Transporting our products and bringing exciting new ranges to our customers is an essential part of being a leading fashion retailer. To minimise the impacts of this, we are continuously seeking ways to reduce the travel distances and to bring the maximum capacity from our transport systems.
This year we have seen further consolidation of BHS and Arcadia deliveries on the same vehicle, maximising vehicle loads on routes between sites and reducing store delivery mileage. Introducing ‘inserts’ of Arcadia brands into BHS stores has significantly increased the number of locations to which we deliver, but has enabled us to greatly enhance efficiencies and to combine routes to remote locations.
This has helped us achieve a 10% reduction in CO2 emissions over 2011 – representing our fifth consecutive year of reporting significantly reduced emissions.
Total mileage driven is 9% down on last year. This translates to over 900,000 fewer miles covered – the equivalent of roughly 36 circuits of the earth!
We have undertaken a number of additional initiatives this year that have contributed to these improvements. We have invested in new fleet during the year that complies with the ‘Euro 5’ emissions standard and will allow complete compliance with the London low emission zone. These vehicles will be supplemented by further additions to replace ageing vehicles towards the end of 2012.
Not only are our drivers trained in the principles of the SAFED (Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving) programme, this year we have supplemented that education by training all our drivers in the principles of the Smith System defensive driving programme.
Further consolidation of deliveries to Ireland has taken place, allowing a reduction of mileage and required ferry space. Many initiatives in this area have already led to improvements and we continue to investigate supply chain developments across the freight industry. As part of our international expansion, we are looking at changes to our model. This is likely to include the introduction of international warehouses (or hubs), greater direct shipping from hubs to overseas stores and multi-country consolidation – all initiatives likely to reduce our carbon footprint.
We work with a number of third party forwarders and carriers. These long-term relationships continue because, in large part, our partners understand and reflect our values and objectives.
Our nominated air-freighter, Allport Cargo Services, is ISO 14001 accredited for its environmental management systems and committed to reducing CO2 emissions and complying with all relevant legislation and codes of practice. It has initiatives underway in four key areas:
- Facilities – returning 10% unused power to the grid plus waste programmes;
- Equipment – 10% improved fuel efficiency from introduction of ‘tear drop’ trailers and LPG conversions;
- Local – noise reduction schemes such as fences/ hedges, lorry start-ups away from residential areas; and
- Carriage – increased use of rail and sea-air alternatives.
Our primary ocean forwarder APL is committed to ‘sound environmental management’, which has been recognised with a number of awards this year. These include the coveted Osprey award for marine environmental protection from the US Coast Guard, gateway terminal awards for the port of Seattle and Vancouver and the Environment Protection Award – Seatrade Asia.
Arcadia also selects its ocean ‘port-to-port’ carriers. In this area 35% of our sea-freight is with Maersk Line, the largest shipping line in the world. In the past year it has achieved:
- A lower environmental footprint per container compared both to the industry average and its own prior performance levels;
- A fuel switch programme that reduced sulphur emissions by 65-95% in 11 ports;
- A reduction in accidents;
- Support for disaster-struck communities through active relief aid involvement in Japan, Horn of Africa and the Philippines; and
- Investment in testing bio-fuels, clean gas technology, ballast water treatment systems and innovative ship and container designs.
For inbound road freight (from continental Europe and deliveries from UK-based suppliers) Arcadia operates wholly through third party carriers who have supported the business over a number of years. Our primary carriers are making the necessary investment in low emission vehicles with less drag and moving to cleaner fuels.