Debenhams Sustainability Report
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Managing Climate Change

Managing Climate Change

Debenhams has reported its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for its UK, Irish and Danish operations since 2008. Since then, its footprint boundary has evolved to include areas such as other international offices, packaging, hangers (material use and recycling) and production of catalogue, brochure 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 2013, and UK Government conversion factors for company reporting to calculate our carbon emissions. As of this year, following new guidance from the GHG Protocol, Scope 2 emissions are reported using two different quantification methods: location-based and market based. Scope 2 emissions using the market-based method are lower than with the location-based approach, as a result of our decision to purchase 100% renewable electricity in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Excluding Scope 3 emissions, for which the inventory boundary has widened this year, and which is not mandatory, scope 1 and 2 emissions have decreased by 12%.

Based on the data provided for scopes 1,2 and 3, our overall carbon footprint has increased by 7%, from 190,930 tonnes CO2e in 2015 to 204,136 tonnes CO2e this year. A breakdown of this is shown in Table 1.

Table 1 Scope 1, 2 and 3 absolute GHG emissions shown in tonnes CO2e






Scope 1






Scope 2 (Location-based)






Scope 3












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

The reason for the increase in the overall emissions is primarily due to a widening of the inventory boundary. As of this year, additional emission sources have been included in Scope 3, such as water supply/treatment in Hong Kong and Bangladesh; UK rail; and plastic material use for carrier bags in UK stores. Excluding these newly – added sources, Scope 3 emissions have decreased by 8%, due mainly to a reduction in business travel.

The decrease in Scope 1 emissions this year is a reflection of decreased use of gas, fuels and refrigerants across our UK, Ireland and Denmark operations. Scope 2 emissions have decreased as a result of changes in fuel mixes, as well as a reduction in overall energy consumption.

Emissions data are made more meaningful when compared to a core business variable. We have used intensity ratios for both the total footprint using the annual turnover and premises floor area. Table 2 shows the total annual turnover and floor area for the whole business. 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 tCO2e for both intensity metrics have increased.

Table 2 Data used for intensity measurements

FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016
Turnover (£m) 2,700 2,777 2,824 2,860 2,939*
Total floor area** (m2) 1,838,924 1,808,398 1,850,874 1,894,926 1,888,887

*2015/16 is a 53-week year.

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

Table 3 Assessment of absolute footprint emissions

Assessment FY2012 FY2013 FY2014 FY2015 FY2016
Absolute Emissions (tCO2e) 178,457 174,080 193,365 190,930 204,136*
Absolute tCO2e / £m Turnover 66 63 68 67 69
Absolute tCO2e / m2 0.097 0.096 0.104 0.101 0.108

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

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