Tuesday, 25 October 2016

17 Steps to Saving the World - Why Businesses Need the Sustainable Development Goals.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

In short, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals that have been agreed by the 193 UN Member States which aim to drive change throughout the global society to end poverty, combat climate change and ensure that all people are treated equitably and are given the conditions to allow them to prosper.

The goals are very broad and cover everything from combatting climate change to eradicating poverty and, unlike the Millennium Development Goals that they replaced, the goals see business engagement as being essential to achieving the aims of the SDG’s by 2030.

The SDG’s aim to get governments, businesses, NGO’s, charities working together to make the right choices now in order to improve things for future generations.

So, why should businesses care?

First and foremost is the moral case. There is a projected global annual investment gap of $3 trillion dollars across all of the SDG's[1] as government funding is stretched to its limit by uncertain financial times. The SDG’s need businesses around the world to engage with the targets and to make sustainability a core part of their business, without this engagement we will not achieve any of the SDG goals by 2030.

Secondly there is a sound business case. Those businesses who engage with the SDG’s are much more likely to attract, engage with and keep talented employees, [2]  are more likely to be seen favourably by customer and hence maintain market position and will have a more resilient value chain that is not affected by challenges such as climate change, skills shortages, erratic energy supplies and fuel price fluctuation.

Equally those businesses that don’t engage may find themselves in either legal or regulatory hot water or with increasing costs as a result of fines and taxes[3] as governments change the regulatory and legal landscape to reflect their commitments. 

What should businesses be doing?

So maybe the above has convinced you that your business needs to do something, maybe you feel your organisation has a moral duty and the SDG's provide the perfect framework for that duty, maybe you see the risks inherent in doing nothing and this motivates you to act. Whatever the reason the first question you probably have is "where do I begin?". 

Fortunately, the answer to this is quite simple. The website of the SDG Compass[4] provides excellent guidance, tools and resources for businesses seeking to implement the SDG's within their organisation, but before you head straight there, there is one thing that we really need to consider and that is whether or not you should go it alone. 

It is all well and good for a multi-billion-pound turnover multinational company like Unilever to decide to make SDG's core to their business and to be able to have a huge and immediate impact, but for smaller organisations maybe we should consider that our resources may be a constraint on what we are able to do and the impact we are able to have. 

As small organisations, and even as individuals, climate change can feel like an overwhelmingly huge issue on which we can have limited or no impact. In the words of Sean Locke it's like turning up to the aftermath of an earthquake with a dustpan and brush. But the one thing that you must remember about things like climate change is that you don't have to go it alone and in fact if anything we are better to go it together. 

Research by Development Progress[5] has revealed that after a year of working on the SDG's, and despite good advances being made, if progress carried on at the current rate then we would achieve none of the SDG targets by 2030. It further concluded that 5 of the goals, including Combating Climate Change, are in need of an outright reversal in their trajectories if they are to reach their goals. 

A change in attitude is required, we can't just go it alone and expect to make fundamental changes to society, businesses need to work together. 

In an article[6] for Business Green Stephanie Draper of Forum for the Future believes that if we are going to make a fundamental difference and have an impact that is greater than the sum of our part then we can't consider our business in isolation and in fact must look at our interactions with the other parts of the wider system if that system is going to deliver changes greater than the sum of its parts. 

So if businesses truly want to make a difference towards the SDG's then they need to look at creative collaboration with other businesses and not just at the balance sheet, to paraphrase Elon Musk, when the ship is sinking we don't fight over the buckets! 

We at CFH have always had sustainability at the core of what we do, from our Toptree initiative, that has planted over one hundred thousand trees in the last 20 years, to Velopost, our fossil fuel free delivery service, and yet we recognise that we can do more and we can do better together than we can alone. 

That’s why we have started our Seeds of Change campaign. We are looking to work with other businesses, NGO's, not for profits, government bodies, basically whoever is interested, to create a movement towards sustainable businesses.  We want to share our experiences and the experiences of others to help everyone create a plan for going green and to avoid the pitfalls associated with that process and we don't want to stop there. With the SDG's at the heart of both our organisation and Seeds of Change we want to help motivate businesses to drive the UK towards achieving its SDG targets. 

Like the pebbles that start the avalanche, if businesses work together they can create a change much bigger than the sum of their parts. A change that works for business, work for society and works for everyone.

[Written by Joseph Broadway]

Monday, 26 September 2016

September's Newsletter

Hello everyone!

September has been a busy month for us folks at CFH Docmail.  We’ve celebrated Cycle to Work Day, racking up 280 miles and making £556 for Cyclists Against Cancer in the process, we’ve met the delightful Treesa Green in all her finery at the Bath Film Festival and we’ve followed with excitement (and no envy!) the journey of James Dowding as he cycled the length of Britain.  Finally, we are finishing this week on quite the high note with a Macmillan Coffee Morning.   I think we all need a cake and cuppa to see out September!

However, my personal favourite story of the month has been the tale of Louise and Steve from the contracts team becoming velopost cyclists for the day!  Here is a little about Louise’s experience: 

As part of cross product training, we were asked if we would like to attend ‘a day in the life of a Velopost cyclist’, which I happily accepted. As the day approached the excitement was replaced by fear (Bath is very hilly)! I met Phil at the Bath Velopost site and he showed me around, we sorted some letters and arranged our route for the day! Then we set off... up a massive hill (I thought I would have to get off and push) but I struggled up slowly under the close supervision of Phil. Throughout the day we successfully delivered 147 letters and I didn’t get chased by any dogs! The day showed me the difficulties that the Velopost riders face, such as houses having names rather than numbers making them harder to find, access to flats, road traffic and obviously the physical side of it. Having spent the day as a Velopost rider it has completely changed the way I think and has turned a negative into a positive. I would recommend anyone to spend a day as a Velopost rider so they can see a different side to it. Thank you to Phil Smisson and Phil Thompson!"

And in the outside world, we’ve reading:

The loneliness of the middle-distance runner

This year we have rallied a team of 22 people to run the Bath Half next March, in support of the RUH ‘Forever Friends Appeal’.

Here we have Jeremy Field (Business Development Manager from our Radstock Site) with a few words on the subject.

I’m quite fit and I should be a natural runner because I have long legs, but I’ve never really understood it as a sport. I like cycling because you get to explore and see interesting things. Running is slow by comparison... looking at the same road signs for minutes on end... it’s quite boring!

But there are some things that I do like about running. I like not having to prepare any equipment or plan routes, being able to put on shorts and t-shirt and go. I like being able to wear headphones, not having to worry about the traffic as I do when cycling. I like being able to get a good workout in only 30 minutes.

So I’ve signed up for the Bath Half 2017. This will actually be my second attempt. I ran it in 2014 with the CFH team but I didn’t do any training and I was quite slow and just happy to finish it in one piece! This time I have got six months to train so I will set a time goal. I can’t say what that goal is yet because I haven’t done any training - who knows how fast I will be?

Finally, a nice note to finish on.  Here is a cracking shot of the Board of Directors against the ever popular living wall.

Wishing you all a lovely start to October.  

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Introducing Treesa Green.

Anyone who attended Bath Film Festival’s pedal power movie last week will have met a slightly unusual, green hued and foliage covered ‘tree’, handing out saplings.  Treesa Green, CFH’s new environmental mascot, is fast becoming a small town hero.  Her creator, the imaginative Denise, has been kind enough to share a few words on the creation and mission of Treesa Green.

The idea for Treesa sprang from ‘The National Tree week’ event and our partnership with the Woodland Trust. I wanted to do something to celebrate trees because I think they are awesome!  We always give away trees at our exhibitions & conferences and are often complimented on how unique this is and I hope that Treesa will take our uniqueness to the next level.

The initial idea was for Treesa to visit local and inner city primary schools to plant trees as part of National Tree Week (Nov 26th – Dec 3rd).  However the idea continued to grow; we wanted the pupils to experience more than just a bunch of adults visiting and planting trees, we wanted to bring some magic with it.

When my children were Primary School age (they are now 20 & 18), I would dress up every year as the Christmas Fairy.  The delight and magic this small gesture bought was simply amazing, even now I am approached by ex-pupils and told how much they loved the Christmas fairy!  This magic is contagious, to bring it to something as important as planting trees would be wonderful.

We have a lot of talent within in the company.  Our Business Analyst, Abi, has written a brilliant short story about how Treesa Green runs away from the wood to go on an adventure.  She winds up at the school (each story will be personalised to the school we are visiting) and is upset by the lack of trees, so promises to come back and plant trees for the students.  We plan to leave a copy of the story behind with each school that gets involved.

We hope that having a walking and talking tree come visit your school, read you a story and help you plant trees, should be a fun and memorable experience for all involved.

Treesa Green also hopes to raise our company’s local profile, and more importantly, an awareness of the environment.  CFH Docmail Ltd is one of the most environmentally friendly companies in the UK, as we want to sing this message from the tree tops and encourage others to follow our footsteps.  We want to drive the National Tree Week campaign with both feet on the throttle (electric car throttle…of course!) and to use Treesa to celebrate and further our partnership with the Woodland Trust.

If you want to find out how CFH Docmail could help your business, please contact Emma, Rayne or Alicia from our customer service team:

or telephone: number- 01761 409701

who will be happy to talk to you

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Lands End to John O'Groats.

We have here a brief account of the amazing journey of James Dowding, our Bristol Velopost manager, as he cycled from one end of Britain to the other for charity.


So I've just got back from my charity cycle ride from Lands End to John O'Groats.

It was predictably a very difficult start to the ride, Devon and Cornwall is as hilly as everyone says and covering over 100 miles for the first two days was a real challenge.  I was effectively cycling a county a day which was awesome but knackering.   With a 10 hour day on day 1 and 9 hours of riding on day 2, I made it back to Bristol in 2 days (that was great as it meant a free night in my own bed)!  
The weather for the first two days was glorious sunshine but incredibly windy, it broke 30 degrees at one point and pedaling into a head wind as well was no fun.  I was feeling really sick from putting in so much effort. 
Day 3 was a much easier ride as I had a relatively flat day on some easy roads with no wind and the weather held out as well.  Day 4 was the worst of the trip; the midlands are awful and it poured with rain solidly for the whole 8 hours of riding to get to my overnight stay at Preston.  The roads were awful and super dangerous and in the heavy rain I took a wrong turning off my pre planned route and ended up 10 miles off course, not a good day at all! Day 5 was equally as wet but thankfully I had a great tail wind pushing me along! I made it to my destination in good time if completely soaked, plus this was half way and I had made it to Scotland!

From here on out it was almost like being on holiday, I had done over 500 miles in 5 days and had purposely stepped down the millage once I got into Scotland to allow myself some time to take it a bit steadier and enjoy being in one of my favourite parts of the UK.  The roads in Scotland are so much quieter and nicer to be on as a cyclist. 
On day 7 I began having a bike issue - there was a really loud squeaking and grinding coming from the drive train.  I spent all of day 7 trying to work out the problem while riding, by which point I think the damage had been done as it got worse and worse.  I finally figured out what it was and attempted to limp the bike the remaining 250 miles to John O'Groats.  I think the heavy rain had removed all the grease out of the free hub in the rear wheel and was now running dry/  I dumped a load of chain lubricant into it to try and eak the remaining miles out and thankfully it just gave up the ghost as I was rolling into John O'Groats on the last day!

Day 10 then and with my last day excitement came the wind!  The strongest headwind I have every cycled into and it didn't lighten up for the whole 95miles.  I have never been stood up cycling flat out and getting nowhere for so long as I was that day!  At one point I was cycling as hard as I could and only achieving 12mph (my average speed needed to be 15mph every day to make good time) so this was not looking good.  But I dug deep and arrived just after 4:30pm on Friday 26th August. I was shattered but so pleased with what I had achieved on the ride.  I had just enough energy to stand for a picture and grab a coffee before finding our hotel and having the earliest night I've ever had! 

The trip was so memorable and I met some lovely people on the way, but more importantly we managed to raise £600 on Just giving and over £300 through outside donations for the St Peters Hospice.  I'm so proud to have cycled all that way and raised so much money for a great cause.

If anyone is still interested in donating the address is:

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The environmental (and business) case for Cycle Couriers

As a company proud of its Cycle Courier service, we think it is important to recognise the sometimes enormous impact that switching your services to greener sources can have.

One of the areas that many people don’t realise they can switch is their delivery system.  It is important to realise the huge impact that logistics and road infrastructure has on the area we live.  Congestion, air quality, noise, even road safety are all impacted by both logistics and infrastructure and how these are managed and provided. Making our road infrastructure greener makes our city greener.

As part of its Cycling Cities campaign Cycling England estimated that for every £1 spent on cycling infrastructure there was a return on investment of £2.59 for the health benefits achieved alone, without taking into account other economic factors.  Whilst the safety of cycling might concern some, UK research has shown that doubling the levels of cycling in UK cities can reduce the number of road accidents involving cyclists by as much as 34%.

An excellent example of the impact of logistics is the Royal Mail which uses, on average, 150 million tonnes of diesel every year to sustain its logistics network and has over 63 thousand vehicles on the road.  Post Services overall attributed for 0.15% of the total global C02 emissions, which doesn’t sound like much until you realise it’s 0.15% of 38 Billion Tonnes (57 Million Tonnes of C02).
And this air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. Ambient air pollution in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide in 2012.  (Air Quality – WHO).  By reducing air pollution levels, countries can reduce the burden of disease from stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, and both chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma

For us, Velopost was born from both Environmental and Economic reasons.
Environmentally, at Velopost, we prevent the production of roughly 7 tonnes of CO2 per annum by ensuring we have no fossil fuel used in our network whatsoever.  Each additional letter adds another 7 grams, which doesn’t sound a lot, but they all add up - all it takes is 500 letters a day to save a tonne of CO2.
There is also a business and economic case for being green. By ensuring we are not reliant on motor vehicles and fossil fuels we are able to keep our costs low and our prices stable. We don’t have to pay extensive maintenance bills or exorbitant fuel prices, so instead we can offer stable and low pricing to our customers. We haven’t increased our prices for the last 3 years whereas the cost of a second class stamp has increased 38% in the same period!

If you want to find out more about the services Velopost offer, please visit our website here.

Additionally, please contact us if you wish to see any of the sources for this article.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Velopost and Pattersons.

As one of Bristol's oldest business still trading in Bristol, catering & cleaning suppliers, Pattersons, wanted to mark turning 125 years old by holding a large event to thank staff, customers and the local community for their continued support. 

Marketing Assistant Rebecca Tebbutt  explains "We wanted to throw a party that reflected our remarkable success whilst also looking forward to our future. That's why we teamed up with the freshest talent in the catering and bar industry, Michelin star chef Josh Eggleton and 5 times world cocktail flarier Tom 'Dangerous' Dyer, who provided free masterclasses, in the bid to inspire future generations of local talent.  We also had leading industry brands demonstrating the latest cleaning innovations and catering products to hit the market. "

The all things catering and cleaning suppliers are still a family owned company spanning four generations. However, reluctant to rest on their laurels, the company is always keen to adopt a fresh approach and are avid supporters of green business practices, as demonstrated by their ISO 14001 accreditation.

"When we were planning the event we knew we had to make our invitations special and an invitation to Velopost’s Urban Green launch provided the inspiration. Velopost provides a cycle delivery service in Bristol and Bath which meant that each of our invitations could be hand delivered. Importantly given our green credentials it also provided us with carbon neutral option and a nod to Bristol’s green ethos.

Additionally Velopost created our own special customised stamps and were even able to make a last minute addition to include our commemorative hot air balloon. " Rebecca added.

The production and delivery methods proved to add a sense of occasion, whilst successfully enabling the company to leverage their event to build awareness of the company's presence on Winterstoke Road, Bristol. This was demonstrated through a high response rate and positive guest feedback.
"It was a pleasure to work with the Velopost team, right form initial consultation to pick up and delivery, we received a consistent and efficient service, meaning all our attention could be focused on planning the event.  We also recognise that to reach another 125 year's benchmark, we need to support any local businesses that promote sustainability, so we shall definitely be using Velopost in the future."

The Living Wall.

If any of you have visited CFH recently, you can’t fail to see the bright green foliage that meets you on arrival.  Considering the building houses a factory, it is a remarkably jolly place to visit.  This wasn’t always the case, here is a picture of the drab exterior before Abi Broadway got her hands on the place!

We thought it might be nice to hear from Abi about the living wall, how she got the idea and why she thought it had a place on the exterior of a printing company.

“The idea stemmed from a collection of factory improvements I was working on last year. It was felt that the signage on the old factory could do with a bit of improvement, so I began working on that.

I was very into my gardening and was watching Gardeners World, where they had a section on living walls. I had the sudden idea that we could cover the old factory in panels of living plants.

The factory before Abi made her big plans.

A living wall can be described simply as vertical gardening. The living wall consists of steel installation mounting attached directly to the brickwork of the building which is then used to mount living wall panels to the face of the factory. These panels contain a growing medium into which the plants are introduced and then an irrigation system is used to feed and water the plants. Furthermore, the medium which the plants are growing in is recycled materials!

There are a lot of environmental benefits to a living wall, for example:
  • Improved biodiversity in urban areas for birds and insects
  • Plants reduce the air temperature and humidity around them thereby reducing the urban heat island effect
  • Plants purify the air by reducing CO2, NO2 and PM10s
  • Our factory can be quite loud due to the large machinery which can be running all hours of the day and night; living walls assist in sound reduction    
  • Living walls keep the building they are part of warm in winter and cool in summer"

In case you are interested, it is possible to accomplish something similar at home too with a bit of DIY or to purchase a smaller version of the real deal.

Our living wall was made by Enterprise Plants who can be found here: http://www.enterpriseplants.com/

If you want to find out how CFH Docmail could help your business, please contact Emma, Rayne or Alicia from our customer service team:

or telephone: number- 01761 409701

who will be happy to talk to you