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B&Q's sustainability strategy brings biodiversity home

Search the B&Q website and the scientific term "biodiversity" doesn't readily jump out at you. Instead, you might see a guide on how to make an insect lodge, attract bees to your garden or use a chemical-free alternative to inhibit weeds.

The word itself might not be obvious, but there is no doubt that biodiversity is important to this major chain of DIY stores. Indeed it is one of the 10 pillars of B&Q's One Planet Home programme, launched in 2008, to make sustainable living affordable for customers and to embed sustainability across the business.

Its Forest Friendly campaign highlights the importance of checking the sustainability credentials of timber before purchase to help preserve endangered species and habitats.

B&Q has 16,000 products that use wood, and all are from sustainable sources that help to protect woodland habitats. But such success doesn't mean that B&Q is complacent.

In 2012 the company launched the innovative Working Woodland scheme, in partnership with BioRegional and the Sylva Foundation.

The woodland project will work with different community groups, councils, charities and land owners to map and assess 10,000 hectares of woodland. The project will demonstrate how neglected woodlands can be revived to further support biodiversity and reconnect with local communities.

The scheme will also train 1,400 people in woodland management. Through working with B&Q's buying teams, the project will identify both the opportunities and challenges of bringing sustainable UK woodland products to the retail market.

But it's not just timber that the company is keeping a close eye on. Last year, B&Q increased sales of peat-free composts by 103% and stopped stocking the country's favourite bedding plant, the Busy Lizzy, worth more than £5m in sales, when the plant was hit by downy mildew disease. The company felt growers needed time to control the disease and protect the plant's future.

Source : Nicolette Fox – The Guardian

17 May 2013
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