Improving the environmental performance of our operations
Based on a consistent and sustainable environmental approach, the Group environmental policy addresses three priorities to manage its carbon emissions and environmental footprint: optimizing the energy efficiency of its sites, reducing the environmental footprint of transportation and limiting packaging and waste.
1. DRIVING THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY
“The quality of environmental management relies on maintaining a consistent approach, centralizing data and accurately evaluating the data we gather.”
– Bertrand de Clermont Tonnerre, Group Sustainable Development Director
Rexel’s environmental management is based on Group-wide impact measurement tools as well as internal awareness.
The Rexel Environmental Charter
To support the operational implementation of its policy, Rexel relies first and foremost on its Environmental Charter. Its goal is to specify the Group’s environmental commitments and to involve all employees in order to make environmental responsibility a part of their everyday practices.
Discover Rexel’s Environmental Charter
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Deploying management tools
By defining and documenting existing procedures, the Group’s Environmental Management System (EMS) contributes to managing the environmental aspects of Rexel operations and enabling the implementation and guidance of improvement plans. The Group encourages the progressive deployment of these systems throughout its subsidiaries by providing them with a standard EMS toolbox containing a roll-out methodology and a set of standard documents in compliance with ISO 14001 requirements.
Environmental reporting is another key element of the Group’s environmental commitment. Verified by an independent third-party organization, it covers more than 30 countries and a very broad range of environmental issues. Its quality and credibility make it an effective performance management tool and it is published externally on an annual basis.
The environmental correspondents
The environmental correspondents have responsibility for applying and coordinating Group environmental policy at entities level. As cornerstones of policy implementation, they gather, process and analyze the data used to monitor performance indicators.
Group environmental coordinators cover all the Group's subsidiary companies
Ecodays awareness campaigns
EcoDays campaigns involve everyone in the Group with the aim of changing individual behavior and updating employees on the Rexel commitment to reducing its environmental footprint by promoting initiatives implemented at global and local levels. The 2015 campaign brought together employees working in 23 countries for the Less CO2 for our Planet competition, which attracted the submission of more than 2,000 eco-ideas, including using less paper, traveling to work on foot or by bike and turning off computers when leaving.
2. MANAGING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Rexel generates relatively low direct CO2 emissions, but its distribution operations create a significant amount of indirect emissions due, for the most part, to transportation. Reducing these emissions is a Group priority alongside reducing the emissions generated by on-site energy usage.
Reducing on-site energy consumption, optimizing logistics and upgrading its vehicle fleet are the three priorities targeted by Rexel to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
3. IMPROVING SITES’ ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Rexel has made building energy management one of the cornerstones of its environmental policy. The goals are many, including reducing costs and the GHG emissions generated by energy consumption, as well as providing a practical demonstration of the efficiency delivered by Rexel solutions.
Optimizing real estate holdings and buildings
Rexel leases the majority of the premises it occupies, but the Group pays close attention to building environmental performance when selecting new locations and when planning building renovations.
- For new locations, Rexel makes every effort to select recently constructed buildings that comply fully with stringent energy efficiency regulations and/or qualify for recognized environmental certification schemes. As a result, the Group HQ in now certified “HQE Exploitation” (High Environmental Quality in operation).
- In those premises it already occupies, the focus is on upgrading energy efficiency by installing low-energy lighting (especially LED systems), implementing building management systems and installing motion sensors to optimize building energy consumption and significantly reduce the associated GHG emissions.
Monitoring consumption and raising user awareness
Measuring energy consumption makes it possible to identify areas for improvement and target resources more effectively, which is why Rexel puts monitoring and management at the heart of its policy. Real-time and monthly consumption monitoring systems have been implemented in many Group locations, especially those in the UK and the USA.
Energy supplies for all 500 or so Rexel USA locations have been managed since 2011 by the energy purchasing and management specialist Ecova. Monthly consumption monitoring allows Rexel to identify abnormal situations and react quickly by implementing corrective measures.
In France, the recently introduced energy transition law requires every large company to audit its energy consumption. Acting ahead of new energy efficiency regulations in Europe, Rexel has already conducted audits and introduced a series of energy consumption measurement and management solutions.
Turning to renewable energy sources
In order to limit their GHG emissions – especially indirect emissions – growing numbers of Rexel subsidiaries are switching to energy from renewable sources like solar photovoltaic panels or biomass-fueled district heating networks (especially in The Netherlands). Since the general introduction of biomass as an energy source for Group branches in the Netherlands, these indirect emissions have reduced by 400 metric tons of CO2 annually.
4. REDUCING THE TRANSPORTATION CARBON FOOTPRINT
Transport-related greenhouse gas emissions account for approximately 40% of the Group’s greenhouse gas emissions (scope 1 and 2) which is why Rexel strives to reducing this environmental footprint by optimizing its logistics flows and renewing its vehicle fleet.
Optimizing logistics processes
Rationalizing logistics flows enables Rexel to deliver a higher quality of service and productivity, all while shrinking its transportation carbon footprint. Thanks to its advanced scheduling systems, the Group strives to optimize its delivery routes and loads: centralizing flows via shared hubs, pooling vehicle fleets and using shared transport are just some of the solutions now in place.
Working closely with transport companies
Since the majority of its logistics flows are out sourced to transport specialists, Rexel carefully selects its service providers, giving priority to contractors able to meet the following criteria:
- Environmental performance of vehicles and maintenance;
- Reporting of environmental indicators;
- Drivers training.
The 100% hybrid partnership between Nedco and Eeko Courrier in Canada
Nedco, Rexel’s Canadian subsidiary and country leader in electric vehicle charging stations, uses the 100% hybrid vehicle fleet operated by Eeko Courriers, which benefits in return from free access to charging stations at Nedco’s branches. The agreement benefits both parties by reducing not only fuel costs and GHG emissions, but also the noise pollution normally associated with urban deliveries.
Managing the car fleet
The business travels inherent to Rexel’s commercial activities represent another area of improvement. In order to limit fuel consumption and the associated GHG emissions, the Group is committed to rationalizing its fleet and improving the environmental performance of the vehicles it uses, regardless of whether they are owned by the companies or leased.
To achieve this, the Group has signed partnership agreements with two leasing companies and five vehicle manufacturers to create a catalog of vehicles specially selected for their environmental performance.
5. LIMITING PACKAGING AND WASTE
Distribution, marketing and sales are core activities for Rexel and induce a large consumption of cardboard, wood and paper. To limit its environmental impact, Rexel strives to control its consumption of packaging and paper, while also reducing the volume of waste it produces and improving its recovery.
Limiting the consumption of packaging materials
Adapting packaging size, designing innovative and recyclable packaging solutions and making use of reusable materials wherever possible are all part of the overall package of solutions implemented by Rexel entities to optimize their packaging consumption.
Rexel logistics hubs in many countries have installed a pre-packaging system that automatically selects the right packaging size for each order.
Innovative and recyclable packaging is another focus for development: for example, Rexel subsidiary Connectis has designed the Roll’n Box, a cardboard box that is lighter than a wooden drum, is easier to handle and can be palletized more easily.
These efforts led to a 4.6% decrease in the Group’s packaging materials consumption in 2015.
Reducing paper consumption
Rexel acts in many different ways to limit its consumption of paper, which is an inherent part of its sales operation.
- All catalogs and brochures are digitized wherever possible;
- The ordering, delivery and billing processes have all been digitalized as part of the multichannel sales structure;
- Rexel works closely with its approved office and printer suppliers to reduce the amount of paper consumed;
- The Group’s fleet of printers has been rationalized and default configurations standardized.
The Group’s overall consumption of paper decreased by 8.4% in 2015, compared with the previous year. Consistent year-on-year improvements in monitoring systems confirm the ability of the Group to manage its consumption of paper: as a result, sales publications are now the subject of separate reporting, enabling the implementation of dedicated consumption reduction plans.
of waste generated in 2015 was recovered
The general introduction of waste sorting in Group logistics centers makes it possible to recycle cardboard, some types of plastic film and wood waste.
The Group encourages the implementation of in-branch sorting systems and the introduction of waste collection and recycling contracts with private contractors for Group entities dependent on local collection systems.
Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) recycling
In Europe, where this regulation applies, Group subsidiaries have set up a system in all branches for collecting WEEE from their customers for the purpose of recycling. Rexel offers a similar service in countries outside Europe, especially for major construction sites. In all, 18 countries have adopted a WEEE management and collection system. In 2015, more than 1,297 tons of WEEE were processed for recycling, including around 986 tons of fluorescent light bulbs and tubes.
countries now have a WEEE collection and recycling system implemented by Rexel for the convenience of its customers
metric tons of WEEE sent for recycling