Ellis of Richmond – Reducing our carbon footprint.
In June 2007, the board of Ellis of Richmond took the decision to seek to reduce the company’s carbon footprint through a series of measures to be implemented over the next twelve months with continuous measurement thereafter.
The following actions were taken:
- Assessment exercise carried out by Carbon Footprint Ltd to calculate the company’s current direct green house emission levels.
- Identify high risk areas and formulate an achievable set of actions to address and reduce emissions in these areas,
- Implement measures to reduce emissions across all aspects of the business. These include:
Ø Own vehicle transport
Ø Office and warehouse premises
Ø Producers and vineyards
Paul Wilshaw, Operations Manager, worked with Carbon Footprint Ltd to carry out the initial assessment of our business and took guidance from that organisation on ways to reduce our current levels.
In August 2007, Carbon Footprint Ltd assessed the carbon emissions generated by Ellis of Richmond’s facilities and their staff transport over the period of 1 year. Ellis of Richmond’s carbon footprint was calculated to be 349 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
Ellis of Richmond then approached environmental NGO Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA) with the decision to offset this carbon by planting trees in disadvantaged communities living in barren and dusty environments in South Africa.
It was calculated that Ellis of Richmond’s carbon footprint could be offset by planting 698 trees through FTFA’s Trees for Homes programme.
Through Trees for Homes FTFA selects sites for the planting of indigenous and fruit trees and arranges procurement, transport and delivery thereof to the beneficiaries, some of whom are provided with training and some short term employment. FTFA then organises the planting of the trees with the beneficiary community and lists the tree funder on the FTFA website. This programme provides many environmental and social benefits, as well as the offsetting carbon emissions.
Paul Wilshaw formulated a series of actions to reduce emissions across the UK business and James Ellis, Director, undertook to address issues in areas of the business outside of the UK, namely producers, vineyards and shipping.
Own vehicle transport
Ellis of Richmond operates a fleet of 10 lorries – 8 are 7.5tonnes and 2 are 3.5tonnes. It also has a fleet of 16 company vehicles.
The following were identified as being areas where savings could be made:
- Restricting lorries to a maximum speed of 56mph through installation of a ‘Governor’ which, whilst now being a legal requirement, reduces the fuel consumption of the vehicles.
- Consolidation of deliveries to reduce the need for the vehicles to travel distances for single drops. E.g. Bournemouth, Poole and Hampshire.
- Hybrid replacement of lorries that have come to the end of their life. This is being evaluated on suitability and accessibility and will be considered when the next lorry is due for replacement. (January 2010)
- Vehicles are serviced regularly to ensure that the engines are working at their best capacity.
- Company car vehicle engine size restricted to 2.0 litres or less and where feasible, replaced by hybrid vehicles. We currently have two hybrid vehicles on the fleet sourced in 2008.
- The London sales team work using public transport and are not allocated company cars.
Packaging covers two areas, namely:
ө Our own packaging needs within the warehouse.
ө Glass and cardboard packaging used by suppliers.
In our warehouse we use cardboard packaging. We have identified a supplier who makes this product from sustainable sources approved of by the Forestry Standards Commission.
One of our suppliers requested that we carry out a Hazard and Critical Control Process on our suppliers and this evaluation takes in carbon emissions as a fundamental part. See sample documentation attached.
Office and Warehouse Premises
Measures have been put in place to increase the energy efficiency of our office heating and cooling, use of lights and computers and our recycling of paper, plastic and glass.
We are members of Valpak™ through whom we recycle all glass waste on our behalf and on behalf of our customers. Our recycled recorded waste in 2007 was 455 tonnes of material which equates to a saving of 253 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Our certificate for 2007 is attached along with our Environmental Policy.
We undertook an analysis of the methods of shipping that our producers use to bring the wines into the UK. Currently, the break down is as follows:
Ship - 60%
Rail - 19%
Road - 21%
We actively encourage producers and shippers with whom we work, to use the most ecological method of transport and aim to reduce our road transportation methods by 10% year on year.
Changing the mindset of staff is a key component of us striving to maintain our carbon neutral status. Every member of staff is encouraged to undertake steps to work towards the reduction of carbon emissions in the workplace.
We are coming to end of our years’ certification and we will shortly be undertaking the Carbon Footprint reassessment.
In the meantime, our partner in Backsberg have planted a further 698 trees in conjunction with Food and Trees for Africa. See Simon Back's version of events here
and our certificate.