Our sustainable development policy

Our sustainable development policy
Sustainable development is an integral part of Rexel's business: for its customers, by fostering the adoption of more efficient and sustainable products and solutions, for the value chain, by supporting the efforts of all its actors, in its operations, by reducing its consumption of resources and energy and by attaching a particular importance to its employees, and for society at large, via its Foundation for a better energy future.
  • A continuous improvement process

    Since 2015, Rexel's sustainable development policy has relied on the results of a materiality assessment involving around 30 external partners and internal managers.
    It enabled Rexel to define a development strategy centered on three pillars: developing energy management solutions for our customers and society at large, promoting responsible practices across the value chain, and improving the social and environmental performance of our operations. Its implementation involves all levels of the organization: from the General Secretary, member of the Executive Committee, to the employees, whose awareness and commitment are called upon via regular campaigns.
    Acting as the backbone of this governance structure, 70 environmental correspondents coordinated by the Group Sustainable Development department are tasked with applying Rexel's policy at the local level, as well as collecting and processing crucial data for monitoring performance.

    More details on Rexel's sustainable development approach

Developing energy efficiency solutions

Developing renewable energy solutions
Energy management is a means of meeting environmental challenges and accelerating the energy transition. By helping its customers reduce and improve their consumption, Rexel places sustainable development at the center of its activities. As an advisor for energy efficient solutions, the Group accelerates the dissemination and sharing of energy progress among its customers and society at large.
  • Providing energy management and energy efficiency products and solutions

    According to the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency could contribute nearly half the effort needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Energy savings are the safest, fastest, most efficient means of accelerating the energy transition while lowering costs and improving user comfort. Installers are at the heart of this evolution and Rexel is by their side to help them master energy efficient solutions while facilitating their installation and financing via energy audits, digital applications, eco-efficient product ranges and financing solutions for installations.

  • Developing renewable energy solutions

    Renewable energies are an important aspect of the energy transition whose development largely depends on national or regional policies and subsidies. Convinced of the importance of spreading these new energies, Rexel follows local markets as closely as possible in order to provide the most relevant solutions.
    In the wind sector, Rexel offers procurement, supply management and provision of products for the assembly line. Its range covers electrical components, cables and all other necessary elements for manufacturing turbines or operating wind parks.
    Photovoltaic solar solutions have demonstrated their efficiency in lowering the GHG (Greenhouse Gas) emissions of residential and commercial buildings. In Sweden for example, Storel, one of the Group's banners, recently installed solar panels on the roof of a vocational school in Boras that will provide 58,000 kWh/year.

    Developing renewable energy solutions

  • Raising awareness of energy management issues

    Thanks to its pivotal role in the value chain, its expertise and its commitment to the energy transition, Rexel is an effective advisor not only to all its stakeholders but to all civil society as well.
    One of the goals of the Rexel Foundation, created in 2013, is to increase knowledge about energy progress. Since 2016, the Foundation has participated in an applied research program on the efficiency and reproductibility of block-scale retrofitting in Oakland, CA, led by the University of California, Berkeley. The project aims to test the hypothesis that a full retrofit led in tandem with all the stakeholders of a neighborhood is more efficient than house-scale retrofitting.
    Rexel invests in developing its employees' know-how in these key areas. Energy efficiency is now an area of expertise for Rexel's sales force and is an integral part of its offering. Employees' skills, whether at branches or head offices, add to the quality of services rendered to customers. To this end, since 2013 Rexel has developed an internal community of around 250 experts dedicated to energy efficiency with the task of training and raising employee awareness as well as contributing to developing relevant solutions.
    Rexel is also increasing initiatives to assist installers in adapting to market changes and develop their business. Rexel Expo, which was held twice in France in 2016, is an opportunity to gather information and share knowledge and is open to independent contractors, installers, manufacturers, integrators, local government and influencers.

  • Improving access to energy efficiency for all

    With the creation of its Foundation in 2013, Rexel made a commitment to contribute its knowledge, its know-how and its resources to energy progress. In doing so, the Group intends to have a positive impact on the economy, education, the environment, health, and safety.
    1.3 billion people in the world have no access to electricity and over 250 million Westerners suffer from fuel poverty. The Foundation works with its partners on community projects to improve access to energy efficiency for the most disadvantaged groups and communities.
    The Foundation has also created a social entrepreneurship platform that supports the emergence of innovative business models aimed at improving access to energy efficiency for all. Today, the platform brings together around 30 social entrepreneurs, startups and non-profit, academic, technical and financial partners. The platform supports social entrepreneurs' initiatives with financial aid, advice or technical services. It also provides a space to connect and share ideas that helps encourage the development of projects created, funded or conducted collaboratively.

Promoting a responsible approach across the value chain

A major player in the distribution of electrical products and services, Rexel holds a key position that allows it to encourage its suppliers and its customers to adopt responsible and sustainable practices.
  • Establishing sustainable relationships with responsible suppliers

    The Group requires all its suppliers and subcontractors to comply with the principles of its Ethics Guide and with the contractual provisions applicable to all the Group's subsidiaries concerning their relationships with their suppliers. These provisions specifically mention the respect of local and international rules, as well as the obligation to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the International Labor Conventions.
    In compliance with its commitment to the United Nations Global Compact, and considering the social and environmental issues associated with manufacturing electrical equipment, Rexel wants to work with responsible suppliers. To this end, it assesses their sustainable development performance and encourages them to adopt sustainable policies.

  • Establishing sustainable relationships with our clients

    In order to form long-lasting and mutually beneficial bonds with its customers and to assist them in their responsible business practices, Rexel is committed to establishing trusting relationships, in the short and long term.
    Installers, industrial customers and building administrators consider that it is Rexel's responsibility, acting as a distributor, to recommend the best products and to provide them with assistance in an ever-changing industry. In order to assist them in their responsible practices, Rexel focuses first and foremost on ensuring that they receive excellent service, the foundation of the legitimacy and customer trust that the Group enjoys.

    Establishing sustainable relationships with our clients

  • Driving health and safety in our value chain

    Rexel is committed to ensuring the safety of its products and solutions, as well as the health of its customers who install and use them, in compliance with current regulations.
    Rexel launched an in-depth health and safety analysis at the top of its value chain in order to better assess potential problems and risks. This assessment will serve as a starting point for defining commitments and action plans, in close collaboration with manufacturers, to accelerate the distribution of replacement products if necessary. Concomitantly, Rexel ensures compliance with all current product regulations in the Group's countries of operation. These include the European directives RoHS and REACH. Rexel also works with its installers customers in order to raise their awareness, inform and train them in product health and safety.

  • Developing the circular economy in our value chain

    Rexel offers its customers a range of solutions to help them improve their environmental performance and promote the circular economy.
    As a distributor, Rexel's environmental responsibility at the top of the value chain consists in reducing its use of waste-generating materials for its customers and encouraging them to direct their waste to the right facilities for efficient recycling.
    Rexel is committed to a packaging reduction policy that aims to adapt packaging size to its utilization, to create innovative and recyclable packaging solutions, and to give priority to reusable materials. To this effect, several Group entities have replaced their cardboard boxes with reusable plastic containers. These are used to restock the branches or to deliver orders to large customers at their construction sites, thus enabling customers to reduce their packaging waste.
    In order to reduce the environmental impact of its customers' large projects, Rexel offers them global supply management services, grouping deliveries upstream, optimizing transportation and reducing the associated impact.
    Finally, in most European countries, the implementation of European regulations in relation to Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) has led Rexel branches to collect its customers' WEEE in order to recycle it. In other countries, Rexel subsidiaries go beyond local legal obligations and offer this additional service to their customers.

Improving our social and environmental performance

The Group's social and environmental performance lies at the heart of its sustainable development policy. Rexel's performance contributes to the Group's legitimacy and long-term success, as well as to its credibility and impact among all its stakeholders.
  • Assisting and involving our employees

    In every country where the Group operates, it goes beyond the legal and regulatory framework to ensure that its employees have working conditions and career development opportunities that foster their personal and professional fulfillment as well as the company's sustainable development.
    Rexel's aim is to work for inclusive diversity by favoring equal opportunity in matters of recruitment, training, remuneration, job placement, and career development.
    In light of rapidly changing professions, markets and technologies, skill enhancement is essential. The increasing use of digital tools has led to a significant rise in training hours (+46% in 2016) and in the number of employees being trained (+18% in 2016). Rexel Academy, the digital learning platform launched in 2015, is now available in 15 countries.
    Rexel is committed to guaranteeing the health and safety of all its employees: the campaign "Our safety. Our responsibility." launched in 2015, has helped to raise awareness among employees and to encourage safe practices. Nearly half of the Group's total workforce (48.2%) has received safety training.

  • Reducing our carbon footprint

    Continuously improving Rexel's environmental performance is contingent on the quality and coherence of its management policy. Focusing on shared commitments, it is based on centralized data gathering and a thorough assessment of the Group's impact.
    The greenhouse gas emissions associated with the energy consumed by buildings represent around 56% of the Group's emissions (2016 figures). To lower these emissions, while setting an example of implementing the energy efficient and renewable energy solutions that the Group promotes, Rexel is taking active measures.
    When moving into new offices, Rexel gives preference to recent buildings that were constructed in compliance with certified energy regulations. The Group's Paris headquarters have thus been certified "HQE Exploitation". For all other locations, renovations take precedence: low-consumption lighting, technical building management, motion sensors to optimize energy consumption, renewable energy use (solar panels, biomass, etc.), consumption management. By the end of 2016, 80% of logistics and commercial sites were equipped with LED lighting.
    In the area of transportation, which represents 44 % of the Group's emissions (Scope 1 and 2), improvement measures are constantly enacted: optimization of its delivery routes and deliveries, choice of service providers based on environmental performance indicators, and vehicle fleet rationalization.

  • Reducing resource consumption and optimizing waste management

    Preserving natural resources, primarily in packaging and paper consumption, and waste recycling are two other important parts of Rexel's environmental approach.
    Packaging consumption is inherent to Rexel's distribution business. Efforts to limit its use involve adapting the size of packaging to that of products, designing innovative recyclable packaging, and choosing reusable materials. In many countries, Rexel's warehouses have set up a pre-packing system that automatically selects the packaging best suited to the order.
    The digitization of catalogues and brochures, the dematerialization of order processes, collaboration with the main printing solutions service provider, and employee awareness-raising campaigns have enabled a reduction in paper consumption.
    Generalizing selective waste sorting in the Group's logistics centers enables cardboard boxes, certain kinds of plastic film and wood waste to be recycled. The Group also encourages its branches to implement selective sorting. Two thirds of the waste generated is thus recycled (67% in 2016).

  • Behaving ethically and complying with legal obligations

    Rexel's ethics policy is a continuous progress approach. Its goal is to preserve the Group's reputation and to strengthen its partners' trust, thus contributing to achieving sustainable growth.
    Rexel expects its employees to act with ethics and integrity in order to preserve the mutual trust and respect of its customers, shareholders, suppliers, other employees, partners and communities. To accompany the implementation of this approach, Rexel uses an Ethics Guide and local ethics correspondents who can be anonymously contacted for any request or question, and leads regular information campaigns.
    Rejecting all forms of corruption is one of the pillars of Rexel's ethics policy. The company has committed to never use illicit procedures or acts with the aim of obtaining advantages or exemptions that do not comply with local or international law. In this sense, in 2014 the Group published a collection of anti-corruption, commercial exchange management and anti-money laundering guiding principles for all of its subsidiaries. An e-learning module on corruption prevention has also been available to 22 of the Group's countries of operation since 2015.

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