Corporate Social Responsibility
Debenhams Sustainability Report
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We have reported our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for our UK, Irish and Danish operations since 2008. Since then, our footprint boundary has evolved to include areas such as other international offices, packaging, production of hangers, and manufacture of catalogues, brochures and direct mail. This section provides a breakdown of our GHG emissions for this year.

With the support of Ricardo Energy & Environment, we have applied the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition), and the UK Government Conversion Factors for Company Reporting, 2018, to calculate our carbon emissions. Our annual reporting year is 3rd September 2017 to 1st September 2018 and we report GHG emissions in line with this period. For the last two years we followed the GHG Protocol’s new, Scope 2 emissions reporting guidance and used two different quantification methods: location-based and market-based. We have followed this latest methodology again this year . Scope 2 emissions using the market-based method are lower than with the location-based approach, mainly because of our decision to purchase 100% renewable electricity in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

This year, our overall carbon footprint has decreased by 21%, from 177,611 tonnes CO2e in 2017 to 140,352 tonnes CO2e this year (using the location-based approach). Table 1 below provides a breakdown of these figures.

Table 1: Absolute GHG emissions from Scope 1, 2 and 3 shown in tonnes CO2e








Scope 1







Scope 2 (Location-based)







Scope 2 (market-based)

Not calculated; market-based method was introduced in FY2016




Scope 3














*Total emissions calculated using the location-based Scope 2 emissions figure.

Emissions data are made more meaningful when compared to a core business variable. We have used intensity ratios, alongside the absolute figures provided above, to report our GHG emissions in the context of our annual turnover and premises floor area.

Table 2 shows the total annual turnover and floor area for the whole business. The total absolute emissions are then divided by these figures to provide tonnes of CO2e per million pounds of turnover and tonnes of CO2e per m2 of floor area, respectively, as shown in Table 3.

These tables show that the tonnes CO2e for both intensity metrics have also decreased.

Table 2 Data used for intensity measurements

FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Turnover (£m) 2,777 2,824 2,860 2,939 2,954 2,900
Total floor area** (m2) 1,808,398 1,850,874 1,867,291 1,876,533 1,873,568 1,904,937***

**This total floor area included back of store, offices and distribution centres.

***For FY2018 the accuracy of the calculation of the back of store areas was improved, causing an increase in total floor area.

Table 3 Assessment of absolute footprint emissions

FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018
Absolute Emissions (tCO2e) 174,080 193,365 190,930 204,136* 177,611* 140,352*
Absolute tCO2e / £m Turnover 63 68 67 69 60 48
Absolute tCO2e / m2 0.096 0.104 0.102 0.109 0.095 0.074

*Total emissions calculated using the location-based Scope 2 emissions figure.

The carbon footprint has decreased across all three scopes this year compared to 2017. The main reasons for the decrease in the overall emissions is due to a reduction in: electricity consumption, including the associated grid losses (32% reduction); air imports (27% reduction).

We will continue to conduct projects that will reduce our footprint and environmental impacts. We are committed to continuously improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and operations as seen by a reduction in this year’s carbon footprint. In FY2018; we invested over £3 million and retrofitted LED lighting in 12 stores. These projects have not only delivered excellent results in reducing energy use, but have also led to a more comfortable customer environment. For 2019 we will be focussing on energy savings that can be achieved through behavioural change, primarily through the use of energy alerts that will be sent to store management teams if they breach energy thresholds (based on historic use).

We have a carbon reduction target to reduce group-wide Scope 1 and 2 absolute operational CO2e emissions by 10% by 2020 against our 2007/08 baseline. The FY2018 Scope 1 and Scope 2 total emissions have reduced by 47% compared to the Scope 1 and 2 CO2e emissions in FY2008. This suggests that if the reduction continues, or remains stable, we will meet our target by 2020.

Overall, the progress on improvement and monitoring management remains stringent and during the next few years towards 2020, we aim to continue to positively contribute to the Better Retail Climate as part of our drive to save energy and protect the environment.


1 The location-based method reflects the average emissions intensity of grids on which energy consumption occurs, whereas the market-based method reflects emissions from the electricity that companies have chosen in the market (or their lack of choice).