Our growth strategy has always been focussed around customer convenience and our own branch network. Location, customers’ travel journey to our branches and proximity to other branches are determining factors when we consider new branch openings. One of the key reasons is that proximity offers a greater support between branches.
We aim to be local, easily accessible and offer a wide range of products at any point in time with as little carbon footprint as possible by all parties involved: customers, suppliers (delivering to few branches rather than all of them separately) and us (by running a branch network transport system with smaller and more energy efficient vehicles between branches).
Our fleet of vehicles is fairly new and has a mix of small cars, vans, small and heavy goods vehicles, both owned and rented, which go through regular maintenance checks. We make sure that any newly acquired vehicles have high energy efficiency. Small vehicles have been gradually changed to hybrid ones.
The Ribas telematics system was introduced some years back with the aim of reduction of fuel consumption and CO2 emission via reduction of idle time, harsh breaking and acceleration. We have since managed to reduce all three including time wasted.
Staff are continuously encouraged to cycle whenever possible. The Cycle to Work scheme benefit is offered to all twice a year as a way of encouraging them to use their vehicles less.
The Group encourages and embeds sustainable and life-cycle considerations into procurement decisions. It offers a wide range of products, which, whenever possible, are sourced from sustainable sources or are recycled. We implement, and maintain, our Chain of Custody in accordance with the requirements of the FSC® and PEFC Chain of Custody Standards. Where it is known, or where concerns have been received, that forest and tree-based materials and products originate from illegal or controversial sources, they shall not be placed on the market until the concern has been resolved, in accordance with Appendix 1 - 4 of PEFC ST 2002:2020, or alternative sources will be found for those products.
Whenever possible we also offer sustainable products as an alternative to standard fabricated ones, such as sheep’s wool insulation instead of the manmade product. We promote green and sustainable living by promoting products that enable this, such as solar panels, VOC free paint, recycled paint, clean spirit as well as products made from recycled materials such as concrete blocks and Knauf glass products.
We have partnered with green companies: Futureproof and The Green Register so that we can provide training and information on sustainable building to our customers. We are also working with several skip companies to achieve zero waste to landfill.
We have moved over 50% of our customers to paperless invoices over the past eight years and provide all of our literature in digital formats to reduce the amount of paper we use and distribute across the Group.
All the paper we use to print our literature such as brochures and leaflets is FSC and PEFC approved and we use recycled paper wherever we can; all our business cards are printed on recycled card stock. Staff are encouraged to use online systems instead of the paper ones. Files are shared electronically and only printed if necessary.
We aim to make full use of available space when designing and refurbishing buildings; finding ways that best utilise our built environment to reduce environmental impact. Another way to make a building more environmentally friendly is to make it airtight, so we are working with suppliers to be able to offer both the materials and information so customers can implement this.
The Group aims to deliver a circular economy by considering waste as a resource. We encourage prevention and reduction, reuse, sharing, repairing, refurbishing of resources prior to recycling or disposal and join with procurement activities to ensure assets are used to their fullest extent.
The Group encourages energy efficient practices and is investing in all branches to reduce carbon emissions. New LED lights are being installed at all branches. Sensors are being introduced gradually to save energy and continue to operate a ‘Lights out on the way out’ policy.
We use rainwater at our Bath branch instead of running water and our maintenance team regularly check for water leaks across The Group to ensure we aren’t wasting water.
We are always working with our customers and staff as well as local organisations to develop resilient partnerships which enhance community and the local economy.
We support different local activities simultaneously by providing them with any surplus or other materials including new but slightly damaged materials which would have ended up in the landfill. We engage with them and jointly plan for future projects.