Reducing our own environmental footprint

Our ambition is to be a leader in reducing our own environmental footprint and challenging our suppliers to ensure our own consumption of resources, goods and services is sustainable. We’ve consistently reduced our environmental impacts, thanks to our ambitious Environmental Action Plan launched in 2010.

Our Environmental Targets and Progress

Our environmental programme focuses on measuring, managing and reducing our most significant impacts: carbon footprint; energy use; business travel; operational waste; and water consumption. We regularly review our environmental targets to ensure they are both market leading and stretching.

Target Baseline (2009) 2018 Performance Reduction from baseline

60% reduction in CO2e by 2030

562,845 tonnes

244,407 tonnes (location-based)

115,467 tonnes (market-based)




50% reduction in energy consumption by 2030

957 GWh

582 GWh


60% reduction in business travel related CO2e by 2030

76,067 tonnes

36,701 tonnes


40% reduction in water consumption by 2030

1,349,029 m3

1,109,809 m3


80% reduction in total operational waste by 2025

Baseline 2014/5:
20,831 tonnes

14,036 tonnes


Environmental Action Plan – 2018 performance highlights

Carbon Emissions

The Group has set a carbon reduction target to reduce overall location based CO2e by 60 per cent by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050, in line with the UK’s emission reduction targets.

We have made progress against this target through our energy management programme and reduction in business travel, which has resulted in a 57 percent reduction in our location based emissions from these sources since our 2009 baseline.

In addition, we have sourced Renewable Energy Guaranteed Origin (REGO) certificates equivalent to our UK electricity consumption. This has been accounted for within our market based figures, which have reduced to 115,467 tonnes of CO2e, a decrease of 62 per cent year‑on‑year and of 79 per cent against our 2009 baseline.

To demonstrate our commitment to supporting the transition to the low carbon economy we have joined the RE100 campaign, a collaborative, global initiative uniting businesses committed to 100% renewable energy.

97% of our global electricity supply is currently certified renewable (100% of our UK supply). We now aim to source 100% certified renewable electricity across our global operations by 2020.

We plan to build upon this commitment by increasing the proportion of electricity sourced via renewables projects which would not otherwise be built or become operational without our involvement (i.e. via Power Purchase Agreements or Onsite Generation). We currently source over 25% of our electricity in this way, and we now aim to increase the proportion of electricity sourced via additional renewable projects to at least 60% by 2025. Our preference is to support solar, offshore wind or onshore wind projects to meet this aim.

This is the first step in developing a longer term and sustainable carbon strategy. UK electricity consumption accounts for a significant proportion of the Group’s carbon footprint and therefore we are approaching achievement of our 2050 target early (when using market-based reporting).

In 2019, we will undertake a review of our carbon emissions strategy focussing on the key principles of: continuing the reduction in our energy and travel footprint; sourcing as much electricity from renewable sources as possible; and exploring off-setting options for areas where we are unable to reduce or source renewable energy directly.

Energy use

The energy we use accounts for a significant proportion of our CO2e emissions, so it’s important that we become more energy efficient. This year we:

•  Consumed 39 per cent less energy compared to our 2009 baseline.

•  Continued our optimisation of energy consumption at our buildings. This has improved our energy efficiency with a reduction in energy consumed per m2 floor area by 6.8%, compared to our baseline.

•  Completed 75 energy audits across our retail estate as part of our ESOS Phase II compliance programme, bringing the total number of audits completed in the last two years to 150.

•  Continued our programme to implement an ISO50001 certified energy management system, which includes our offices and data centres, to work towards completion of ESOS Phase II compliance in 2019.

Business travel

Our total business travel in 2018 was 212 million km, a decrease of 5.1 per cent compared with 2017. This year:

•  We have continued our move from face-to-face meetings to video conferencing as part of the drive to be an agile organisation.

•  We have installed 19 plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV) charging points at 6 of our office sites and have plans to install a further 52 across 31 sites during the early part of 2019, to encourage our colleagues to choose a lower-carbon method of travel.


This year we cut our total operational waste yet again – by 4 per cent compared with 2017

  • We sent 188 less tonnes of waste to landfill, compared to 2017.
  • We continued to reduce waste in catering by sending cooking oil for reprocessing as biofuel, saving 48 tonnes of CO2 in 2018.
  • In 2018 we gave a reusable Keep Cup to colleagues at 48 of our largest office sites, introduced a 25p disposable cup levy and removed all plastic cutlery, plastic straws and condiments sachets from our restaurants and cafes. We expect this to avoid the use of over 35 million items of plastic waste annually.
  • Plans are in place to continue reducing catering, cleaning and stationery waste throughout 2019.
  • In addition, we run a furniture recycling programme, which enables us to reuse, recycle or donate unwanted and broken furniture that would otherwise enter our waste stream. Between Oct 2017 and Sep 2018 we reused 1071 items of furniture through this programme and donated 2322 items to charity.
  • In 2019 we aim to remove another 20 million items of single use plastic which will bring us to a 90% reduction (based on the plastic we used in 2017). We’ll be working closely with our suppliers and colleagues to move towards becoming 100% free of single use plastic in our catering & cleaning operations, and will collaborate with colleagues to identify further ways we can remove single use plastics from other parts of our organisation. 



We reduced our overall water consumption by 19 per cent compared to the 2009 baseline. We plan to improve the efficiency of our water usage in 2019 by trialling innovative water reduction solutions, including flow restrictors on taps, with the first installation scheduled for March 2019.

Buildings and Construction

We achieved RICS Ska accreditation at 28 of our buildings in 2018. As a proportion of all projects that were delivered 24.5% achieved silver rating, validating environmental best practice. When we undertake refurbishment, we aim to minimise as much ‘end of life’ waste as possible; in 2018, 96.7% of our construction waste was diverted from landfill.