In 2011, DIY giant B&Q, embarked on a new adventure - the launch of a Youth Board. This brought together young people from around the UK to advise their business. I made it through the selection process to win my place on the board and collaborated with 8 other young people from across the country on a year long project. We were set a real challenge facing the business: How can B&Q thrive and evolve in a world with rising costs of energy, material and waste disposal?
We focused on how B&Q could eliminate waste in the production and usage of a product. We presented back to Dame Ellen MacArthur, Ian Cheshire (CEO Kingfisher) and B&Q’s Board of Directors. Progress is now being made in the business from our proposals. We have agreed to meet once a year for the next 10 years for B&Q to see us progress in our careers and keep us updated on development of our concepts.
I have been recognised as the Innovator at B&Q for pioneering the 'Project Box' concept, where customers can lease a pack of tools, along with the materials they need to complete common DIY jobs around the garden and home. This concept that I worked on during my time on the Youth Board has received funding by the Government's Technology Strategy Board and is in further development.
In October 2014, after a steady flow of enquiries from other businesses interested in the how the youth board worked, and how it could be replicated, B&Q launched a tool kit for business, giving insights from leaders in the business and the board members themselves. Click here to download the toolkit.
Over the Summer 2013, I was offered a one month Internship with Kingfisher (parent company of Screwfix and B&Q) working within their Net Positive team. This is Kingfisher's long term vision and business plan to go beyond zero impact and create positive change. Whilst on my internship I researched into the plastic waste created within areas of their supply chain, and the potential solutions to eradicate this, saving substantial amounts of waste and money. I travelled to distribution centres, suppliers, plastic recyclers and worked with external packaging experts on realistic solutions. Whilst I am not allowed to disclose my findings, B&Q is working on some of these ideas, engaging suppliers to close the loop on waste.
Below is a video giving a glimpse into the Youth Board's final presentation.