Sweet taste of success for Lyreco’s latest environmental project

Manel Roura and Jamie Mills.

Manel Roura and Jamie Mills.

One of the UK’s biggest providers of workplace supplies is sweetening its environmental credentials at its Shropshire base with a new project to boost Britain’s ailing honey bee population.

Lyreco has introduced three beehives at its national distribution centre in Telford, which caters for around 240,000 bees at their peak, with plans for a fourth.

The move is part of Lyreco’s ongoing commitment towards environmentally friendly and sustainable projects.

The firm has also installed nearly 14,000 solar panels on the roof of its distribution hub. The installation is one of the largest rooftop photovoltaic system in the UK and saves Lyreco more than £53,000 a year on its energy bills, as well as cutting annual carbon emissions by 1,700 tonnes to make the site electrically carbon neutral.

The firm recently scooped the Environment and Sustainability Award at the SHD Logistics Awards 2016, in recognition of its work to minimise its impact on the environment.

Lyreco’s Managing Director for the UK and Ireland Peter Hradisky explained the firm’s decision to get involved in the biodiversity project.

“We are firmly committed to playing a positive role in our community and feel that we have a responsibility to lead by example.

“The changing landscape of the UK has contributed to the reduction in bee numbers, which in turn poses a risk to food crops as bees play an important role in pollination. We wanted to help reverse that decline so we installed three hives earlier this year and have plans for another,” he said.

A survey of the 15-acre Lyreco site established the best location for the hives to thrive and they are located in the far corner to ensure that they are at a safe distance from people using the car park but still visible from the office.

Quality, Safety and Sustainability Manager Manel Roura added: “Factors we had to take into consideration were exposure to wind, rain and sun and also levels of human activity within the vicinity.

“The chosen location on the first corner as you enter the car park was perfect for the bees to settle as it had good wind cover due to the surrounding trees, prolonged sun exposure and it was easily accessible. We work with a local beekeeper who visits weekly and maintains the hives.”

The honey produced – 60lbs so far this year – will be sold to raise funds for the Lyreco for Education programme that gives children living in poor conditions better access to schooling.

Beekeeper Darran Hall, who maintains the hives for Lyreco, urged more businesses to follow Lyreco’s example. He said: “The plight of the honey bee has been well documented.

“Honey bees can’t live in the wild and need managed hives to be able to survive so it’s great that an organisation like Lyreco is doing everything it can to reverse the decline in their area.”

Lyreco is a member of The Business Environmental Support Scheme for Telford (BESST), a partnership between local private and public sector businesses that aims to help businesses improve their environmental performance.

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