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Improving Transport Efficiency

WHSmith’s transport delivery network is a long and complex one, covering well over a thousand stores across the length and breadth of the UK. The emissions from the vehicles used to distribute products between our distribution centres and stores make up a significant part of our GHG emissions and we work hard to maximise efficiency wherever we can. Emissions this year were 5,131 tonnes CO2e and since 2007, we have reduced our CO2e emissions per pallet moved by 28 per cent.

We work with our transport providers to carry out regular and in-depth reviews of our transport operations to help to optimise routing and delivery frequency. Our fuel consumption has reduced by 14 per cent this year, primarily as a result of the introduction of double deck trailers, which are suitable for both High Street and Travel distribution centres. These allow us to achieve greater efficiencies by allowing us to transport more goods in fewer journeys.

This year we have added two new storage centres in South Wales and Kent, bringing the total number of outbases to 13.  We are able to transport stock from our three main distribution centres to these outbases and then local transport is used to deliver to stores in the area, reducing overall mileage and GHG emissions.

Where we can, we look for opportunities to collaborate with our suppliers and other companies to reduce emissions, for example, sharing vehicles with third parties in more sparsely-populated areas. Another initiative is our Collection Service where we share space in our lorries and reduce traffic on the roads. If a supplier site is near to one of our transport routes, we collect products from their site, using spare capacity in our lorries and reducing the overall emissions associated with transporting our products.

We also monitor GHG emissions from employee business travel which were 1,299 tonnes CO2e in 2017/18, a very slight rise of 7 per cent due to more travel by our teams as a result of expansion of our travel and international business. Although business travel is a small proportion of our overall carbon footprint, we continue to look at ways to reduce our emissions, by asking employees to consider whether travel is necessary and encouraging them to use public transport.