Respecting our environment
We take our responsibilities towards the environment seriously and strive to minimise the impact of our activities on the planet. Our environmental policies are designed to ensure that we play our part in looking after the world around us, safeguarding it for future generations. Audited details of our environmental impacts are updated annually and published in our annual report and accounts which can be downloaded from the investor section of this website.
Our environmental impact is most significantly influenced by our vehicle emissions; energy consumption at our locations; and waste and recycling of product and packaging. These represent our primary areas of focus for environmental impact improvement. As a result of our efforts, we have continuously reduced our like for like carbon emissions since 2010. And to help ensure we continue to make progress, we forecast our future energy consumption, identifying key contributing factors and, where practical, taking action so that the environmental impact is reduced.
Fuel and fleet
Fuel used by fleet and contractors accounts for the most substantial portion of our total emissions and reducing this by smart routing and vehicle upgrades remains our primary approach.
Our priority for the medium term is to secure further fuel efficiencies, through continual review of the distribution and trunking processes and smart routing. We work to ensure that our routing makes the best use of fuel, maximising delivery and collection productivity wherever possible, by for example, collecting returns at the same time as they make new deliveries.
In FY2020 we improved the efficiency of vehicle usage by reducing the size of totes which improved our fill capacity from an average of 50% to 70%. We also upgraded our routing software and conducted a detailed review of retailer drop requirements to reflect the changing retail landscape. As a result, we were able to remove168 delivery routes, reducing distribution mileage by 1.6m miles and saving an estimated 116,000 litres of fuel. Looking ahead, we plan to continue investing to reduce our overall emissions over time and, so far as is possible, achieve reductions in line with the decline of overall sales volumes.
We continue to monitor the potential for electronic vehicles but at present the technology is not yet adequate or sufficiently widespread to meet our mainstream delivery requirements.
Across the Group, we work hard to minimise energy consumption and reduce our carbon emissions in ways that are compatible with our operations.
As part of this commitment, we have implemented a number of energy efficiency projects, enabling us to reduce our carbon emissions from heating and lighting in target sites; we are continuing to identify further opportunities to reduce consumption across our network.
To encourage our sites to more effectively manage their own consumption, weekly management information is provided which highlights key consumption trends and performance of individual sites. Local actions can then be taken by colleagues to react to trends and minimise their energy usage.
The recycling of packaging waste is key environmental measure in our depots. We have made excellent progress in recent years, working with specialists and outside suppliers we have increased mixed waste recycling to over 75% and are striving to improve every year. In addition, we continue to investigate methods to divert waste away from landfill via targeted segregation and refuse derived fuel facilities.
We are proud that Smiths News recycles 98 per cent of all unsold newspapers and magazines and over 80% of its operational waste. To achieve these impressive results we adopt the latest solutions to make our waste management as environmentally friendly as possible. Our backhauling initiative, alongside increased baling, consolidates waste at hub locations, utilising existing transport operations to minimise related vehicle movements. Our “walking floor” waste containers are designed to hold 26 tonnes more waste paper than conventional storage, again helping us reduce the frequency of travel to waste management depots. Packaging is re-used rather than recycled, where possible, via investment in re-usable products or the repurposing of previously used packaging.
Download our latest Energy and Carbon Reporting disclosure in our Sustainability report below.
Latest share price
of all unsold newspapers and magazines recycled