Sustainability is important to us because fundamentally, it's the right thing to do and customers and our team members expect it. We make no claim to be perfect and we understand that our operations have an impact – both on the communities we live in and more widely. As such, as we continue to grow our business, and employ more team members, we’re also committed to reducing that impact and improving the overall efficiency of our operations.
This is not a new approach – we have a history of taking real actions. Over the past decade we’ve made good progress in reducing our energy usage and becoming more self-sufficient with our water supply. Other areas of ongoing focus have included responsible sourcing, reducing waste and active education and awareness programs.
Our immediate focus is to use less energy, less water and create less waste along with increasing our recycling levels. Longer term, we are also committed to finding new ways to reduce our reliance on grid sourced energy, with a view to achieving further reductions in our overall carbon footprint.
We’re proud that our long term efforts in timber procurement have provided customers and team members with the knowledge that our timber is responsibly sourced. And we continue to raise awareness of sustainable living options in the wider community, helping customers take practical actions at low cost or no cost to save energy, use less water and take environmentally friendly actions. This includes providing a wide range of products, expert advice in-store, free workshops, D.I.Y. “how to” guides and information kits.
The 2019 Community Report Card provides detailed information on our ongoing sustainability commitments.
The 2019 Wesfarmers sustainability website provides a detailed insight into the heart of our day to day business practices covering our health, safety and environmental performance as well as our community involvement activities. What we do in these areas is a very tangible part of "who we are". This reporting is voluntary and publicly demonstrates our commitment to continually improving our performance in these areas. By reporting in this way, we make ourselves accountable to achieve improvements.
Climate change is widely recognised as one of the most pressing challenges we face today and the main cause of climate change has been attributed to human generated greenhouse gas emissions. We believe we can play a positive role in tackling climate change by reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
Over 85 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions come from the electricity we use to power our stores. The remainder is largely from the waste generated from our operations and our own vehicle use. We have active strategies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in all areas where they are generated.
Our major focus is on lowering our energy use through a number of initiatives including energy efficient lighting systems. We are also actively exploring further energy reduction measures including trialling micro-renewable power generation at a small number of stores.
We’ve made good progress over the past decade in reducing water usage across our business operations, with a long term goal of becoming more self-sufficient.
The primary uses of water in our business are the irrigation of our nurseries, evaporative air-conditioning, and kitchen and toilet facilities. What we’re trying to do is both reduce our usage and harvest our own supply.
To that end, we've introduced rainwater harvesting systems in almost all of our warehouse stores across mainland Australia (excluding the tropics).We've also cut down on our water usage by reintroducing hand watering in many of our nurseries and installing water efficient devices in our stores and offices.
Our goal is to be responsible for sending less waste to landfill and we apply the reduce, reuse and recycle principle throughout our business.
We have continued to lift our recycling rates through a number of recycling and packaging optimisation initiatives including ongoing work with suppliers to reduce all types of packaging waste, reusing and recycling of cardboard in all stores, reusing timber pallets, and the diversion of all possible materials from the waste stream.
Last financial year we achieved a waste diversion rate of 67 per cent by volume, up from 3 per cent the previous year. We continue to work toward our 85 per cent waste diversion rate target.
As a retailer, we source our products from literally thousands of different suppliers, from all parts of the globe. In rough terms, about 40 per cent of the products sold in our stores is sourced from businesses who manufacture in Australia and New Zealand. The countries and communities from which we source our products are very important to us and we’re committed to ensuring the products we sell come from legal and sustainable operations, with good working conditions and fair treatment of people.
We continue to strengthen our sourcing practices with more suppliers becoming members of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) program which aims to improve transparency in our supply chains in key areas of sensitivity. Please refer to our Code of Conduct.
An important area of focus for us is timber and we have a zero tolerance approach to illegally logged timber. Our goal is to ensure all timber and wood products supplied to Bunnings originate from legal and well managed forest operations and we have made excellent progress in this area, with more than 99 per cent of our whole timber product now sourced from low-risk plantation or other legally verified forest operations. Over 85 per cent of our total timber products are sourced from independently certified forest sources or sourced with demonstrated progress towards achieving independent certification, including 32 per cent that are FSC® certified. Read more about our timber actions.
We're in a unique position to help customers by making it easier and more affordable for them to adopt sustainable living practices in the garden and around the home.
We do this in two ways. Firstly, we aim to provide customers with the widest range of products and solutions to meet their sustainability needs. We then back up this product offering with expert knowledge and sound advice available in-store and online. Our aim is to help customers learn how to care for the environment and live sustainably in and around the home.
We also work with suppliers and government regulators to develop new and more affordable sustainability products and solutions.
This also helps to implement effective government policy. We combine the knowledge we have of environmental issues and sustainable practices, with the insights we collect on consumer behavior – customers' needs and wants. We then work with suppliers to develop new products to meet customers' sustainability needs, thereby making sustainable living easier and more affordable.
Our team members do lots of activities with schools including store visits, schoolyard makeovers and D.I.Y. workshops. Contact your local Bunnings store for more details on our school activities and how you can be involved.
We provide a Schools Sustainability Program through every store across New Zealand which involves visits and activities with local primary schools.
The Schools Sustainability Program is aimed at increasing awareness of energy and water saving, recycling and highlights simple and easy ways to make a difference to the environment.