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Menzies Distribution on target to hit 30 per cent carbon footprint cut by 2011

Edinburgh-based Menzies Distribution, which delivers 45 per cent of all newspapers and magazines sold by retailers in the UK, is on target to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in its carbon footprint. In recognition of the company’s year on year achievements to-date, it has become one of the first logistics businesses to be awarded the Carbon Trust Standard.

Arguably the most rigorous assessment of its type, the Carbon Trust accreditation saw Menzies Distribution’s carbon management strategy appraised by third-party assessors, before the award was granted for its head office in Edinburgh Park, associated companies and core network of 40 distribution depots around the UK.

The company’s achievements are particularly noteworthy given that its warehouses and fleet operate mainly at night, therefore relying more heavily on heat and light than many other supply chains. It also utilises 450 own-account vehicles supported by in excess of 1,000 sub-contracted vehicles to effect delivery of 4.8 million newspapers and 2.6 million magazines per day, to around 25,000 outlets, clocking up a combined total of 117,000 delivery miles daily.

David Morton, Strategic Development Director of Menzies Distribution, the largest division of John Menzies plc – one of Scotland’s major companies – explains: "The simplest way to cut our greenhouse gas emissions while meeting the needs of our business is by focusing on being more efficient in that day-to-day business.

"We’ve carefully measured our carbon footprint as far back as 2001, and then plotted our ongoing performance year by year. Between 2001 and 2006 we reduced our like-for-like footprint by 13 per cent. Our carbon management strategy was further prioritised in 2007 and a nine point plan of action established to reduce emissions and costs. We’ve since reduced emissions by a further eight per cent between 2006 and 2008, putting us well on target to hit our 10 year 30 per cent goal by 2011," he says.

Steps taken so far by Menzies Distribution include introducing new greener and leaner vehicles including the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter ECO-Start panel van and the 7.5 tonne Isuzu truck with automated gearboxes, both of which deliver tangible fuel savings over the vehicles they replace. The company is also operating two electric vehicles in London and is working on further electric vehicle projects for the future. Other measures include rolling out an NVQ Level 2 qualification in ‘Carrying and Delivering Goods’, of which a major element is focused on fuel efficient driving. SAFED (Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving) training has also been used for several years.

"We knew our fleet was a big user of fuel, but until we conducted our carbon strategy review in 2007 we did not realise that our warehouse heating and lighting accounted for nearly 30 per cent of our total emissions," adds Morton. "The fleet is a more obvious user of fuel as we see the vehicles on the road each day whereas gas and electricity is less overt. As a result of this we have negotiated new supply contracts including renewable resources and are rolling out an aggressive energy reduction strategy across all facilities."

Other measures being taken to reduce CO2 output include a company-wide route re-scheduling initiative which is currently underway and aims to reduce the fleet’s daily mileage. New recycling contracts have also been introduced across the business, dealing with everything from waste paper and plastic cups to cardboard and unsold stock.

In developing this strategy Menzies Distribution has created a groundbreaking carbon footprint template, which it believes has set an early standard within both the newstrade and general logistics industries. It is also encouraging interest in pushing environmental issues to the forefront of supply chain debate through its website www.enviromenzies.com

The Menzies name was first established in 1833 when John Menzies opened a bookshop at 61 Princes Street, Edinburgh. By 1835 the company was an established wholesaler, and bought its first power driven vehicle in 1910. In 1998 the John Menzies Group sold its retail chains and elected to focus its newstrade experience on becoming a leading provider of added value distribution and marketing services to the newspaper and magazine supply chain in the UK and on its growing global Aviation Services business.

Today Menzies Distribution has a turnover of £1.13 billion and makes daily deliveries across the UK to around 30,000 customers, supported by a team of 4,300 employees

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