By Joe Mellor, Deputy Editor
Print and mailing specialists, CFH Docmail, recently announced energy savings of 20% at its main facilities in Radstock, Somerset, and is now busy rolling-out the most energy efficient postal service in the UK. Through Velopost – a local bicycle mail collection and delivery service – CFH Docmail has achieved the UK’s first carbon-neutral postal service, operating in three cities currently, with further expansion planned.
The journey to energy-saving has been a long one, but one that the company, and Managing Director, Dave Broadway, is thoroughly committed to, and passionate about. With a several awards under its belt in recognition of its environmental achievements, Broadway is keen to pass on what the company has learned, and help other businesses become more energy-efficient and less wasteful.
The start of the journey for CFH Docmail was a two-year research partnership with the University of West of England (UWE), CFH Docmail has carefully considered all of its options in reducing waste, cutting energy use, and reducing its overall environmental impact. Conscious of its use of energy-hungry printing and processing machinery, and vast use of paper, Dave Broadway, is committed to achieving yet more energy savings – as much as a third – and is working on the expansion of its near zero-carbon postal delivery service.
As the UK’s third largest end-to-end postal delivery provider, operating from a 110,000 sq ft. plant in Radstock, determining the best ways to cut waste, and reduce energy use was a huge task. The firm has implemented a number of measures, with more investment planned, which, to date, has led to over 23% reduction in energy use and a significant reduction in waste.
Dave Broadway explains:
“When working with the UWE, we covered every small detail of our operation, looking for ways to make it more energy efficient, and to reduce our waste, and overall impact. It’s important not to overlook the small things or those basic routine, daily tasks or processes – the smallest changes can still have a big impact.
“Some of the changes we have made are very obvious – such as our switch to using electric vehicles to deliver mail to the local postal depots, switching to LED lighting, and buying our electricity from a sustainable source.
“And the less obvious and localised changes have also had a similar impact – for example, we’ve replaced the inefficient air compressors required by our printing press machines, installed a gas optimisation controller and energy measuring equipment, and implemented a staff ‘cycle to work’ scheme. The savings we have made in the last few years have been extremely encouraging, and we are continuing to identify more ways to make our business and operation as sustainable as possible.”
Perhaps where CFH Docmail has made its biggest strides in environmental terms is with its Velopost service. Currently operating in Bristol, Bath and Edinburgh, this service uses a team of cyclists to collect and deliver mail locally, with the added assistance of the electric vehicles to transport the mail to local hubs. Velopost has proved a very popular and successful service, delivering over 20,000 pieces of mail every month for local residents and businesses, saving them around 40% on the price of a second class stamp.
Dave Broadway adds:
“Operating in a sustainable, energy efficient way is important for us as a business, and we recognise that it is becoming increasingly important for our customers and clients. They benefit from our environmental credentials each time they use our Docmail or Velopost service, so they are saving more than just time and money – they are reducing their own impact on the environment too.
“Achieving such high standards and maximising efficiencies in this regard continues to be a personal commitment of mine, but it is equally important for the whole business. We of course see savings in our energy bills, but the creation of our door-to-door delivery service makes us inherently more efficient than our competitors, including Royal Mail. The fact that we can do it in an almost carbon-free way is real bonus, and something that is unique to CFH.”