The winner of the Green Fleet of the Year award for 2021 is Menzies Distribution. A retail logistics operation, Menzies carries out over 31,000 drops, driving 135,000 miles a day. The company distributes 30 million newstrade products every week.
It recently delivered its 10 millionth item emission-free, claiming to have saved the estimated 2.5 million kg of CO2 that would have been produced if conventional diesel-powered vehicles had been used. A company spokesperson says: “We have taken market-leading innovative steps to position us as the pioneers in EV technology, ahead of regulatory deadlines.
“Our fleet electrification programme has improved air quality by cutting particulates and reducing NOx and other emissions. We use innovative non-PVC, environmentally friendly livery and have recently unveiled the expansion of our zero-emissions delivery fleet, taking EVs from urban centres to harder-to-reach places. We are one of the first carriers to introduce EVs in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.”
When considering vehicle and body specification, care is taken to look for any possible aerodynamic improvements. Air deflectors are utilised, with the company claiming they reduce drag by 30%, leading to a rise in fuel efficiency of 10-15%. It is also using technology to ensure the most efficient routes are planned. Menzies claims that while saving 3,693kg of CO2 it has also improved delivery times by 1.5%.
The firm monitors driver behaviour through Microlise telematics, and conducts regular training where needed.
Underlining its commitment to a greener operation, when bulk buying diesel fuel it has selected a supplier that offsets carbon emitted from ‘pipe-to-pump’ logistics with tree plantation schemes. The company also claims to operate the largest commercial charging infrastructure in the UK and has implemented ‘vehicle-to-grid’ technology, where energy is fed back to the grid at peak times while charging during off-peak periods.
Menzies’ green credentials are evident in other areas. The spokesperson explains: “In addition to smart charging and discharging to the grid, electricity used across our network is provided from 100% renewable and clean sources, generated by wind and hydro assets. Many of our sites are fully LED (internal), with passive infrared (PIR) to detect motion and further reduce our energy consumption. In an industry with much recyclable material we have implemented a waste management strategy that allows us to recycle more than what goes to general waste. We recover and recycle 26,993t of material yearly.”
Summarising the philosophy, they add: “We set out to implement a holistic strategy encompassing fleet, recycling and reuse, and energy that guarantees an environmentally sustainable route to market and quantifiably reduces the carbon footprint within the supply chain. We are proud to demonstrate these values have been engineered across our organisation, benefitting the industry, consumer and environment. The ultimate benefit of ‘greening our business’ is that, in turn, we are able to green other businesses with our market-leading blueprint.”
Highly commended in this category is facilities management and professional services provider Mitie. The company operates 5,500 vehicles, of which 3,500 are commercial vehicles, including trucks.
Aiming for a rapid transition to wholly electric vehicles across its fleet, an initial target of 20% of cars and vans to be EVs by the end of 2020 is expected to be surpassed, and up to 900 vehicles are anticipated to be in operation.
The business has also launched its own Plan Zero blueprint, which is a commitment to being net zero carbon by the end of 2025, a policy that is being worked towards in all facets of the operation.
Seeing an unexpected benefit of the change in how the business operated during the pandemic, remote working has led to a significant reduction in fuel use, which has led to a cost saving that exceeded the percentage revenue reduction the business saw as a whole.