Working together to cut carbon

Working together to cut carbon

Ensuring an Environmentally Sound and Sustainable Supply Chain Service

From board-level to warehouse floor, we recognise the effects that our operations have on the environment. We not only operate our business responsibly, in compliance with all legal requirements relating to transport, but we go beyond these requirements to demonstrate to our customers how we can work together to cut carbon.

We’ve left no stone unturned in our efforts to drive down carbon emissions by a combination of the following:

  • investing in better, more carbon-efficient equipment
  • adopting innovative technology
  • implementing strategic carbon reduction collaborations with our customers.

All of these elements are put in place to contribute to our eventual achievement of the FDF emission reduction standards by 2020 – as a minimum!

Our efforts are therefore focussed on these key areas:


With over 450 trucks on the road, our fleet represents a significant opportunity for carbon reduction. So, after analysing our fleet activity and identifying the reductions that could be made, we have introduced several major initiatives:

  • Increasing MPG

We consistently invest in training and high quality equipment to increase our MPG across the business, including telematics fitted in all vehicles and a driver league table to monitor ‘good driving behaviour’. This includes cruise control, load sympathy, eco-coasting, speed limit and braking control.

Because of this, the business has seen an improvement in MPG of 1.05 since fully introducing telematics, resulting in an MPG of 9.43 – a 12.5% increase in five years to 2017.

  • Operating fuel efficient vehicles

Significant investment has been put into the adoption of Euro 6 engines. We were the first supply chain company to bring on board Euro 6 engines which is the latest standard for fuel efficient vehicles and our fleet operates at 100% Euro 6.

  • Industry-first innovation

We introduced the industry’s first ACS (Auxiliary Charging System) trailer which harnesses kinetic energy to power the refrigerated trailer. The ground-breaking vehicle was designed in collaboration with International Refrigeration Cooling Ltd. and Thermo King and emits 50% less CO2 than a standard refrigerated trailer, reducing our CO2 emissions by over 14,000kg per year.

  • Linde Lithium-Ion Fork Lift Trucks – a UK First

We have recently teamed up with Linde Material Handling to adopt the first national fleet of over 180 lithium-ion fork-lift trucks and warehouse equipment. The trucks are fitted with Linde’s fleet management system, ‘Connect’, which enables operators to carry out pre-safety checks which will activate their truck, and warehouse managers to keep track of the service and maintenance status of their fleet.

Working with Linde allowed us to find a long-term, cost effective solution to operating a more efficient fleet across our network. The new trucks offer decreased electricity and battery maintenance costs as a result of faster charging, as well as reduced energy use overall.

Asset Utilisation

Across the entire business, we are always striving to operate the most efficient supply chain possible and often reach innovative solutions in partnership with our customers to achieve this. Fewer empty running miles, greater synchronisation from multiple suppliers and a focus on intelligent flow-based systems are skills deeply engrained in Fowler Welch’s operational teams.

The recent bespoke APD trailers we developed for Mars are an excellent example of this, as is our work on consolidation.

At the heart of everything Fowler Welch does is consolidation. This service of consolidation is all about combining small orders for multiple suppliers to gain critical mass to deliver vehicle fill and efficiency. This sharing of resource be it warehouse space or fleet capacity, drives a positive impact on environmental performance.


Our investment in IT systems plays a key role in our plans, giving visibility of information to ensure assets are utilised as fully as possible. The IT team at Fowler Welch ensures transparency of information in order to focus effort on the areas that will give best asset utilisation. In a sector where lead times are of utmost importance, particularly now when the retail landscape is experiencing a fundamental shift, being able to offer our customers end-to-end traceability and real time order status provides them with peace of mind that their orders will be delivered on-time and in full, every time.

We knew that our customers wanted to put their surplus food waste to good use, but often didn’t know how to achieve this, so in September 2016 we partnered with food redistribution charity FareShare.

FareShare distributes donated surplus food to charities across the country to be made into healthy meals for those that need it most, from homeless shelters to youth clubs. This allowed us to deliver a service that was efficient for our customers and benefited the charities that FareShare works with.

The partnership consists of us collecting surplus food from our customers that are looking to reduce their food waste by donating surplus product to good causes. The collections take place alongside the customer’s usual delivery, which means they can reduce their food waste and make a difference to their local community without adding to the workload.

Customers such as Addo Foods, Nature’s Way and Winterbotham Darby quickly came on board, contributing to 371 pallets of food collected from 22 sites in the first eight months. This equates to a total of 213 tonnes of surplus product that has so far provided over 500,000 meals for vulnerable people. Without this partnership, the food would have been sent to landfill where it would have produced the equivalent of 40,470kg of CO2.

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