• by Becky Coffin is Head of Strategy and Performance for Kingfisher’s Net Positive programme
  • Feb 21, 2013

The famous song lyrics make it seem so straightforward but how do you know when you’ve gone far enough to become restorative and what is a credible way to measure beyond zero?

That’s one of the round table discussions at the forthcoming Generation Net Positive Green Mondays event. As Head of Strategy and Performance for Kingfisher’s leading Net Positive programme it’s a topic that is at the front of my mind as we enter the reporting season with an eye on our ambition to go beyond zero and become a restorative business.

We’ve set ourselves an ambition to become Net Positive in our business’s four biggest impact areas; timber, energy, innovation and communities, by 2050. We’re breaking that journey into bite-size chunks with interim targets so as not to become overwhelmed. As we begin to inch ourselves across the start line though, towards our ultimate Net Positive ambition, we’re grappling with how you define what that is, how you balance between differing impacts and how you measure your progress so that you ultimately know when you’ve become Net Positive. These questions aren’t just relevant to us. This is a conundrum for the NGO community and other businesses with similar restorative ambitions, around how you credibly account for sustainability that goes beyond zero.

Whilst it’s undoubtedly going to be a difficult journey, we have confidence that collaboration will lead to solutions. We were the first major retailer to take an interest in deforestation by introducing sustainable sourcing policies for the products we sell containing timber. When we embarked on that journey some 20 years ago there were no certification schemes. It was collaboration with the forestry sector and NGOs that rectified that.

That collaborative achievement meant, in 2011, B&Q UK was able to announce that all of its products containing timber – some 15,000 - were from responsible sources, enabling the Kingfisher Group to successfully lead a retail collation calling for the introduction of the EU timber regulations, which are due to come into force in March.

Whilst the Inchworm song teaches us that ‘two and two are four’, what remains unknown right now is how you measure beyond zero for sustainability. I hope many of you will be able to join this round table debate about how, as a community, we begin to tackle these issues to enable credible accounting.

Everyone joining this roundtable can be confident that their voice will be heard. We need a wealth of ideas because we know, from our past experiences, that collaboration is a simple multiplication sum – the more we collaborate, the more chance we have of identifying a solution.

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