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We made excellent progress in the last two years, reducing carbon per £million of revenue by 7.3%, almost achieving our two-year stretch target of -7.5%.

Wolseley's absolute carbon emissions reduced by 6.4 per cent in the two years to 31 July 2014.

Absolute tonnes CO2 diagram


PwC has provided limited assurance against ISAE 3000 for selected key data in 2014. Where you see the symbol A it indicates data has been externally assured. The full Independent Limited Assurance Report and the Basis of Reporting can be downloaded from the Related Links menu to the right.

Our approach to measuring carbon was developed in accordance with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (“GHG Protocol”). Emissions are calculated using DEFRA carbon factors and are reported as tonnes of CO2 equivalent (abbreviated as tCO2e), based on the Global Warming Potential (“GWP”) of each of the “basket of six” greenhouse gases, as defined by the Kyoto Protocol.

Inaccuracies identified during preparation for assurance resulted in adjustments to the 2011/12 and 2012/13 carbon data


Wolseley’s reported data includes all major businesses and head office locations (with 25 employees or more), representing over 99 per cent of Wolseley Group’s total employee numbers. 

Scope 1 emissions include vehicle fuel emissions (from owned or leased vehicles) and fuels used for operation including natural gas, LPG, diesel, petrol and oil.  Scope 2 emissions include purchased electricity and heat (i.e. district heating). Scope 3 emissions include the road-based transportation of goods by outsourced transport providers, road-based business travel in private vehicles and air and rail-based business travel.

Performance by scope can be seen in the table below:

tCO₂e/£m revenue
Carbon emissions 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 Two-year Variance
Scope 1 & 2 emissions 32.4 27.9 28 -13.4%
Scope 3 emissions 7.2 8.7 8.6 20.4%
Total emissions 39.5 36.6 36.7Assured -7.3%

As a Group, the biggest contributors to carbon emissions are vehicle fuel (53 per cent of total tCO2e, including both commercial vehicle and company cars, owned and outsourced fleets), and electricity (29 per cent). Fuel consumption for operations (i.e. gas, oil and district heating consumption) represents 15 per cent of the carbon footprint. Refrigerant leakage and rail and air-based business travel account for 1 per cent and 2 per cent respectively.

The improved emissions performance for the Group was driven by a number of initiatives including the implementation of route optimisation programmes, the fitting of tracking devices to trucks and running eco-driver training. Company car fleets continue to be upgraded with more fuel-efficient vehicles.  The USA has expanded its successful energy-efficient lighting programme into more new locations. The Canadian business unit has switched all sites to low-energy lighting. Other initiatives include heating system upgrades and fuel-switching (i.e. oil to electric heating).

Our business units all have new two- year targets, achievable by 31 July 2016, to reduce carbon emissions (relative to £million revenue).  The targets cover direct and indirect emissions (scopes 1, 2 and 3).

Additionally, we reduced our suppliers’ emissions through “backhauling”.

In the USA and UK business units, drivers collect products from supplier factories when driving back to their distribution centres (“DCs”), following branch deliveries. In 2013/14 the US business, through its carrier UPS, filled 35 per cent of its DC backhaul “empty miles”.

Case studies

LEED certified distribution centre