B&Q: Lessons learned in supplier auditing

Retailer B&Q was one of the first British businesses to launch an environmental purchasing programme, and has been through a steep learning curve with its initial round of supplier questionnaires and audits. Mistakes have been made, but the outcome is a more sophisticated method of reducing B&Q's environmental exposure and increasing opportunities by involving both its buyers and suppliers more fully in the process.

Many companies have taken measures to improve their in-house environmental performance, but a select group, including B&Q, British Telecom, Body Shop, IBM UK and Scott, have taken the process a step further by seeking to reduce the environmental impact of the goods, components and services they buy in. Pressures exerted up the supply chain by these pioneers have led to a proliferation of approaches to environmental purchasing. The problems

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