Report from September 2022: ‘Not-So-Super-Stores?  Are the big retailers in our West Oxford community helping or hindering climate action?’


Executive summary

Read the full report:

Press release:

Engaging big business on the Botley Road: introducing the LCWO Retailer Sustainability Scorecard

Retail plays a major part in West Oxford’s (and Oxford city’s) carbon footprint – both directly in the energy use associated with running stores and the vehicle miles associated with customers coming to and from the shops; and also indirectly in the supply chains, packaging, and logistics required to create products and transport them to Oxford.

We developed the LCWO Business Scorecard to:

  • Enable retailers to compare their performance with other local retailers and improve in ways which create positive benefits for the local environment, staff and residents.
  • Enable residents, workers, consumers and local councils to understand and compare the sustainability performance of some of West Oxford’s “big brand” retailers.
  • Provide retailers with the opportunity to engage with local communities to tell us how they are helping to tackle local sustainability priorities and encourage them to do more.
  • Invite them to reduce local emissions and protect the environment in line with the City Council’s targets and to join existing initiatives such as the Oxfordshire Greentech local sustainable business network.

How we developed the Scorecard

Step 1: Scorecard design

The scorecard was designed using a methodology informed by Oxfam’s tried-and-tested business scorecards.

For LCWO, sustainability is as much about local actions as corporate commitments, so our scorecard ranks businesses on a selection of 40 local issues such as sustainable transport, energy efficiency, litter, and biodiversity, alongside 19 corporate indicators, covering company-level initiatives such as carbon reduction commitments. We want our Scorecard to be a way of positively engaging with businesses in West Oxford to help accelerate the path to zero carbon in ways that create practical benefits for staff, environment and the community.

The corporate indicators are summarised to the right; see the full list of indicators, including notes on how a score is being calculated for each here.

Step 2: Corporate scoring

We completed the scoring for all the businesses for first half of the scorecard, ranking them according to the 17 corporate indicators.  It has been possible to do this entirely using desk-based research, so its completion was unaffected by Covid-19 and lockdowns.  Businesses were then approached for feedback prior to the publication of the leaderboard.

Step 3: Opportunity for retailer feedback

Businesses were then approached for feedback on corporate scores and data to enable to assessment of local indicators.  This was done by direct approach to branch managers (by email and letter), and then by email and letter to Head Office Sustainability Managers (or equivalent).

Step 4: Publication of the report

The report ‘Not-So-Super-Stores? Are the big retailers in our West Oxford Community helping or hindering climate action?’ launched on Monday 26 September 2022.



Who’s involved?

The scorecard was developed by Mim Saxl, LCWO Programme Lead and Ruth Mayne, co-founder of LCWO, committee member and Oxfam Research Lead; with input from Phil Bloomer, Executive Director of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

The corporate indicators cover:

  1. Greenhouse Gas (GHG) and Energy
  2. Circular Economy
  3. Supply Chain
  4. Customers and Community
  5. Other indicators

Click here for the full list.

The local indicators cover:

  1. Renewable energy
  2. Energy efficiency
  3. Low carbon transport
  4. Circular economy
  5. Water
  6. Diversity
  7. Livelihoods
  8. Engaging people and behaviour change

Click here for the full list.