B&Q to cut carbon pollution

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The Independent Online
B&Q, the do-it-yourself giant owned by the retail group Kingfisher, will today pledge to plant trees and reduce carbon emissions in an attempt to fight global warming and cut its energy costs

The UK's largest DIY chain will tell more than 1,500 suppliers, staff and local authorities gathered in Birmingham for an environmental conference that it is to become "carbon-neutral" from next year.

Under the plans, B&Q will ensure that the polluting gases emitted by its lorries and stores are offset by a programme of environmental improvements. The retailer estimates that its operations release 110,000 tonnes of carbon gases into the atmosphere each year and is looking at radical ways to curb them.

The measures, which are designed to boost B&Q's green credentials, are set to include the use of renewable energy, such as solar or nuclear power in a large portion of its 284 stores.

The introduction of environmentally friendly fuels for its fleet of trucks is also on the cards. B&Q already owns a gas-powered lorry and is looking at acquiring several more.

The retailer will also promise to plant a number of trees in environmentally deprived areas of the world in order to reduce global warming.

B&Q's environmental drive comes after reports that the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, is planning to levy a pounds 2bn energy tax on business to help Britain meet its target of a per cent cut in greenhouse tax emissions by 2010.

A spokeswoman for B&Q denied that the measures were driven by Mr Brown's plans. She said B&Q's environmental drive would have little impact on Kingfisher's balance sheet in 1999 and 2000, and added that the environmental plan was set to yield cost savings in the medium-term.

Martin Toogood, B&Q's managing director, said: "More and more businesses are aware that selling goods and services for a profit is only part of the picture. For a retailer such as B&Q which touches so many communities across the world, it is in our interest to be a responsible and responsive part of those communities. Being carbon-neutral is just a small contribution."

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