Activities associated with retail operations can lead to significant energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and waste generation. Costs associated with energy consumption in retail operations are expected to increase to £4.4 billion by 2020.i Greenhouse gas emissions represented approximately a fifth of emissions from all retailers in the UK in 2013. Lastly, retail buildings generate high volumes of waste, such as paper, plastics, corrugated cardboard, and polystyrene.ii Retailers can improve their environmental performance around these areas through energy efficiency and recycling programs.
Pets at Home is a leading UK-based specialty retailer of pet foods and accessories and provider of pet-related services including grooming and veterinary services. The company has been measuring and reporting its efforts related to energy and waste management for a number of years.
In 2015,iii among other efforts, Pets at Home continued focusing on the areas of environmental performance that are most relevant to its business and where it believes it can have the greatest impact: energy consumption and waste management.
Response — Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Facilities)
To improve energy efficiency at its stores and distribution centers, Pets at Home implemented a number of energy efficiency projects, including:
- Conducted assessments in accordance with the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014, which included measuring total energy consumption and identifying cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations for areas of significant energy consumption.
- Piloted a Building Energy Management System in three stores to identify the most efficient way to maintain an appropriate environment. Results from these stores have shown a 35 to 50 percent reduction in the daily energy load based on company estimates.
- Installed LED lighting across sales floors and backstage areas in 10 stores, including the three stores with Building Energy Management Systems.
- Continued installing LED lighting in all new pet villages and aquatics systems and converting external store signage to LED.
Results — Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Facilities)iv
Pets at Home’s electricity consumption, measured by square foot of store space, has declined by more than 5 percent compared to the 2012 baseline. This modest improvement was achieved despite the expansion of in-store veterinary practices and Groom Rooms, both of which have inherently higher energy consumption than the retail environment. Energy use also increased as Pets at Home installed air conditioning in 13 stores where there was none previously in order to maintain a suitable temperature for its colleagues, customers, and pets.
Additionally, Pets at Home has focused on managing and measuring fleet fuel efficiency for many years, but in 2015 the company began bringing pet deliveries in-house to improve the welfare of the pets. Therefore, total diesel used in the company’s operations has increased, and greenhouse gas emissions from the core fleet increased almost 13 percent year over year. To reduce fuel use, more than half of the fleet’s 43 tractor units now conform with Euro 6 emissions standards and the rest will convert by 2019. In addition, the company is continuing a driver training program to promote defensive and fuel-efficient driving.
Response — Waste Generation (Facilities)
To reduce waste at its stores and distribution centers, Pets at Home implemented or expanded a number of projects, including:
- Identified a new waste management contractor to help divert waste from landfill disposal.
- Continued focusing on packaging material reduction, including a commitment to implement Waste and Resources Action Plan’s recycling information in the company’s own private brand consumer packaging.
- Developed and published a Sustainable Packaging Strategy.
Results — Waste Generation (Facilities)v
In 2015, Pets at Home diverted 98 percent of facility waste from landfill disposal, exceeding its goal of 92 percent for this time period. Pets at Home’s goal for the coming year is to send zero waste to landfill. As part of its results in 2015, Pets at Home:
- Diverted more than 2,900 metric tons of used animal bedding from landfill, a slight decrease from the previous year.
- Recycled approximately 4,000 metric tons of cardboard and almost 560 metric tons of plastic and received revenue of approximately £376K, or $550,000, through rebates.