Garden centre group Wyevale has finalised its environmental strategy, outlining a programme to actively run the business in a sustainable way.

The policies were formed following a consultation with leading suppliers, customers, stakeholders and staff.

Wyevale sustainability director Alan Knight will elaborate on the Wyevale’s greenprint when he speaks at the Retail Week Conference next Thursday, March 13.

Knight said: “It’s about making a commitment to sustainable lifestyles, rather than retail doing less harm to the environment.”

Labelled Project Apple, Wyevale’s project focuses on four key issues: carbon neutrality, poverty, well-being and what it calls the “one-planet living dilemma” – the fact that if everyone in the world lived as Europeans do now, three planets like Earth would be needed.

Part of the initiative will be to promote solar-powered outdoor lighting to customers. Knight said: “We want to decouple gardening from the national grid.”

Eco areas will open in Wyevale’s store to showcase products that can help customers live sustainably and a similar virtual space will be created on Wyevale’s soon to be relaunched web site.

There will also be “amnesty weekends”, when customers can return their old gardening tools to be sent to Africa. Knight said that by the end of the year it would become a mainstream Wyevale service.

Wyevale’s eco agenda is the latest example of retailers acting in response to environmental pressures and associated consumer concern. Last week, Marks & Spencer – which is in the midst of its Plan A environmental and ethical programme – said it would start charging customers 5p per plastic bag from May 6.

M&S’s announcement was swiftly followed by a call from the Prime Minister for retailers to end the use of single-use bags or face a charge for them.