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In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the Travis Perkins plc website for the company's environmental policy or report. Ethical Consumer also viewed the company's Environmental Policy, Annual Report 2019 and Supplier Commitments document.

The company's webpages on the environment covered responsible timber sourcing, carbon emissions and waste. The company stated that they asked suppliers to maximise the use of non-virgin materials in products and packaging. The company sourced 97% certified timber (either FSC or PEFC). The company reported its scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions. It stated it was aiming to reduce its scope 1 emissions by investing in low emissions vehicles and other distribution initiatives. It was reducing its scope 2 emissions through investment in LED lighting.

The company website contained a link to an Environmental Policy (2019) which spoke of ISO 14001 accreditation. It stated: "Our key operational commitments are to:
• Reduce our waste, divert it from landfill and enhance our reuse and recycling programmes.
• Continue to measure and reduce our carbon footprint, seek alternative renewable energy solutions and improve our vehicle fuel efficiency.
• Better understand our products’ environmental footprint and reduce it.
• Develop and deliver environmental training to enhance our colleagues’ knowledge and skill enabling them to improve our environmental performance."

The Supplier Commitments document (2020) contained a section on responsibility, outlining how the company expected suppliers to comply with environmental standards. These included "Manage the extraction of any natural materials with care and consideration for local communities and the environment." Other statements covered responsible timber sourcing, minimising energy, resource and water use, reducing plastic packaging and making products recyclable where possible.

Though this demonstrated the company was aware of the need to respect the environment throughout the supply chain, the document placed all onus upon the suppliers. Aside from the company's timber commitments, there was no statement or discussion of other material sourcing or product-related topics in the context of the company's own environmental impact. Therefore it was not considered to have demonstrated a reasonable understanding of its environmental impact.

The company's annual report also stated that it was committed to supplying sustainable products that supported low-carbon homes. No future dated targets for carbon or waste were provided. The company stated "In 2020, the Group will set a new long-term carbon reduction target, taking into account UK Government commitments to net-zero carbon. A detailed Carbon Roadmap will be developed to support achievement of the new target." A similar statement was made for waste.

The annual report's 2019 data on waste, timber and carbon emissions was verified by Lloyd's Register and the website contained a copy of their Limited Assurance Statement.

An environmental policy was deemed necessary to report on a company's environmental performance and set targets for reducing its impacts in the future. A strong policy would include two future, quantified environmental targets, demonstration by the company that it had a reasonable understanding of its main environmental impacts, be dated within two years and have its environmental data independently verified.

The company had a policy and report dated within the 2 years with verified environmental data, however did not meet the criteria of demonstrating a reasonable understanding of it environmental impact, nor having quantified future targets. It therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Environmental Reporting and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

www.travisperkinsplc.co.uk (6 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed the website of Travis Perkins plc, looking for information on what the company was doing to tackle climate change. The company's Annual Report 2019 was also viewed.

Ethical Consumer was looking for the following:
For the company to discuss its areas of climate impact, and to discuss plausible ways it has cut them in the past, and ways that it will cut them in the future.

For the company to not be involved in any particularly damaging projects like tar sands, oil or aviation, to not be subject to damning secondary criticism regarding it’s climate actions, and to have a policy to avoid investing in fossil fuels.

For the company to report annually on its scope 1&2 greenhouse gas emissions (direct emissions by the company), and to go some way towards reporting on its scope 3 emissions (emissions from the supply chain, investments and sold products).

For the company to have a target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with international agreements (counted as the equivalent of at least 2.5% cut per year in scope 1&2 emissions), and to not count offsetting towards this target.

The website contained pages on the website on sourcing responsible timber and reducing carbon emissions. The website stated "we have committed to developing a set of ‘Science Based Targets’ for future carbon reductions." It reported scope 1 and scope 2 emissions annually and gave examples of how it sought to reduce these. For scope 1 this consisted of distribution measures including low emissions vehicles, and for scope 2 this consisted of increasing the use of LED lighting.

The Annual Report discussed the company selling products that support low-carbon homes. It also provided verified 2019 scope 1 and scope 2 carbon emissions data. On targets it stated "In 2020, the Group will set a new long-term carbon reduction target, taking into account UK Government commitments to net-zero carbon. A detailed Carbon Roadmap will be developed to support achievement of the new target."

Ethical Consumer also viewed the company's "Supplier Commitments" document which outlined expectations of suppliers, including: "Minimise the use of energy and fuel throughout your operations and source renewable energy and use renewable technologies wherever possible, supporting the Global drive to achieve net zero carbon." Though this demonstrated the need for lower emissions in its supply chain, it was not considered to demonstrate that the company was aware of specific significant sources of carbon emissions in its supply chain, and that it was its own responsibility and intention to reduce these.

Overall, the company reported its scope 1 and 2 emissions but did not show a reasonable understanding of its climate impacts and how to address these. Therefore it received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for carbon management and reporting and lost a whole mark under Climate Change.

Reference:

www.travisperkinsplc.co.uk (6 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer searched the Travis Perkins plc website for the company's policy on the use of potentially hazardous chemicals in the manufacture of solar PV panels. Travis Perkins distributed solar PV products through its Solfex subsidiary. The Solfex website was also viewed. No policy was found.

Given that the industrial manufacture of solar panels involves the use, release and treatment of numerous polluting and toxic substances, Ethical Consumer considered that a good policy on this matter must at least include:

(a) a priority list of hazardous and polluting chemicals
(b) a set of clear, dated targets to remove discharge of all hazardous and polluting chemicals
(c) a requirement that suppliers disclose information on the release of hazardous chemicals
(d) publicly disclosed data on the hazardous chemicals used and progress towards removing them
(e) a discussion of alternatives to current hazardous chemicals used (ie. not reducing their use, but replacing them)

Ethical Consumer also viewed the website of Wickes, a Travis Perkins subsidiary company and found an electronic own brand product. The Travis Perkins plc website was therefore searched for the company's policy on the use of potentially hazardous chemicals such as, BFRs and PVC and/or phthalates. A toxics policy was deemed necessary for all electronics companies, as these substances were widely used by electronics companies and had a significant negative environmental impact when released after disposal.

A strong policy on toxics would include publicly disclosed data on the use of hazardous chemicals such as BFRs and PVC and/or phthalates; as well as clear, dated targets for ending their use.

The website contained a link to a document entitled "Supplier Commitments: Guidance and Further Information: Chemicals" which stated, "We also expect all our suppliers to ensure that products supplied to The Travis Perkins Group are free of any banned substances and compliant with any restrictions detailed in REACH." Similar statements were made for other European regulations. No detail was provided regarding the aforementioned hazardous chemicals commonly found in electronics.

As the company had no policies on the use of toxic chemicals in electronics or solar PV it lost a whole mark under Ethical Consumer's Pollution and Toxics category.

Reference:

www.travisperkinsplc.co.uk (6 January 2021)

In January 2019, Ethical Consumer viewed the Wickes website to find information on its use of toxic chemicals in its products, specifically Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Titanium Oxide and Methylisothiazolinone (MIT).

No information could be found.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are compounds that can easily become vapours. They are found in many consumer products. In the presence of sunlight, VOCs can react with nitrogen oxides to produce ground level ozone and photochemical smog. VOCs are not acutely toxic but can lead to long-term health effects including lung damage, cancer, liver & kidney damage, central nervous system damage.

Petroleum consumption for the production of titanium dioxide has negative effects on the environment, as titanium is a relatively scarce and non-renewable resource. Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is an allergen and inhaling it has been known to cause toxicity, allergies and possible neurotoxicity.

As it did not appear to have any products with minimal VOCs, nor free of titanium dioxide and methylisothiazolinone (MIT); nor had plans to phase them out; nor had ingredients lists available, it received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for Pollution and Toxics and lost a whole mark in this category.

Reference:

www.wickes.co.uk (4 February 2019)

In January 2021, Ethical Consumer searched Wickes' website for a cotton sourcing policy. Although the company sold a range of products which included cotton - dust sheets, work clothes, cloths. No policy could be found.

According to Anti-Slavery international (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in August 2018, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan were two of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, and every year their governments forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton. Due to the high proportion of cotton likely to have come from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and the prevalence of forced labour in its production, the company lost half a mark in the Workers Rights' category.

The Organic Trade Association website, www.ota.com, stated in July 2018 that cotton covered roughly 2.78% of global arable land, but accounted for 12.34% of all insecticide sales and 3.94% of herbicide sales. Due to the impacts of the widespread use of pesticides in cotton production worldwide the company also lost half a mark in the Pollution & Toxics category.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro biotech organisation, genetically modified cotton accounted for 80% of cotton grown in 2017. Due to the prevalence of GM cotton in cotton supply chains and the lack of any evidence that the company avoided it, it was assumed that some of the company's cotton products contained some GM material. As a result it lost half a mark under the Controversial Technology category.

Overall the company received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its cotton sourcing policy.

Reference:

www.wickes.co.uk (4 February 2019)

In January 2019, Ethical Consumer viewed the Wickes website for the company’s policy on timber sourcing.

It stated, “More than a third of Wickes products contain some timber or timber fibre. Much of the timber used in these products is produced by Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified companies.” It then went on to give more detail about FSC. This showed a preference for certified sources.

It further stated, “Wickes is currently looking into ways of increasing the percentage of its timber sourced through chains of custody, a process overseen by the WWF Forest and Trade Network.” This showed the company had involvement with a multi-stakeholder initiative or bridging programme.

Ethical Consumer’s timber sourcing ranking required companies scoring a ‘best’ to cover six of the below issues:

1. having a timber sourcing policy that covers all timber and timber-derived products
2. the exclusion of illegal timber or that sourced from unknown sources
3. a discussion on how the company ensures/ implements this
4. clear targets for sourcing timber from sustainably managed sources
5. a discussion of a good minimum standard
6. preference given to certified sources
7. a discussion about tropical hardwoods (THW) and the percentage of THW sourced that are FSC certified
8. involvement with a multi-stakeholder initiative or bridging programme such as the World Wildlife Fund- Global Forest Trade Network
9. use of reclaimed or recycled wood/ paper
10. a high total percentage (50%+) of FSC certified timber sourced by the company.

As the company had only two of the above requirements (numbers 6 and 8) it received Ethical Consumer’s worst rating for timber dourcing and lost a whole mark in the Habitats and Resources category.

Reference:

www.wickes.co.uk (4 February 2019)

In January 2021, Ethical Consumer searched the Travis Perkins plc website for information on the company's approach to conflict minerals. A document called 'Supplier Commitments: Guidance and further information: conflict minerals' was found.

The document stated: "As part of our commitment to responsible sourcing and the respect of human rights, it’s the aim of the Travis Perkins Group to not support the use of minerals that have fuelled conflict in the DRC or other recognised areas of conflict. We expect our suppliers to support our efforts to identify the origin of any 3TG minerals in our products. You’re therefore expected to source these minerals in a responsible and informed manner, and where your sources are found to be in conflict zones, to find acceptable new sources for your products. It’s therefore important that you undertake due diligence to identify use of any of these minerals in your products, to source them responsibly, and to not knowingly supply us with products containing minerals that fuel conflict and human rights abuses."

The company did not commit to ongoing sourcing from the DRC (which Ethical Consumer considers best practice for supporting the area); did not appear to be a member of any multi-stakeholder intiatives tackling the issue; and did not commit to any due diligence.

Conflict minerals are minerals mined in conditions of armed conflict and human rights abuses, notably in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The minerals in question are Tantalum, Tin, Tungsten and Gold (3TG for short) and are key components of electronic devices, from mobile phones to televisions.

Ethical Consumer expected all companies manufacturing electronics to have a policy on the sourcing of conflict minerals. Such a policy would articulate the company's commitment to conflict-free sourcing of 3TG minerals and a commitment to continue ensuring due diligence on the issue. The policy should also state that it intended to continue sourcing from the DRC region in order to avoid an embargo and that the company had membership of, or gave financial support to, organisations developing the conflict-free industry in the region.

It therefore received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for its conflict mineral policy and lost a full mark under both Human Rights and Habitats & Resources.

Reference:

www.travisperkinsplc.co.uk (6 January 2021)

In January 2021 Ethical Consumer viewed Travis Perkins plc's website for the company's policy on timber sourcing.

Ethical Consumer's timber sourcing ranking required companies scoring a 'best' to cover six of the below issues:
1. Having a timber sourcing policy that covers all timber and timber-derived products
2. the exclusion of illegal timber or that sourced from unknown sources and...
3. ...a discussion on how a company ensures/ implements this
4. clear targets for sourcing timber from sustainably managed sources
5. a discussion of a good minimum standard
6. preference given to certified sources
7. a discussion about tropical hardwoods (THW) and the percentage of THW sourced that are FSC certified
8. involvement with a multi-stakeholder initiative or bridging programme such as the World Wildlife Fund- Global Forest Trade Network
9. use of reclaimed or recycled wood/ paper
10. a high total percentage (50%+) of FSC certified timber sourced by the company.

The following document was also viewed: "Supplier Commitments: Guidance and Further Information: Timber".

1/2. The Supplier Commitments document stated "It’s the intention of the Travis Perkins Group to make sure all our timber and timber products are sourced responsibly and legally, and without causing deforestation or degradation."

3. The document also stated that "The easiest way for suppliers to support our intentions is to purchase material which complies with the EU Timber Regulation and has a Chain of Custody certified by either the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC ®) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)... We’ll only accept products without FSC or PEFC Chain of Custody certification where prior approval has been granted by exception after a formal risk assessment. We’ll take swift and prompt action to remove any timber from our business if we receive credible information that it doesn’t meet our policy requirements or values. Should the credibility of a certificate or mitigating information be in doubt, we may apply additional verification measures or obtain further assurances that a source is in line with our policy and values. This could include third party isotope, DNA or fibre testing to validate species and country of origin claims." Travis Perkins was considered to have demostrated a method of ensuring timber was not sourced from unknown sources or illegally.

4. No target was found on either the Travis Perkins website or the Supplier Commitments document.

5. See answer 3 for Travis Perkins' minimum standard.

6. Travis Perkin's preferred timber from certified sources.

7. Travis Perkins did not appear to have a discussion in its timber sourcing policy about tropical wood and / or the percentage of tropical wood it sourced certified FSC.

8. The Supplier Commitment document contained a link to the WWF Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) and the Travis Perkins plc website stated "in 2017 we secured a best-possible ‘3 trees’ rating in the WWF’s timber scorecard." Ethical Consumer could not find any up to date information on WWF's GFTN participating companies. In the absence of any information to the contrary, Travis Perkins was considered to still be involved with the WWF and its work around timber.

9. Travis Perkins did not mention the use of recycled wood/paper.

10. Ethical Consumer viewed Travis Perkins plc's Annual Report 2019 which stated that 71% of timber sourced came from FSC certified sources in 2019.

As it met 7 of the 10 criteria, Travis Perkins received Ethical Consumer's best rating for its timber sourcing policy.

Reference:

www.travisperkinsplc.co.uk (6 January 2021)