Sustainability at Brewers

Brewers is a family business that has been trading for over 120 years. We fully recognise the responsibility we have to the planet and to all our internal and external stakeholders. We are committed to building a sustainable future for the business balancing commercial, environmental, and social imperatives.

Our Vision is ‘To Play Our Part in Making the World a Brighter Place’ by making a real and long-lasting difference. Fundamental to achieving this Vision is maintaining and developing the commercial strength of the business by ensuring we are the ‘Destination for Decorators’ offering the very best value, choice and customer experience.

Our Aim to be the ‘Destination for Decorators’ is built on four sustainability Pledges that go to the core of all our activities, recognising that a business’s commitment to sustainability is a key factor driving customer decision making.

Our vision, aim and pledges.
Our key sustainability targets.

We are committed to measuring and reporting on both our carbon footprint and social value and to taking transparent and accountable action to continually improve on both measures. We acknowledge we are on a journey towards a sustainable future which will need to be reviewed and adapted in the face of changing circumstance. As we journey, a real and genuine commitment to sustainability is built into the fabric of the Company.

Timeline of our key sustainability targets:

Our timeline from 2021 to 2040 for key sustainability targets. PlanetMark Certified Business.

We are proud to announce that we have achieved Planet Mark Business Certification, furthering our commitment to reduce our impact on society. This is an achievement involving the entire business.

Planet Mark Business Certification is an internationally recognised sustainability certification for all organisations acknowledging continuous progress, encouraging action and building an empowered community of like-minded individuals.

In order to achieve this sustainability certification, we have followed a robust three-step process: Measuring our impact, engaging everyone in the business and communicating our progress. We have measured our own carbon footprint and will continue to take responsibility for our carbon emissions, to have a positive impact on planet and society.

The entire business has contributed to our achievement in becoming Planet Mark certified, and every individual will continue to play an important role in our sustainability commitment.

In partnership with Planet Mark we are measuring our carbon footprint and social value on an ongoing basis and are committed to year-on-year improvement from a 2022 baseline.

UN Strategic Development Goals (SDGs)

Our aim is to align our actions with the 17 United Nations SDGs, the achievement of which will make the world a better, more equitable and more sustainable place.

Of the 17 UN SDGs there are 11 that we currently consider are directly relevant to our activities:

  • SDG3 Good health and wellbeing.
  • SDG5 Gender equality.
  • SDG6 Clean water and sanitation.
  • SDG7 Affordable clean energy.
  • SDG8 Decent work and economic growth.
  • SDG10 Reduced inequalities.
  • SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities.
  • SGD12 Responsible consumption and production.
  • SDG13 Climate action.
  • SDG14 Life below water.
  • SDG15 Life on land.
Brewers Decorating Centres electric bike.

We are committed to playing our part in achieving these global objectives. Through our Planet Mark membership we are already making major contributions to these goals. We are committed to doing more by delivering on our pledges.

Our Pledges

1. Pledge to Decarbonise

Affordable and clean energy, Climate actions badges.

We are committed to being a carbon net zero business on our scope 1 and 2 emissions and transport related scope 3 emissions by 2040. We are reducing our internal energy use, decarbonising our energy supply, changing the vehicles we use and optimising our logistics. We measure our carbon footprint annually. Through these actions we aim to reduce our overall footprint by 15% each year from a baseline established in 2022. Our 2022 baseline is 4,197 tCO2e, dominated by buildings and travel.

We are committed to taking meaningful action to reduce our upstream and downstream product related scope 3 emissions by 40% by 2030, not currently included in our carbon footprint. We are proactively working with our suppliers, customers and other key stakeholders to achieve this objective, including prioritising procurement and supply of low carbon products.

All our carbon impact calculations align with science-based target reporting principles and are verified by Planet Mark. Ongoing performance will be measured and recorded in our annual Planet Mark report.

Our primary activities to reduce our carbon impact are focused on 4 key areas:

We are committed to continually upgrading our properties to reduce energy consumption by improving operating efficiency through initiatives such as:

  • Establishing a plan by 2025 to upgrade insulation and install radiant heating.
  • Optimising ambient temperatures across our stores, offices and warehouses.
  • Installing LED lighting:
Currently 75% of lighting across all our sites is LED with the plan to make this 100% by the end of 2024.

We are committed to the use of renewables in the business.

Since November 2021 we have been purchasing electricity on a renewable tariff and are investigating options to implement forms of direct renewable energy generation into the business, such as air source or ground source heat pumps.

In 2022 86% of energy demand for our buildings and electric commercial vehicles, was met by renewable energy through renewable electricity tariffs. The remaining 14% is currently outside of our direct control.

In September 2014 we installed biomass space heating at our Central Warehouse and Distribution centre in Eastbourne.

We are committed to reducing our vehicle related emissions each year as part of our 15% annual reduction target for scope 1, 2 and transport related scope 3 emissions.

Since 2022 we have implemented an electric vehicle policy for our company car drivers requiring the take up and use of fully electric or hybrid cars. In 2023 25% of our company car fleet is fully electric and in 2022 this reduced the emissions from 73000 miles travelled saving 14 tonnes of carbon. We aim to switch all company cars to electric or hybrid by the end of 2025.

We are also committed to replacing our commercial vehicles as quickly as we can with fully electric lorries and vans and are exploring alternatives as to how we can transport products to our customers in a more environmentally sustainable way. In 2022 our electric delivery vans travelled 24,000 miles saving 6.5 tonnes of carbon.

We recognise that reducing our distribution mileage will help us reduce our overall energy use and emissions. We are working to optimise our commercial distribution network activities to reduce overall mileage. Our aim is to reduce mileage per tonne of product delivered from our commercial vehicles by 10% per annum from a 2023 baseline.

We are committed to being a net zero-carbon business by 2040 across our scope 1, 2 and transport related scope 3 emissions.

We recognise that scope 3 carbon emissions produced by our indirect activities are important, with the biggest contributor being the emissions from the full life cycle of the products we purchase for resale to end users.

We will establish our scope 3 emissions baseline from our primary suppliers by 2024 and work with them to achieve our objective through setting meaningful reduction targets. We are committed to reducing our scope 3 product related emissions by 40% from a 2024 baseline by 2030.

To this effect, we are working closely with our suppliers and challenging them to measure and reduce the environmental impacts of the products we procure from them.

The most effective action we could take to improve our scope 3 emissions would be to cease selling interior solvent borne decorative trim products and replace them with more environmentally sustainable alternatives offering the same performance characteristics. Based on supplier information, we have estimated that taking this action could result in a net positive impact of circa 3500 tonnes per annum on our current carbon footprint.

Our commitment is to phase out the sale of these products by 10% a year where sustainable products with comparable performance are available. Ultimately, our aim is to completely phase out these products by 2030.

2. Pledge to consume less and eliminate waste

Clean water and sanitation, responsible consumption and production, life below water badges.

As demonstrated in our Planet Mark report, during 2022 we sent nearly 500 tonnes of material to landfill or energy from waste facilities, resulting in 21.4 tCO2e emissions. We recycle over 1,265 tonnes of material each year resulting in 26.9 tCO2e emissions.

To reduce emissions and other environmental impacts, we are committed to supporting the transition to a circular economy through reducing waste and enabling the reuse and remanufacturing of discarded materials. We will support our workforce to reduce in-house generated waste and help our customers to reduce the need or frequency of purchasing new products. We will work with our customers to enable more reuse, repair and remanufacturing of products and establish stronger links with social enterprises to facilitate reuse, repair and remanufacturing.

We are committed to sustainably recycling 100% of discarded materials by 2030 that cannot be reduced, re-used or remanufactured.

We recognise that we need a deeper understanding of the level and nature of materials we waste. To provide a clear direction for our business we will undertake a waste audit leading to an action plan in 2024 to support this objective.

Our 4 key areas of focus are:

We sell 14.7M litres of paint annually, of which 5.7M litres is tinted bespoke to our customers’ requirements, which can lead to the production of mis-tinted product where it hasn’t met our high-quality standards. We are committed to reducing mis-tinted paint products by 10% per annum through better production controls and improved staff training.

However, when mistakes happen, we will maximise the reuse and remanufacture of mis-tinted paint products with a target of 95% by 2025.

We recognise as a large organisation we use a lot of resources. There is an opportunity to reduce the materials we use in delivering excellent products and services for our customers. By 2024 we will have in place a responsible product sourcing action plan which will define measures to work with suppliers to drive down excess packaging, reduce the impacts of producing the products we make and sell, and provide data to drive improvements. To reduce waste arising from our operations, we will carry out a waste audit to understand in more detail the types and sources of waste we are generating, and what the best reuse and recycling routes are for keeping these materials in use at their highest utility. This will be used to inform our next steps.

We are committed to working with our suppliers to promote and sell longer lasting and repairable products that have a full life-time lower environmental impact and reduces waste. By 2024 we will establish our priority product lines that have the greatest potential to be engineered circularly and the performance metrics needed to demonstrate impact.

We are committed to developing sustainable packaging solutions for our paint and sundry products reducing the potential for materials going to landfill or incineration.

We recognise our responsibility to customers who use our products and services to make sure they get the right result and use our products safely and responsibly. Staff are trained to give advice that is correct and appropriate and health and safety data sheets for all products sold are available when requested. This includes information on responsible disposal of empty paint tins or unused paint.

We are committed to working with our suppliers to improve labelling to enable customers to make informed choices. We will collaborate with our suppliers to develop a paint labelling standard, setting out requirements for clear, transparent, and useful information for both on-pack labels and online purchases, following guidance from the UK Government Green Claims Code.

Where waste cannot be avoided, then we seek to reuse the product in the most sustainable way.

We are working with the British Coatings Federation and our suppliers to find a long-term sustainable solution to deal with the problem of leftover paint.

We are committed to sustainably recycling 100% of discarded materials that cannot be reduced, reused or remanufactured by 2030. We recycle cardboard, plastic, IT equipment, paper and paint cans and will look in detail at other waste streams during our waste audit.

In 2022 we recycled 400 tonnes of cardboard, 380 tonnes of empty paint cans and 140 tonnes of plastic and are working with our waste and distribution partners to continuously improve on this performance. We are actively looking for ways to reuse or repurpose waste to reduce our carbon emissions so that recycling is a last resort, and disposal to landfill or waste to energy incineration is reduced to zero by 2030. This will be a focus of our future waste action plan.

3. Pledge to improve lives

Good health and wellbeing, gender equality, decent work and economic growth, reduced inequalities, life on land, sustainable cities and communities badges.

We recognise that our responsibility to improve lives includes our own colleagues, our supply chain and our local communities.

We are committed to being an excellent employer and to measuring our wider social value through the TOMS (Themes, Outcomes and Measures in Social value) framework looking to show annual improvement from a baseline established in 2022. Our aim is to demonstrate an annual 10% improvement. We will continue to measure and publish our progress in our annual Planet Mark report.

The 3 areas of focus are:

We are committed to safeguarding and improving the lives of all our colleagues.

Our priority is to ensure that at Brewers every work-day is a safe workday. We will continue to monitor and report our health and safety performance.

We are committed to supporting the mental health of our colleagues. We will continue to offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and have a network of Mental Health First Aiders offering confidential support to colleagues who require it.

We are proud to be accredited, 6 months ahead of schedule, as a Living Wage Employer by the Living Wage Foundation and are committed to the principle of equal pay for equal value for all our colleagues regardless of sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability.

In addition to salary, we look to improve the lives of our colleagues by continuing to benchmark ourselves and ensure that our benefits package will remain industry-leading. Existing benefits include:

  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Medicash private healthcare
  • Wagestream salary advance
  • Profit share
  • Brewers Exclusive discount scheme
  • Access to company-owned holiday lodges
  • Enhanced parental pay
  • Life assurance
  • Milestone awards
  • Holiday
  • Pensions

We are committed to responsibly sourcing the products we offer, taking account of environmental, social and economic impacts. We are at an early stage in our journey with a commitment to establishing a responsible sourcing action plan by 2024.

We seek to ensure that our suppliers operate to the highest standards and that we are not unwittingly supporting modern slavery.

We are committed to improving the lives of our communities through:

  • Maintaining the Brewers Foundation.
  • Encouraging staff to be involved in charitable giving.
  • Creating brighter, more colourful, and more hygienic public and private spaces.
  • Supporting local and global conservation activities.

Through the Brewers Foundation we seek to make a real difference to people’s lives both in the UK and abroad.

We also encourage colleagues to be involved in local charities and events and each region has a budget to support this.

Through creating brighter, more colourful, and more hygienic public and private spaces, the paint products that we sell make a real difference to the quality of people’s lives. We encourage the use of products that are specifically designed to protect and improve lives.

We are proud to support conservation in the Amazon Rainforest through Planet Mark. In the UK, we are working on a variety of conservation and biodiversity initiatives.

4. Pledge to develop the next generation

Gender equality, decent work and economic growth badges.

We are committed to promoting skills and opportunity for all, by driving our equality, diversity and inclusion agenda so that all colleagues reach their full potential and make the maximum contribution to the ongoing and future success of the business.

We will continue to support an active Learning and Development programme aimed at improving the skills and life chances of all colleagues.

We are committed to ensuring that our business reflects the communities it works within and that we get the very best people in the right jobs regardless of sex, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or any other protected characteristic.

Our equality, diversity and inclusion strategy, 'Together', focuses on three objectives from 2023 to 2026:

  • To be a great place to work.
  • To be representative of our customer base and community.
  • To support the communities we live in, and those in need.

Find out more about our Together policy and strategy using the links below.