Reducing the environmental footprint is one of the spearheads of the CSR policy of Beter Bed Holding, encompassing a broad spectrum: energy savings, reducing CO2 emissions, reducing the use of packaging material, using less environmentally harmful materials and promoting the circular economy. In line with the ambitions formulated at the climate summit in Paris and the Ambition 2020 report of CSR Netherlands, the topics ‘energy and climate’ and the ‘circular economy’ will be covered extensively in this annual report.
Beter Bed Holding's environmental footprint
The organisation has been aware for a considerable number of years that the environmental footprint of Beter Bed Holding contributes to global warming. Beter Bed Holding has already been working successfully for many years to reduce its environmental footprint. An energy audit was carried out at Matratzen Concord in Germany in 2015. Lessons from this audit will be put into practice throughout the organisation. Following implementation of the lessons learned, these audits will also be performed in the other business units.
The European Parliament has set the goal that 30% of energy should be generated from renewables by 2030. Matratzen Concord in Germany switched to green electricity in October 2015. As Germany accounts for almost 70% of the organisation’s energy consumption, the target set by the European Parliament is comfortably achieved.
Electricity consumption has been trending down for many years due to numerous energy-saving measures. Consumption totalled 29,000 megawatt hours (MWh), which represents 85% of the 34,200 MWh consumed in 2010. A major contribution to the savings is attributable to the remodelling of Beter Bed Nederland’s stores of in 2015. Energy-saving measures were put in place during the refurbishment, such as the fitting of timer switches in the stores and smart energy meters that can be centrally controlled. The organisation managed to reduce energy consumption in the Netherlands by 1,600 megawatts in the past year.
Relative electricity consumption per m2 is an important measure. Since 2010, electricity consumption per m2 has been reduced by 16% from 87.5 kWh to 73.3 kWh.
Another relevant source of energy is natural gas, which is used to heat offices and stores. It has become clear in the past few years that natural gas consumption depends mainly on weather conditions and that the organisation can only influence changes in consumption to a limited extent. Gas consumption remained level in 2015 at 3.2 million m3, which represents 91% of consumption in 2010. More importantly, relative natural gas consumption per m2 retail area has been reduced by 11% to 8.1 m3 since 2010.
The CO2 footprint
At the climate summit in Paris, the world’s political leaders agreed that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 40% by 2030. Heads of government and the United Nations stated that businesses in particular had a significant role to play in achieving those targets.
CO2 emissions totalled 19,964 tonnes in 2015; a decrease of over 11% compared with 2014. The decrease was achieved primarily through efforts in the field of electricity. The main contribution was provided by Matratzen Concord which switched to green electricity in Germany in October 2015, resulting in a 24% decrease in CO2 emissions in that country. The second significant contribution came from Beter Bed Nederland, where emissions attributable to stores were reduced by 574 tonnes in 2015 due to the remodelling referred to earlier.
The exact figures for CO2 emissions and the sub-classification by energy source are reported in the CSR report under indicators EN15 to 21 of the GRI index.
Relative CO2 emissions per m2 floor space fell by 19% compared with the 2010 baseline.
Materials and the circulair economy
The circular economy is a topic that is high on the agenda of Beter Bed Holding. It is however also a topic on which success will not be readily achieved. Mattresses in the mainstream market are manufactured on the basis of chemical products and petroleum. Also, collection of mattresses takes place in a range of completely different ways locally and in each country. That makes it difficult for the organisation to make its mark on the return of mattresses and other bedroom furnishings.
The key step that needs to be taken is for the most hazardous raw materials to be phased out. Beter Bed Holding engages in continual dialogue with its strategic suppliers to reduce the environmental impact of mattresses. In the period ahead, the organisation will itself state clearly which materials need to be replaced most urgently with environmentally benign components.
The total volume of waste fell by 18% to 3,800 tonnes in the past year. The decrease was attributable to the relatively large volume of waste in the preceding year, during which extensive remodelling of stores was carried out at Beter Bed. The figures are in line with the trend: waste volumes have decreased by 35% since 2010. The target to collect, separate and reuse all packaging material in the Netherlands after delivery was again achieved in 2015. In order to improve its contribution to the circular economy, the organisation will continue its dialogue with waste-processing companies to find a solution in which used mattresses can be recycled into new products.