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DIY Giant B&Q plans new sustainable future

B&Q is drawing up plans to lease rather than sell some of its big DIY products such as power drills as part of a sustainable business strategy.

The Kingfisher chief executive, Ian Cheshire, said last week that his B&Q chain is in the early stages of research and design to create a drill with recyclable parts that would be leased to customers. He added that B&Q could then take back the drill to be recycled rather than dumped.

Kingfisher is one of the largest DIY and home improvements retailers in the world with 860 stores in eight countries which is why it is making a big push on creating more sustainable products. Mr Cheshire said: "We are rethinking processes and business models for the future. We have to adapt and look at all our products and our overall business model.

"There is certainly a rise in the green consumer. But customers are now less willing to pay a premium for it. They want green and sustainable products, but they don't want them to be more expensive than the norm. We have had to adjust."

Kingfisher is also on the lookout for new product ideas. It has been working with the Carbon Trust and has a number of targets for achieving savings and a sustainable business for all its brands from B&Q to French chain Castorama. B&Q has to reduce its direct CO2 emissions by 90 per cent by 2023.

Kingfisher now sells £1.1bn of eco-products from energy-saving light bulbs and sustainably grown timber to carpet underlay made of 100 per cent recycled clothing. These products generate sales equating to 10.5 per cent of total sales across the group.

Dominic Burbridge, Carbon Trust's senior client manager, said: "It is important that businesses set targets to achieve reduced carbon emissions. Kingfisher spotted a market, adapted its business models and will now be ahead of the competition."

Mr Cheshire said there is a big opportunity in the Government's latest "green deal" – encouraging homes to be refitted for a low-carbon future. "This is a huge business opportunity. We are offering a green concierge service – a menu of items - which B&Q can install."

Hugh Jones, the managing director of Carbon Trust Advisory Services, said: "Despite the UK Government's commitment to an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels, our analysis shows 41 per cent of FTSE 100 businesses do not have clear, robust targets to cut emissions.

Source : Laura Chesters - The Independent

07 August 2011
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