for food waste and have diverted almost 400 tonnes of food waste from landfill. We plan to extend this to all sites during 2012.
During the last year we have increased the volume of waste recycled and sent to recovery processes by 1400 tonnes (17%). Our distribution centre at Haydock has maintained zero waste to landfill since Nov 2010. Waste sent to landfill continues to reduce and is down 800 tonnes year on year (14%).
Elimination of Food Waste: During the last year we have worked on a number of supplier collaboration projects, along with Booker internal initiatives, to eliminate waste within the supply chain. These include new line and category review processes, supplier managed inventory, promotion and weather forecasting. A number of these initiatives are showcased on the IGD website to help drive best practice throughout the industry. Click Here to see the Booker/Nestle collaborative case study.
Green Champions: Each of our 6 regions has a ‘Green’ General Manager who promotes sustainability ideas and initiatives. At branch level we have identified one individual to become the ‘Green Champion’ responsible for energy saving and recycling.
Community: Booker is committed to working with and assisting the communities in which we operate. We do this primarily through improving the support and service we provide to our customers:
- Each branch and support centre has a nominated local charity that they support.
- During the last year we have donated surplus food to 17 local homeless charities from the Booker branch in the area. In 2011 62,000 meals were donated to charities across the UK. This will be extended in 2012 so that every Booker branch works locally with charities in their community.
Booker also actively contributes to sustainability initiatives in the wider industry for example:
Booker currently co-chairs the IGD group (ECR UK) which develops practical solutions to drive change in key areas such as distribution and waste. The targets and achievements for this cross-industry work are summarised below:
||Reduce food miles by 200m in 5 years
Produce best practice
|204m food miles removed from UK roads in 4 years
5 online guides produced
|Product and Packaging Waste
||Prevent 75,000 tonnes of food waste in 3 years
Recover or recycle 150,000 tonnes in 3 years
Producer best practice
|38,000 Tonnes prevented in year 1
115,000 Tonnes diverted in year 1
2 online guides produced
||Online "How to" guidance for large and SME businesses sustainability
||Published Q2 2011
Booker believe that investing time and displaying leadership in these areas is critically important in moving the industry towards a more sustainable operating model throughout the chain.