2018/2019 highlights

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LED lighting has been installed in 100% of our stores Our renewable energy supply for electricity has increased to 100% in UK owned stores. We have reduced waste diverted to landfill by 22.9%.
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Our electricity usage has decreased by 11.7% as a Group. Emissions per sq ft have been reduced by 16.3%. Our water usage has been reduced by 10.6% as a Group.

Safestore and Our Environment

Safestore takes sustainability very seriously and supports actions which are taken to reduce the impact of man-made greenhouse gases that are affecting our environment. Many of the decisions we have taken over the last twelve months align with the aims of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: from promise to practice. This section relates to Climate Action and Responsible Consumption and Production, two of the three priority goals to which we believe Safestore can make a meaningful contribution.

Safestore aims to minimise the impact of our business operations on the environment, both directly and through our sourcing activities.

In the context of climate change, we strive to respond to all aspects that have an impact on our products and services. We have produced a comprehensive strategy to minimise our overall impact on the environment. Our scale means that we need to focus on reducing our impact on the environment whilst working with suppliers who are committed to sustainable business practices.

Sustainable construction

At Safestore, we care about the impact of our construction activities on the environment and seek to minimise noise and nuisance by following best practice.

Our construction team follows sustainable construction principles and, whenever practical, we use materials that have a recycled content or are selected from sustainable sources.

The amount of waste and energy usage is monitored on each of our sites to identify potential efficiencies for introduction on future building projects.

Our stores are designed to provide a safe, secure home for our customers’ possessions and we build them with all our key stakeholders in mind: our customers, our investors and the environment.

Standards in construction

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology (“BREEAM”).

BREEAM certification is a local planning requirement for some of our new stores, especially those in areas of high-density urban environments. The methodology assesses impacts and opportunities for enhancing the design and construction environmental aspects.

The certification includes a review of new store energy, sustainable building materials, water efficiency, waste recycling and ecology. The review also includes social aspects of the building life including its resource management, health, wellbeing, modes of transport and pollution reduction.

Our latest new store development in Carshalton has an “Excellent” pre-construction BREEAM rating which places it highest in the areas of land use and ecology, transport, waste, pollution and energy efficiency.

Regardless of whether a site is BREEAM certified we are committed to a minimum standard on all our new store developments of pre-construction BREEAM “Very Good”.

Considerate Constructors Scheme (“CCS”)

The Considerate Constructors Scheme is a non-profit-making independent organisation founded in 1997 by the construction industry to improve standards. Construction sites, companies and suppliers voluntarily register with the scheme and agree to abide by the Code of Considerate Practice, designed to encourage best practice beyond statutory requirements.

The scheme is concerned about any area of construction activity that may have a direct or indirect impact on the image of the industry as a whole. The main areas of concern fall into three categories: the general public, the workforce and the environment.

At Safestore, all of our new store developments are registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme with a target score of 36 points for both the shell construction and fitting out of the facility. Our current crop of new store developments have exceeded our target and recently achieved scores of 38, 40 and 42.

At Safestore, we have been developing and constructing new stores for the last 17 years and have always found that what makes long term commercial sense is largely aligned to sound sustainable practices.

We have a long-standing commitment to a range of inbuilt features and believe that these contribute to making us an attractive, safe and long term sustainable investment for our investor community and a pleasant environment to work and store for our customers and colleagues.

The configuration of an individual store may change from time to time or from location to location; however, all our stores are built to similar standards and we are committed to implementing the right solution for the environment we build in.

Safestore commitments from 2019/20 onwards are:
Best practice – internal/
external expectation
Safestore commitment Applicability
BREEAM Equivalent to “Very Good” Across all new build stores
BREEAM Very Good/Excellent Where part of local planning
SUDS Included Across all new build stores
Solar PV Roof-mounted PV Where part of local planning
CCS Score 36 or higher All new stores
Ecology Protect existing and improve biodiversity Across all new build stores
Energy Efficient LED lighting with built in motion sensors Across all existing and new stores

Construction resources and waste

Construction material: recycled content

At Safestore, we follow sustainable construction principles and, whenever practical, materials are recycled or selected from sustainable sources; typically, the construction of one of our stores may include the following:

Building material % of build cost % recycled content
Steel (main frame) 4 – 5% Minimum 56%
Concrete 3 – 4% 29% – 37%
Cladding (walls and roof) 7 – 9% 3% but Kingspan target improvement using recycled bottles by 2030
Particle board (mezzanine floors) 2% 85%
Brick and block walls 3 – 5% 9% – 55%
Glazing 2% Glass 25%, aluminium frames 60%
Hardcore (piling mat) 1% 100%

Waste and recycling

Construction projects are always going to generate waste. At Safestore, we carefully monitor our new store construction waste and ensure that on every site all waste is separated into specific skips and recycled where possible.

We are currently diverting 97% of all of our construction waste away from landfill, an improvement of 2% from 2016. Our aspiration is to increase this to 99% by 2025.

From 2019/20, we will also be looking to reduce the use of single non-recyclable plastics coming on to our construction sites in the form of material packaging. Working with our partners and suppliers, we aim to cut usage by 50% next year, rising to 75% in 2020/21 and a total ban in 2021/22.

Health and safety

Our health and safety record is excellent. All of our new store schemes are registered with the Considerate Constructors Scheme and we are constantly challenging our teams to exceed minimum standards. Safestore has a robust health and safety policy and we are very proud of our record in achieving very low incident levels compared with our peer group. For the year, the number of reportable incidents on our construction sites was zero.

Consultation process

Our stores are designed to provide a safe, secure home for our customers’ possessions and we build them with all our key stakeholders in mind: our customers, our investors and the environment. As part of the town planning process, we consult widely amongst the community and those most likely to be affected by the development.

Carshalton Wrythe Lane case study

Lavender – gas holder – self storage 

We In early 2020, Safestore will open its 46th store within London at Wrythe Lane Carshalton. Our construction team are not afraid of a challenge and this site was certainly going to be that, just to get it ready for the new development.

There has been a gas holder on the Wrythe Lane site since approximately 1860, prior to which the area was farmland, predominantly for the cultivation of lavender.

By 1875 there were three single lift, vertically guided, telescopic gas holders (or gasometers as they were originally known) on the site, but by 1894 the site was no longer operational, presumably due to the decline in the use of gas for lighting, thanks to the recent invention of, somewhat safer, electricity.

By the 1930s however, following a government sponsored campaign, with the assistance of Mrs Beeton (an English journalist, editor and writer), gas use was on the increase again; this time for cooking. In 1933 the original three gas holders were demolished, to be replaced by a single, much larger, more efficient gas holder.

Both designs of gas holder relied upon water to make the seal, which stopped the gas escaping and kept it under suitable pressure for the supply pipes to function. It was recorded at the time of the first demolition that the below ground tanks from the old gasometers remained filled with water and were found to be teeming with pond life including newts and a 10-inch Golden Carp.

The new water sealed spiral guided telescopic gas holder was constructed by Henry Hemmings Ltd, to a developed design first patented in 1887 by Gadd & Mason of Manchester. It was 42 million in diameter, and comprised three lifts, rising to contain a capacity of 4 million cubic metres of gas. Approximately 880 tonnes of steel were used in the construction, and the water seal consisted of 3.5 million gallons of water.

Safestore took ownership of the site in November 2018 and received planning consent for a new 15,000 sq ft store around the same time.

The gas holder had lain dormant for many years, and the demolition contractor estimated the remaining water in the holder to be around 10,000 cubic metres. At a discharge rate of 97 cubic metres per day, it took around six weeks for the liquid to be drained prior to commencement of the dismantling of the steel structure.

The demolition method statement explains that the first task, once the gas holder was confirmed as empty, was to make an access hole in the side, to allow tracked excavators fitted with demolition shears to enter.

The crown plate (roof lid) was cut and lowered in sections into the gas holder, followed by sections of wall being cut into strips, which were then bent inwards before being broken down into smaller parts.

This process was repeated for all three tiers of the gas holder, with ancillary structural and mechanical items being dealt with in sequence. The dismantling of the gas holder took a full ten weeks to complete, after which the original ground slab was broken out and crushed for use on site to backfill any created voids and stockpiled for use in the construction project.

All steel material recovered from site was sent for recycling, and much of the other material, such as timber or brick, was either recycled or sent for energy recovery.

From farmland used for the cultivation of lavender to a gas holder and now a self storage facility. The next chapter in the life of Wrythe Lane has well and truly begun. 

Last gas holder    Final stages of demolition
The last gas holder, just prior to demolition During the final stages of demolition

Our Suppliers

2019 saw a change in our requirements from potential partners and suppliers in relation to our ongoing tender process. All suppliers that have been renewed in the last twelve months are required to be aligned with our modern slavery, anti-bribery and GDPR policies.

Our merchandise

Packaging beyond today
Safestore is proud to state that from November 2019 our sourced merchandise packaging will no longer contain single use or non-biodegradable plastics purchased from our suppliers. We have allowed an extended time for existing stock in stores to be sold.

The benefits of our merchandise range are:
  • Our void fill is potato starch and cellulose fibres and is 100% biodegradable. It is compostable (EN13432) and independently proven to offer better all-round protection than polystyrene loose fill.
  • Our boxes are made from 100% recycled card and are 100% recyclable. We continue to uphold our “box for life promise” to our customers ensuring our boxes are recycled in a responsible way.
  • Our cord has been changed from a Nylon-based product to a sisal rope. Sisal rope is a hard natural fibre, sunlight resistant and biodegradable.
  • Our bubble wrap is biodegradable and 100% recyclable. It is treated with raw materials which do not contain heavy metals.
  • We have removed single use plastic outer packaging from our moving blankets, bubble wrap and padlocks.
These changes will save 1.5 tonnes of plastic per annum being sent to landfill or general waste. This contributes to substantially reducing our waste generation through prevention.

We continue to work closely with our suppliers to help minimise our carbon footprint by reducing delivery mileage with products delivered from local depots.

Our merchandise supplier collects our empty pallets from stores whilst carrying out deliveries therefore reducing the amount of visits needed. The pallets will then be re-used to palletise and deliver other goods, or recycled.

Our uniforms

First impressions
We ensure that our colleagues’ uniforms are made by suppliers with ethical and environmental principles. Our supplier processes are based on the ethical trade initiative and on the International Register of Certificated Auditors (“IRCA”) who audit and inspect their factories. They have continued to improve compliance and train their employees on environmental issues which we fully endorse.

The principles based on the Ethical Trade Initiative are:
  • employment is freely chosen;
  • freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected;
  • working conditions are safe and hygienic;
  • child labour shall not be used;
  • living wages are paid;
  • working hours are not excessive;
  • no discrimination is practised;
  • regular employment is provided; and
  • no harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.


What powers us?
Last year saw us make a significant impact on our environmental footprint with the implementation of our energy sourcing programme. From October 2018 we changed to 100% renewable energy sources in 114 of our UK owned stores which equates to a 5,218 tonnes CO2 reduction to our overall carbon footprint.
Alltwalis Wind Farm    Andershaw Wind Farm South Lanarkshire, Scotland
Alltwalis Wind Farm – South Wales Andershaw Wind Farm – South Lanarkshire, Scotland

We are delighted to say that we have committed to renewable energy for the next four years. This adds to the significant change we have already made and continued reduction of our carbon footprint. The electricity for our UK owned portfolio is supplied by two wind farms: Alltwalis, which is located in South Wales and consists of ten turbines with the capacity to generate 23 MW; and Andershaw, which is located in South Lanarkshire in Scotland and consists of eleven turbines with the capacity to generate 36.3 MW.

The successful installation of the LEDs in all our UK stores has resulted in a reduction of 458 tonnes in CO2 in the last year. Safestore are proud to show year-on-year reductions proving our commitment to our set goals.

Safestore continues to monitor technology and any viable solutions for the future.

Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (“ESOS”) Phase 2
ESOS is a mandatory energy assessment scheme for organisations in the UK which is carried out by an independent company.

The facility assessments have already been completed and we have achieved 100% regulatory compliance and a notable 81% in Management Commitment. We will be incorporating the outputs and recommendations of the assessment into our energy reduction initiative planning for 2019/20 and beyond.

Lighting our stores
Safestore has for the past 18 months been implementing our LED lighting project in all UK stores. All of our communal and staff areas are 100% completed in all UK stores and this has resulted in over 27,000 lights being changed from fluorescent lights to light emitting diodes (“LEDs”). This has had a significant positive impact on our CO2 emissions reducing them by 458 tonnes last year alone. The CO2, emissions calculation will be further enhanced due to the annualisation of the stores completed during 2019.

We decided to engage with a leading global manufacturer to deliver a Safestore branded luminaire which now provides occupancy-only based lighting, lighting only the aisles where movement is detected. This bespoke light gives our customers the added lighting they require, how and when they need it. The lighting that has been installed has a high lumen output focusing all of the light in the required area. As an example of this a typical 15 Watt fluorescent lamp has a lumen output of 810 lumen, whereas our new Safestore branded light has an output of 1600 lumens.

Together with the initial CO2 saving indicated above, the additional benefits of our LED project include having the lighting under a seven-year warranty period which removes often unnecessary maintenance journeys to our stores. Additional benefits in the summer months result in reduced heat gains from reception lighting – this will have the ongoing benefit of reduced demand on air conditioning. Finally, LED installation has removed the need for the collection and disposal of spent fluorescent tubes via a WEEE compliant waste collection, further reducing the environmental impact of lighting our facilities.

Like-for-Like usage
  Last year This year % change
Electricity (MWh) 17,090.3 15,048.8 (11.9)


What fuels us?
Gas is only used in 38% of our UK stores and we continue look at opportunities to reduce our consumption and remove gas wherever possible. All new build facilities do not have gas and are electrically heated in the limited areas of store where heating is required.

Like-for-Like usage
  Last year This year % change
Gas (MWh) 4,127.7 3,912.0 (5.2)


What hydrates us?
As a company we consume very low volumes of water but strive to further minimise our consumption wherever possible through the installation of efficient water fixtures and fittings.

We trialled a water efficiency programme at our Head Office as a larger user of water. We monitored the usage over twelve months and have seen a 62% reduction in usage. A specialist water use contractor has been engaged to offer expert advice on key changes we can implement to reduce water wastage.

Like-for-Like usage
  Last year This year % change
Water (cubic metres) 60,839 54,596 (10.3)

RefillSafestore has partnered with “Refill” which is an award-winning campaign designed to help reduce plastic pollution by making it easy for the general public to refill reusable water bottles instead of buying new plastic ones. “Refill” uses an App to show all the relevant locations throughout the UK where this service is available for free.

We are proud to display their badge in 113 of our facilities across the UK to support the tremendous work they are doing.

Point of sale (“POS”)

Plastic Free July.pngSafestore has started an overhaul of its POS and it has already stopped supplying stores with plastic posters. The new posters in all of our facilities are a correx alternative which are polypropylene and 100% recyclable.

These are weather resistant and long lasting and therefore will reduce the amount of times they are replaced. This will see a reduction in our waste stream from POS.


Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Safestore has embarked on a journey to help its customers and colleagues understand that small changes we can make will reduce our plastic and landfill waste. We launched our “Plastic Free July” campaign which included educating colleagues on how long items can take to decompose and what alternatives there are at an affordable price.

We asked them how they might reduce their plastic use in their daily life, from their commute to work, their break time habits and during their working day. We also had a competition in which we encouraged our colleagues to show what changes they had made and the positive impact they are making.

Our waste efficiency plan is now in full effect and we have surveyed 60% of our facilities. Actions from the surveys included increasing recycling capacity and decreasing the amount of general waste collections.

Safestore continues its stance on reducing waste by producing a 22.9% reduction in landfill, the lowest it has been in four years.

The “Every Can Counts” initiative relating to the recycling of aluminium and tin cans continues to operate within the Company this year ensuring that any suitable waste cans are recycled.

Our Actions in 2018

Last year’s targets This year’s comments
Ensure the safe handling and disposal of waste products. This has been a part of our efficiency plan.
Continue to deploy cardboard recycling facilities across our stores which is supported by our efficiency roll-out for waste. Over the last twelve months, Safestore has decreased its total waste by 52 tonnes. This has been achieved by introducing more recycling availability on site and reducing the amount of general waste being generated. We believe that educating our colleagues and customers will not only improve lowering waste but also reduce the impact on the environment long term.
Reduce our energy usage through a range of initiatives. With the successful replacement of fluorescent tubes to LED fittings in our stores we have reduced our electricity usage by 2,041.5 MWh which equates to 458 tonnes of CO2 on a like-for-like basis.
Where possible we will look to use renewable energy sources. Safestore has committed to a four-year renewable electricity contract for owned stores.
We will work with our suppliers to reduce our carbon footprint within our supply chains. We have made significant changes with our suppliers and partners over the last twelve months to reduce the amounts of Safestore-specific deliveries and used companies that are already delivering in that area.
We will use eco-friendly solutions when building new stores and, as a minimum, build to the BREEAM “Very Good” standard or equivalent. We have achieved the target we set last year, by reducing all single use plastics from the packaging of our merchandise.
This year we are going to revisit the packaging of our products to remove any plastic packaging which is not bio-degradable. This change will look to be implemented by the end of financial year 2019. We have achieved the target set last year, by removing all single use plastics from the packaging of our merchandise.
Reduce our freshwater usage by 5% collectively for our UK stores. We have achieved our target of reducing our water usage in our UK stores by 8.2% on a like-for-like basis.
We will work with suppliers and partners so deliveries can be made from local depots, thus reducing the cost of CO2 emissions on transport. This has been achieved by reducing our suppliers and also specially choosing companies which have delivery routes in our store locations.

Mandatory Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Report

This report was undertaken in accordance with the mandatory Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions reporting requirements outlined in the Companies Act for listed companies, which requires Safestore Holdings Plc (“Safestore”) to report on its Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions each financial year. This report contains our GHG disclosure for the 2018/19 financial year.

We have 122 stores in the UK and 28 stores in France. During the 2018/19 reporting period we purchased a new UK store at Heathrow; we also opened our Peterborough and Merry Hill stores, closed our Paddington Green and Leeds Central UK stores, and acquired one new French store in Pontoise. This report contains the following environmental data for all our stores which were operational at the beginning of the financial year: GHG emissions, electricity consumption, electricity transmission and distribution, gas consumption, water consumption, waste generation and business travel.

Mandatory greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions report 2019

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