Net Positive, Kingfisher’s sustainability ambition, maps Kingfisher’s milestones toward creating positive change in its four biggest impact areas timber, energy, innovation and communities. For each area, the goal is to have positive impact by 2050 with the first major milestone towards those goals in 2020.

Kingfisher, one of the largest home improvement retailers in the world, operates 1200 stores in 10 countries in Europe. The company uses timber in around 40 percent of its products – which also explains its emphasis on having a positive impact on forests. Kingfisher recently introduced a new global policy for timber sourcing, and collaborated with businesses and NGOs in forestry issues, for example as a founding partner in the VIA Initiative (Value and Impact Analysis). This two-year initiative from three founding business partners Kingfisher, IKEA and Tetra Pak, is supported by IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative and coordinated by the ISEAL Alliance. The collaborators will support the development of a methodology for assessing the impacts of FSC forest management certification and the piloting of this methodology in selected areas.

For more information on Kingfisher’s Net Positive visit the website.

Kingfisher on the Path to Net Positive

For Kingfisher, Net Positive is about transforming its business to have a restorative impact on the environment, providing products and services that enable its customers to have more sustainable homes, and making a positive contribution to society and the communities in which the company operates. With this sustainability strategy, Kingfisher aims to have a positive impact on people and communities, be restorative to the environment, become carbon positive, waste nothing and create wealth.

“The concept was very much born out of the achievements in our sustainability journey with responsible timber procurement. High proportions of certified product gave us the license to think about the next step towards creating a more sustainable business,” says Jamie Lawrence, senior sustainability advisor of Kingfisher’s Net Positive.

The reasoning behind becoming ‘Net Positive’ comes from the current global situation. The impacts of water scarcity, climate change, and a growing and aging population are some of the global trends affecting the ways businesses do business. As Lawrence explains: “People are increasingly feeling the impact of environmental changes, especially the scarcity of precious resources and the consequences of climate change. The successful companies of the future will be those who respond to these external trends positively, adapting their business to meet changing customer and societal needs with fewer resources.”

Worker in the forest

The main objective of Kingfisher’s timber approach is to create more forest than it uses. To reach this target, the company is taking measures to source responsibly, reduce its forest footprint, source more strategically, improve forests, communicate about responsibly sourced timber products, and partner with other businesses and NGOs. Of its eight timber-related targets Kingfisher is already two years ahead of one of its most important milestones – to get to 100% by 2020. It currently responsibly sources 92 percent of its timber and paper products by volume. The company is on track with its targets for strategic sourcing, improving forests, and the use of responsibly sourced paper and timber in catalogs and goods that are not sold.

“Forests are crucial for global health and well-being, and for our business,” says Lawrence. “But around the world we are still losing forest at an alarming rate. Demand for timber is set to triple by 2050, which could lead to global shortages and significant price increases. To protect these vital resources over the longer term, we need to go further than just replacing what we ourselves use.”

“Taking a restorative approach is the best way to safeguard our future timber supplies at an affordable price. It is also important to protect biodiversity and to help mitigate the effects of climate change. The first step is responsible sourcing because this means we can be confident the timber we buy is contributing to a positive impact in the forest; FSC provides us with a consensually agreed proxy for what sustainably managed forests look like, we don’t have that privileged position in many other sustainability challenges that our businesses face,” Lawrence concludes.