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Conscious & Competitive

Dave Broadway, MD of CFH Docmail and Velopost, discusses the origin of the fossil free postal delivery service he founded, and how sustainable thinking governs their business choices.

04-07-2016 | Dave Broadway confidently addresses the attendees of our third Business Banking Networking Breakfast, expertly guiding us through his two businesses, Docmail and Velopost.

"Today's breakfast is full of like-minded sustainable businesses which is great, a real community of green thinkers who are very inspiring. The flip side of this is that I'm actually speaking to an audience of people who are already engaged with sustainability matters and it's always a challenge for us to communicate that message."

Velopost is the UK's first fossil free postal delivery service, yet even with a unique offering, mail delivery services may be a business cost that many organisations think can't avoid having a carbon footprint - but Velopost makes deliveries by foot or bicycle.

Even at Velopost and Docmail HQ, the business is powered mostly by renewable energy, and Dave is keen to highlight that there is a greater awareness for sustainability throughout supply chains and that this business thought process shows no sign of slowing.

"We are finding that there is an ever-growing appreciation of environmental policies at other businesses. For example, we are working with Southmead Hospital in Bristol at the moment, and this was arranged through their Environmental Officer, so it's hugely encouraging to see the private and public sector taking sustainability concerns seriously. 5-10 years ago this was not a part of their agenda, but it's becoming increasingly so."

So whilst some businesses are beginning to switch on to creating a greener model, many others still see cost effective solutions taking priority. But for Dave, low service costs and green credentials do not need to be exclusive.

"The main thing is to be economically competitive so that people want to use you because you are a cost effective business. The moment businesses realise that you can deliver the same service, at similar costs, green credentials are weighty enough to convince them that there doesn't need to be a sacrifice of price or principles."

Whilst communicating their sustainability makes them unique within the market place, it also helps keep their business focused and increasingly efficient financially.

Dave explains that sustainability when embedded at the core of any business, rather than bolted on, becomes a driving force for changes and development in business direction.

"Innovation comes relatively easily because we are using sustainability as our guiding light, it helps us to make choices when investing in our business for the future. We avoid things that are going to be environmentally damaging, and instead look for ways to make sustainability work for our business."

"We did a lot of research with The University of the West of England to see if there were ways of generating our own power. Solar panels was one, however seven or eight years ago they were far less efficient. At the time, it wasn't the right route. Gas CHPB was more cost effective and also an environmental improvement at that time."

In the future, Dave believes that their expanding knowledge of running an environmentally friendly business will continue to pay dividends for them. They are looking to further their investment in renewable technology to create a future proofed business.

"We use solar panels which help run the business on a sunny day, and it is our intention to double the capacity using developing energy storage technology so we can keep extra energy throughout the day for night processing. We want to be able to run off grid for as much as we can, so when energy prices are fluctuating - we can appropriate budgets to developing our business instead of on these sorts of overheads."


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