Lyreco has scooped three high profile awards recognising its commitment to becoming a more sustainable business and lowering its environmental footprint
The company earned a Green Apple Award for its ongoing strategy to reduce its impact on the environment. The Green Apple Environment Awards, launched in 1994 by The Green Organisation, have become well established as one of the most popular environmental campaigns in the world.
As a result of the win, Lyreco has been invited to have its winning paper published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so other organisations around the world can follow and learn from its example.
The workplace and office supplies specialist also picked up the Environment and Sustainability Award at the SHD Logistics Awards, which celebrate excellence in the logistics industry. In the event review, the judges said: “Zero landfill and its reduction in electricity consumption by 39 per cent is impressive and the overall approach is highly comprehensive.”
It also scooped the Environmental Award at the British Office Supplies & Services (BOSS) Industry Awards for the fifth year in a row. In the BOSS magazine, the judges reported: “Above and beyond the criteria, Lyreco’s submission stood out, which clearly demonstrated evidence of the fantastic environmental work they are doing.”
Managing Director Peter Hradisky said: “These awards are external verification that our five-year strategy to reduce our environmental impact in every step of Lyreco’s business is working.”
The company launched its five-year ‘EcoFuture’ mid-term sustainable strategy which has three areas of development – environmental protection, social responsibility and economic success, in 2012.
Lyreco’s vision for this strategy is to be the ‘Reference for Sustainable Workplace Supplies Solutions’. It has implemented a series of environmentally-friendly initiatives in its Telford-based HQ and National Distribution Centre (NDC), as well as its network of 27 Regional Distribution Centres and satellite centres in the UK and Ireland.
Last year it installed a roof mounted solar photovoltaic system – the fourth largest in the UK – at its National Distribution Centre. The system is capable of generating 3.22 GWh/year which is more than the 2.75 GWh used by Lyreco in 2015. This initiative will make Lyreco head office and the NDC electrically carbon neutral.
The project on its own, will help the company to reduce 1,700 tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to 10 per cent of the total company CO2 emissions. In the last four years, it has reduced its carbon footprint by 10 per cent and the solar PV project will bring the company on target to meet its Eco-Future carbon footprint reduction of 20 per cent by the end of 2017.
Other energy efficiency measures introduced, include replacing legacy energy-intensive halogen lamps in the 55,000 sq. m. NDC with new high efficiency T5 luminaries with dual sensors. This resulted in a 60 per cent saving in electricity consumption. LED lighting has been gradually introduced into the three-storey head office building and car park areas and the main compressor and heating have also been replaced. A monthly energy committee has raised the profile of energy management, and the firm has achieved an overall 39 per cent electricity savings in the last four years.
The company also achieved zero landfill at the National Distribution Centre and head offce with a recycling rate of 97 per cent. Since 2012, general waste has been reduced by 42 per cent – from 91 to 53 tonnes a year. And, working in partnership with NISP (National Industrial Symbiosis Programme), it has developed several resource efficiency case studies.
A local company re-uses its pallet toppers which used to be recycled as mulch. Additionally, waxed paper coming from label backing (in spools) is used by a regional company to produce packaging protection material, reducing its yearly landfill by 2.25 tonnes. In addition all head office (including kitchen and restaurant) waste food (7.2 tonnes a year) is diverted to a local anaerobic digester to produce electricity and fertilisers.
Green products selection is carried out through green claims standard ISO 14020, ensuring transparency in its criteria. Lyreco also has a well-established social auditing programme for all Lyreco branded products manufactured in developing countries which covers social, human rights and health, safety and environmental conditions. Lyreco is committed to carry out audits at all manufacturing sites for imported products to ensure good management of environment, social and human rights. As a consequence, a number of manufacturing sites have been de-listed due to not reaching the required standard.
The firm is also committed to sustainable packaging by not repacking goods, using recyclable material and optimising parcels, it also offers recycling of batteries, toners and paper to its customers.
Two years ago it introduced TomTom Telematics and tracking systems to the 315 vans in its fleet, with the aim of increasing fuel efficiency and promoting safer driver behaviour. In that time, it has achieved a 13 per cent saving in fuel/delivery in the UK and a 32 per cent reduction in Ireland, through improved route optimisation.
To engage employees in sustainability issues, Lyreco has established two annual environmental awareness campaigns – Christmas and World Environmental Day. Donations and money raised on the campaigns is given to the Woodland Trust to support various conservation projects. A monthly “Eco-future bulletin” is also issued to enhance internal sustainability communication.
Its biodiversity protection plan includes the development of an internal eco garden in partnership with Shropshire Wildlife Trust and with the support of internal employees. With the engagement of customers and suppliers in the project, Lyreco reconverted a picnic area to a conservation area where employees can still enjoy lunch breaks.
The next step on the project is water harvesting including the introduction of SUDS to top up the natural pond. Re-use of materials in the project such as using the old conveyor belt as a weed control membrane in paths and picnic areas, was an integral part of the planning.
Another project developed in 2016 was the introduction of two beehives at head office, a move designed to raise awareness on biodiversity protection and especially on the bee population decline.
Lyreco is a BESST steering committee member, a local resource efficiency club with over 70 members with the aim of enhancing the environmental performance of local businesses. It organises environmental best practice visits and workshops on environmental management and sustainability topics to support members.
In addition, the company is a key member of the Telford Crisis Network committee group, which was set up to provide support to individuals and families in financial crisis. As well as providing support on the steering group, it has carried out a number of internal campaigns for food collection.
“We continuously strive to be a more sustainable organisation by researching ways we can reduce our environmental impact and increase our contribution to local community and society while engaging employees, suppliers and customers, on the journey,” Hradisky said.
“Sustainability is embedded in all areas of our business and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the next five years,” he added.