Product sourcing

As an importer of wood products from outside the EU, we have a procedure in place to comply with the requirements of the European Union Timber Regulations which came into force in March 2013. The procedure culminates in a documented trail confirming that the wood products are sourced from authorised and renewable supplies. As part of this procedure, we also make enquiries to ensure that the manufacturers we deal with do not use child labour or exploit children and treat their workforce fairly.

Utilities

We monitor our greenhouse gases on a consistent basis with the aim of improving our use of energy, water, recyclable and non-recyclable resources, ensuring long-term environmental and business sustainability and creating long-term value for shareholders and other stakeholders./p>

We recognise that our business can have a direct and indirect effect upon the environment. As a wholesale distributor of floorcoverings operating from distribution facilities in the UK, France, Switzerland and the Netherlands, we are not a significant consumer of water, electricity or gas. Electricity and gas supplies in the UK are purchased on a Company contract basis.

Water

Water consumption arises predominantly in respect of employee welfare and commercial vehicle washing. The majority of our water charges are in respect of water supplied and used. We encourage our drivers to keep the commercial vehicles clean and tidy. To assist them, we have a combination of jet wash machines and, at four of the distribution facilities from which a significant number of commercial vehicles operate, specialist truck washes. Each truck wash utilises 100% recycled water, helping with conservation, and environmentally friendly washing detergents.

We seek to reduce water consumption and charges by analysing invoices received in respect of water, through the installation of water meters and by reducing consumption through repair, renewal or installation of equipment to improve efficiency.

Our water consumption in 2016 was consistent with the 32,660 cubic metres consumed in each of the previous three years.

Electricity

Electricity consumption continues to be predominantly in respect of forklift truck battery charging, the operation of specialist cutting tables used to cut lengths from full and part rolls of broadloom products, associated mechanical handling and compressed air equipment, office and warehouse lighting and office equipment. Modern and energy efficient construction techniques and products are incorporated when we invest in new facilities or undertake refurbishment or repair works, which are more efficient, automatically switching off during periods of inactivity.

Photovoltaic panels, installed on the roof of the Coleshill facility in 2014, generate an estimated 46,000 kWh of electricity. Consideration will be given to further similar installations following a period of evaluation. Future construction projects will similarly incorporate intelligent lighting systems and, where practical, renewable energy solutions. We benefit from the improved information arising following the installation last year of automated meters. We continue to install more energy efficient LED units when undertaking lighting repairs and replacement.

The actual cost of electricity and gas in 2016 at 0.2% of revenue was consistent with the prior year.

Gas

Gas is consumed predominantly in respect of office heating and very limited localised radiant heating above work stations on the cutting tables located within the distribution centre. Future savings in the consumption of electricity and gas have been identified through the installation of sophisticated heating control systems either in new facilities or during refurbishment works. Consideration will be given to installing such control systems in other premises if considered viable.

Owing to the nature of our business and with our proactive approach when planning and developing new facilities, we believe that our activities generally have a low impact on the environment, with no environmental legal or compliance issues arising during the year.

Carbon reporting

We are required to report on all the measured emissions sources under The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013. Data has been collected in accordance with the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme. Conversion factors for electricity, gas and fuel are those published by the Carbon Trust and Defra in 2013.

Fuel type2016
CO2/tonnes
2015
CO2/tonnes
Electricity4,1114,348
Gas1,0521,010
Commercial vehicle fuel19,59718,153
Car fuel4,7804,603
Total29,54028,114
Tonnes per £1 million revenue4543

The increase in respect of commercial vehicle fuel was a result of an increase in the number of deliveries made in the year as reflected in the uplift in revenue.

2016 electricity emissions decreased and gas consumption emissions increased, the gas in part due to slightly colder weather conditions in 2016 compared to 2015. Energy reduction projects carried out at our distribution facilities, which included installing more LED lighting in heavily trafficked areas such as the dispatch bays and voltage optimisation, resulted in a reduction in electricity emissions.

Commercial and motor vehicles are replaced respectively on a five and three-year basis, in doing so improving operational efficiencies and reducing operating costs and vehicle emissions. All of our commercial vehicles comply with Euro 5 emission standards which, when introduced, further reduced the levels of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions. New commercial and motor vehicles delivered to us since October 2014 have been compliant with Euro 6 emission standards which were binding for the registration of new commercial and motor vehicles from September 2015. Euro 6 more than halves the amount of nitrogen oxides that a diesel car can emit with a cap of 80mg/km. We periodically review our fleet requirements to ensure the optimum design to maximise capacity and improve aerodynamics. Further usage of the Scottish Integrated Distribution system, which facilitates the consolidated distribution of Company products throughout Scotland through the use of trunker deliveries to a transhipment facility in Aberdeen, has further improved the efficiency of product delivery into northern Scotland. Following a period of evaluation, it is anticipated that other similar efficiency initiatives may be identified.

ESOS

The Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (‘ESOS’) is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for large organisations in the UK, an assessment for which was carried out by an external assessor in late 2015. Due to the mix of energy, with the majority related to transport fuel, the assessment comprised an audit of the energy used by our transport activities, there being no requirement to audit the energy consumed in respect of buildings and industrial processes. The assessment identified a number of potential cost-effective energy saving measures, some of which have been implemented.

FORS

During the year, several of our businesses supplying goods into and around London sought and achieved bronze, accreditation with the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (‘FORS’). FORS is a voluntary scheme that helps improve operators’ performance in respect of all aspects of safety, fuel efficiency, economical operations and vehicle emissions. For vehicle operators, it confirms that they are meeting their legislative requirements, as well as helping to increase efficiency, reduce costs and secure work. Increasingly contractors insist upon a minimum of FORS bronze accreditation before accepting deliveries to premises in and around the London area, rejecting deliveries from nonaccredited suppliers. As part of the accreditation process, additional signs and mirrors are fitted to vehicles in order to reduce cycling and motorcycling accidents. It is anticipated that the requirement for FORS accreditation will in time spread to other cities in the UK.

Waste

The waste arising from our operations is predominantly protective plastic packaging, cardboard poles and boxes and wooden pallets. The cardboard poles from the centre of full rolls, part rolls and cut lengths of carpet and vinyl delivered to our customers are subsequently collected from our customers’ premises and re-used until no longer fit for purpose.

We continue to seek to increase the percentage that we recycle, baling plastics and cardboard, and stacking unwanted pallets for dispatch to specialist reprocessing agents, when it is economic to do so. This has significantly reduced the quantity of our waste going to landfill sites. Guidance on waste management is issued to the managers of the individual businesses to increase awareness of the need to control and reduce waste. Where possible, wrapping and packing materials are sourced from manufacturers using a high proportion of recycled materials.

Our approach to recycling is of environmental and financial benefit, with the bales of plastic and cardboard and the broken and unwanted wooden pallets either generating income or being collected for minimal charge.

We participate in initiatives to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and increase that going into recycling both local to our businesses and on a national basis. In recent years a number of our businesses received recognition for our proactive approach.

According to Carpet Recycling UK, of which we are a member, 142,000 tonnes of carpet were recovered in 2016 for recycling or energy recovery, equivalent to a landfill diversion rate of 35%, a 14% increase on the 2015 diversion total of 125,000 tonnes. Energy recovery increased by 35% compared to 2015 as the use of carpets as a renewable fuel source in cement kilns continues to replace fossil fuels in this growing sector. A 50% increase in capacity for municipal energy-fromwaste facilities over the past two years has also contributed to greater use of carpet waste in renewable electricity and energy generation.

We continue with initiatives to recover and recycle trimmings of carpet, vinyl and underlay arising during installation by our customers through the provision of on-site dedicated containers.

Within the UK, the Company complies with the Producer Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (as amended) in compliance with the European Union Directive. The Company provides evidence to VALPACK, an organisation that provides confirmation to the UK government that the Company is continuing to meet UK recycling and recovery standards set by Defra.