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Improving our environmental performance

With more than 2,000 sites and a presence in 24 countries, Rexel faces an environmental challenge that resides more in the dispersed nature of its impact internationally than in its scale. Today, the Group applies an ambitious and consistent strategy to reduce its GHG emissions and its direct environmental footprint. Energy, transport, resource consumption, and waste management: Rexel is increasing its commitment everywhere it operates.

Bertrand de Clermont Tonnerre

“The transition of companies toward an even more sustainable and therefore resilient model must be the corollary of any long-term value creation aims. Energy management alone can make up 40% of the reduction in GHG emissions necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. And considering Rexel’s privileged position at the heart of the electrical value chain, it is our responsibility to act and to mobilize our stakeholders to build a sustainable future together.”

Bertrand de Clermont Tonnerre
Group Sustainable Development Director at Rexel

STRONG CLIMATE COMMITMENTS

Commitment is expressed through action, not only through words. For the past several years, Rexel has shown transparency as well as ambition on environmental issues. In its direct activities as in its relationships with its partners and customers, the Group is an engaged player in the collective battle against climate change and for the preservation of natural resources.

An ambitious environmental policy

Rexel’s approach

Rexel has developed procedures, tools, and resources with the goal of better managing and controling its environmental impact. This approach is organized in three levels:

Common procedures and rules for all subsidiaries

An Environmental Charter published in 23 languages is disseminated among the Group’s subsidiaries and is regularly updated. The document explains Rexel’s three major commitments in this regard: Improve the environmental performance of its buildings, reduce the environmental footprint of its operations, and develop and promote energy-efficient solutions.

Controlled application of these rules in daily operations

In order to quantify its environmental impact and progression, Rexel has a centralized reporting system. This precious management tool fosters continuous improvement of the Group’s performance as well as information sharing between subsidiaries.
The reporting reference document relies on internationally recognized standards, such as those of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) version 4 or of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol). The reporting procedures and results are audited and validated every year by an independent third-party organization.

Performance indicators to validating progress

Reporting comprises a series of key performance indicators that provide a comprehensive vision of Rexel’s environmental footprint. These data enable the observation of changes and progress in every area of activity, subsidiary by subsidiary. A synthesis is then sent to each country to allow the Group’s entities to situate themselves with respect to each other.

69
Rexel relies on a network of 69 environmental correspondents divided between the subsidiaries. These experts are tasked with gathering, processing, and analyzing the data used for the monitoring of performance indicators.

The 2° global temperature target

Rexel is determined to support the collective effort to limit global warming to below +2°C from now to 2100 and has set goals for 2030 that are consistent with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
As a signatory of the UN Global Compact since 2011, Rexel has had its goals validated for scopes 1 and 2 (see below) by the prestigious Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). This international initiative is the fruit of a collaboration between the UN Global Compact, the World Wildlife Fund, the CDP, and the World Resources Institute (WRI). The SBTi’s mission is to identify and encourage best practices in goal-setting using a scientific approach. It also independently assesses the environmental goals of companies that request it.

During a Capital Markets Day on June 16, 2022, the Rexel Group upgraded its targets and is committed to reducing by 2030, in comparison to 2016:
60% of the GHG emissions related to the use of energy by the Group’s operations (scopes 1 and 2).
60% of the GHG emissions related to the use of sold products, per euro of sales (scope 3).

Of these two major goals, the second is more ambitious – and for a good reason, since the use of products sold by Rexel by its customers and end-users represents 92% of the Group’s GHG emissions across the entire value chain.
Rexel’s unique position at the heart of the electrical industry must enable it to guide the sector’s growth toward an ambitious low-carbon energy transition.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the entire value chain

With this goal, Rexel is fostering the acceleration of the energy and environmental transition. From one end of the value chain to the other, the Group wants to be in a position to reduce its CO2 emissions, as well as those of its partners, customers, and end-users.
Rexel has set three priorities: Act responsibly in its internal operations, be a guide and advisor for its customers, and be an influencer in all of its partnerships.

Across its value chain, the direct emissions from the energy consumption of buildings and vehicles used every day by Rexel’s employees account for barely 0.3% of the total. This is the area of scopes 1 and 2.
Scope 3 corresponds to the external carbon footprint, whether recorded upstream in the manufacture of products distributed by Rexel, or downstream via the use of these same products by customers, and especially by end-users. Scope 3 also includes the transport of these products by service providers. This scope represents more than 99% of all GHG emissions in Rexel’s value chain.

Carbon emissions: 2021 performance setting the stage

In 2021, scopes 1 and 2 emissions reached 87,572 tons CO2 equivalent. Despite an increase of around 15% in activity in 2021 versus 2020, these internal emissions only increased by 0.8% on a constant scope basis during the period.

Indirect greenhouse gas emissions (scope 3) were estimated at 32.7 million tons CO2 equivalent in 2021, i.e., 99.7% of the Group’s overall impact on the climate. This is the best estimation available, based on a robust and audited methodology. To this end, Rexel has improved the reliability of its estimations through the addition of greenhouse gas emission factors for around 160 product categories and by country.

-15.7%
in emissions related to the electrical consumption of buildings, a reduction partially fostered by the widespread adoption of telework and anticipated building renovations, as well as by temporary site closures
+2.6%
in emissions related to the transport of goods. The positive effects of truck load optimization in a context of sustained activity
5,000 tons CO2 equivalent
The reduction of scopes 1 and 2 carbon emissions (around -5%) is directly related to the effects of the pandemic
-24.8%
The reduction of direct GHG emissions in 2021 versus 2016 and on a constant scope basis
47.6%
“green” sales in 2021, i.e., the results of the sale of products and services providing energy gains and limiting CO2 emissions
-29.5%
The reduction in Rexel’s carbon intensity versus 2016, on a constant scope basis

Strengthening the energy efficiency of the Group’s sites

The buildings of the Group’s branches and logistics centers account for 43% of direct scope 1 GHG emissions (2021).
Since improving the energy performance of these buildings includes measuring and controling consumption, for the past several years, Rexel has adopted a continuous improvement approach integrated into the heart of its environmental management system. On the agenda: Thermal renovation, reducing energy consumption, green energy purchases, and even on-site renewable energy production.

As contributors to this global momentum, a growing number of Rexel’s subsidiaries are implementing their energy-efficient action plans following energy audits or a certification. Taken together, they are participating in the ongoing reduction of the Group’s energy consumption.

Our approach

The optimization of our sites’ energy efficiency relies on three complementary levels of requirements:
The application of the Environmental Charter. At the end of 2021, Rexel’s Environmental Charter was displayed in 93% of the Group’s sites.
The application of the Environmental Management System (EMS). In 2013, the Rexel Group created its own environmental management standard, a true toolbox to support, accelerate, and harmonize the deployment of EMSs in its subsidiaries. EMSs specify the environmental management procedures of activities and strengthen the control of on-site improvement plans.
The environmental certification of sites. Ten Rexel subsidiaries have undertaken an ISO 14001 certification process for their activities. Some of them, representing 15% of sites and 7% of the Group’s on-site energy consumption, are also involved in the implementation of energy management systems that meet the ISO 50001 standard. Since 2018, the Austrian and British subsidiaries have begun an overall process concretized by the achievement of four certifications (ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 50001, and OHSAS 18001).

42%
of Rexel’s sites use an environmental management system
23.8%
of sites are covered by a certified environmental management system
24%
of sites have obtained ISO 14001 certification

Concrete measures

Greenhouse gas emissions associated with on-site energy combustion represent around 43% of the Group’s scope 1 emissions. To lower these emissions, as well as demonstrate exemplary behavior in the implementation of energy-efficient and renewable energy solutions that the Group promotes, Rexel maintains an active approach.

Cestas 2: A new generation logistics center
-0.2%
Overall, the reduction in electrical consumption of Rexel’s sites between 2020 and 2021, despite much greater in-person activity in 2021 (Covid).
20.4%
In 2021, the share of electrical consumption from guaranteed renewable origin contracts or from the on-site production of renewable energy, versus 17.8% in 2020.

Changes* in on-site energy consumption

*MWh, on a constant scope basis

Reducing the carbon footprint of transport

Transport is an important part of Rexel’s sustainable development policy. The GHG emissions related to the transport of goods by the internal fleet and those of professional travel using company cars represented 27% and 29%, respectively, of the Group’s direct scope 1 emissions in 2021.

Rexel has begun an immense effort to optimize its logistics flows, from suppliers to customers. Thanks to a flexible organization, the Group has successfully optimized its supply process in order to align them ever more closely with customers’ needs. But while sales activity requires the daily presence of the sales force across the regions, Rexel makes sure to reduce the environmental impact of this essential transport.

Redesigned logistics flows

The Rexel Group has the particularity of possessing a large network of branches in most of the countries in which it operates. This advanced logistics organization enables it to deliver 500,000 lines of orders on a just-in-time basis per day. This is an immense challenge that has led Rexel over the past few years to streamline and rationalize its organization and its processes.

In order to reduce its carbon footprint, Rexel focuses on several different areas every day:
transport pooling, especially via outsourcing to service providers capable of optimizing truck loading with other local businesses,
rationalizing delivery rounds thanks to high-performance planning tools. In France, for example, Rexel can rely on a complete network of 450 points of sale, enabling it to optimize its flows,
optimizing vehicle loading,
using GPS systems with built-in performance indicators,
monitoring performance indicators in all of its subsidiaries, including fuel consumption, CO2 emissions per kilometer, etc.,
using electric and hybrid vehicles in Rexel’s fleet of cars and utility vehicles,
prioritizing “clean” transport providers. With half of its logistics flows outsourced, the Group pays special attention to the choice of its service providers and prefers those who best ensure the environmental performance of their vehicles, the reporting of performance indications, and the eco-driving training of their drivers,
delivering to certain customers in densely populated city centers with the help of cargo bicycles.

Concrete achievements and innovations

The success of Microlise.

The success of Microlise. Rexel’s British subsidiary installed the Microlise solution in 2016 in almost all of its utility vehicle fleet. This solution captures data on road behavior, consumption, and the greenhouse gas emissions of the vehicle in real-time. Its use has resulted in a reduction in fuel consumption as well as an improvement in driver behavior.

Points of sale closer to customers

Points of sale closer to customers. To limit its transport-related carbon footprint, the Group provides its customers with lockers that allow them to retrieve their orders in partner Indigo parking structures. Launched in eight parking decks in the Ile-de-France region, this experiment lets customers order supplies online or by telephone and choose the closest pick-up point to their worksite. Their order is available the next day in a “Rexel Box,” accessible 24/7.

Rexel Express, a logistical and environmental innovation

Rexel Express, a logistical and environmental innovation. In 2021, Rexel France opened Rexel Express, an innovative local distribution center coupled with a digital branch, serving Paris and its suburbs. Here, a robotized order preparation platform processes more than 20,000 SKUs, which are then provided for customers to retrieve in lockers. Going a step further, Rexel Express includes ecological local transport solutions, like two-hour delivery by bicycle or natural gas-powered vehicle.

Changing* energy consumption for internal fleets

*MWh, on a constant scope basis

Promoting a zero-carbon world

For nearly 15 years, Rexel has affirmed its will to help fight climate change. At the heart of the electrical industry, the Group promotes and accelerates the dissemination of eco-efficient solutions and renewable energies with its 635,000 active customers around the world.

Seeking and encouraging the most energy-efficient solutions is one of the Group’s major environmental commitments. Over the past few years, Rexel has therefore renewed and diversified its product catalogue in order to include energy-saving solutions. Today, these changes enable end users to reduce their carbon footprint and their energy bill as well as rationalize their costs, all while contributing to the Group’s economic performance.

Air conditioning and global warming: what is the Rexel Group’s position?
According to the IPCC, heat waves and warm seasons in the coming years will be more frequent, longer, and hotter. Mobile air conditioning is an effective means of fighting the health effects of heat waves, yet the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that air conditioning accounts for 10% of global energy consumption. The demand for air conditioning worldwide could even grow from 1.6 billion in 2018 to 5.6 billion in 2050. The consequences in terms of increased greenhouse gas emissions would be unavoidable. This is why the Rexel Group’s Sustainable Development Department is working with the purchasing and innovation teams to identify the best future solutions. In the short term, this includes replacing cooling gases having a high global warming potential (GWP) with gases having a low GWP, or by the use of adiabatic and/or natural cooling. In the mid-term, Rexel will support the evolution of building and renovation standards by providing control systems capable of optimizing the management of energy flows.

Product environmental information and Carbon Tracker

Rexel wants to support its customers and end-users in their environmental transition efforts. To this end, the Group offers them ever more efficient products. For years, Rexel has also provided its customers, especially in France and the Nordic countries, with all of the product environmental profiles available.

In 2022, Rexel reached a new milestone by developing its Carbon Tracker, a decision assistance tool. This solution, which was critically reviewed by Bureau Veritas, now allows customers to learn about the greenhouse gas emissions, natural resource consumption or water consumption of a shopping cart of products, including their full life cycle. In return, more eco-responsible alternatives can be automatically suggested to help them reduce their impact and those of their own customers, who are the end-users.

Promoting the dissemination of eco-efficient products

Rexel offers a range of eco-efficient products that is continually enhanced and expanded. It now includes products for the construction, renovation, and maintenance of buildings, as well as energy consumption control tools.

Simultaneously, the Group supplies installers with energy audit tools and digital applications in order to accelerate the installation of energy-efficient solutions for their customers. Rexel can help them calculate, for each customer, the environmental impact of the products in their project.

Eco-design: Bizline sets an example
A subsidiary of Rexel, Bizline offers products and solutions to electricians and plumbers for all types of construction sites on which they work. A committed company, it has placed the principles of sustainability and responsibility at the heart of its business model, committing to provide safe, compliant, and quality products, validated by its COFRAC (French Accreditation Committee) certified laboratory. To offer even more efficient products, since 2009, Bizline has its own 400m² test laboratory with near Paris. Its 66 pieces of equipment enable it to transparently attest to the progress it has made in implementing its CSR approach, which was awarded an Ecovadis Gold Award in 2021. In terms of operations, Bizline is committed to limiting its environmental footprint as much as possible, in particular by optimizing its logistic flows wherever possible through the FRET21 program. Since 2018, the CSR program BizCare, translates Bizline’s environmental and social commitments into action. Its mission is simple and ambitious: To support professionals on a daily basis at their worksites, while ensuring sustainable growth in line with Bizline’s values.

FOSTERING SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

Reducing its environmental footprint goes beyond the issue of energy. It is also a matter of reducing its impact on natural resources and fostering the circular economy, especially via waste reduction and recycling. The Rexel Group follows an ambitious roadmap and measures its progress thanks to performance indicators.

Two pillars of action to reduce waste

Whether in its internal activities or with regard to its customers and end-users, Rexel works for the sustainable management of resources. The potential for savings on raw materials, but also on energy and thus CO2 emissions, is colossal. According to the United Nations Environment Program, 54 million tons of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) are discarded every year worldwide, and only 17% is recycled. In 2030, this figure could climb to 74 million tons, revealing the full magnitude of the challenge.

The Group has put a priority on reducing the waste produced in its branches and logistics centers to a minimum, but also on offering all of its customers solutions designed to facilitate the collection and recycling of products. These are the two pillars of Rexel’s action plan.

Reducing packaging and paper consumption

Before recycling, it is crucial to first seek to reduce packaging consumption, especially paper. This is a mainstay of the circular economy. Packaging use is naturally inherent to the Group’s own distribution business, which is why its efforts to limit its use involve the optimization of packaging size, the design of innovative and recyclable packaging and even the use of reusable materials.

The “Roll’n Box” example
In many countries, Rexel’s warehouses are equipped with a pre-packaging system that automatically selects the packaging best suited to the order. Rexel’s subsidiary Conectis has designed a “Roll’n Box,” which is a cardboard box that is lighter and more practical than a wooden reel.

As for paper, the digitization of catalogues and brochures, the dematerialization of order processes, collaboration with the main printing solutions provider, and employee awareness-raising campaigns have made it possible to substantially reduce consumption year after year.

Internally, initiatives are multiplying. For example, Rexel promotes:
the reuse of suppliers’ pallets, wooden cable drums, and cardboard boxes for customer delivery,
the standardization of reusable packaging, but also of reusable plastic bins and metal cases between logistics centers and branches,
the use of very thin plastic wrap, when no other viable alternative has been found.

Why an 11.8% increase in packaging consumption in 2021?
This increase in 2021 versus 2020 must be put into context. It is primarily related to the resumption of activity this year, which increased 15.5% versus 2020. When observed over a two-year period, packaging consumption decreased by 3% for a sales figure that increased by 8.6%. The action plans implemented throughout the company since 2019 are effective.

Better recycling of the waste generated by our activities

As part of its commitment to the circular economy, expressed in particular through its Environmental Charter, Rexel encourages all of its sites to:
• implement a recycling system for paper, cardboard, plastic, and wood waste,
• ensure that specific waste (like batteries, IT and electrical waste) is sent to the right recycling stream,
• contribute to the collection and recycling of certain customer waste, such as waste from electrical and electronic equipment (“WEEE”).
Thanks to the increase in waste recycling in the Group’s logistics centers and branches, around 63% of the waste generated by Rexel’s direct activity was recycled in 2021.

The challenge of WEEE. Rexel has developed a system of Waste recovery for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) in its European subsidiaries and agencies, in compliance with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. In 2021, 1,183 tons of this waste was recycled, an increase of 6.6% versus 2020. In France, the program “Rexel 100% recycled” has relied on a partnership with the eco-organization Ecosystem since 2016.

-15.6%
The change between 2020 and 2021 in office paper consumption by Rexel’s employees
-4.1%
The change between 2020 and 2021 in the total consumption of packaging cardboard internally
-3.4%
The change between 2020 and 2021 in the total consumption of plastic packaging internally

Sourcing eco-designed products

Better resource preservation also requires substantive work on the products that the Group distributes. For several years now, Rexel has committed to sourcing eco-designed products from innovative suppliers, like the lights in the Planète range. In order to foster change, the Group has also developed an eco-calculator capable of estimating the carbon footprint of a product and has committed to listing products with a low-pollution full life cycle, with minimal packaging. For example, corrugated cardboard, which is brown to avoid chlorine bleaching and to limit the carbon impact of its production, will always be preferred from now on.

Rexel is also committed to replacing plastic parts by their paper equivalent whenever possible, and to using recycled plastic. Several partners, suppliers, or customers support it in this approach.

Rexel is also committed to recycling building waste. The Group is among 26 companies that manufacture the core products and materials of the future eco-organization Valobat, which will soon have the mission of advancing the recycling of building waste. To meet this challenge, Valobat will offer construction companies a solution to recover waste collected separately in local collection points. The eco-organism will also develop recycling processes.

Changes* in the consumption of packaging materials

*Tons, on a constant scope basis