Sustainability has always been at the heart of our business, influencing all that we do. Recently, our journey to go green has gathered pace, with several exciting developments.

Counting down to net zero

Our commitment to reaching net zero is our most important journey of all. “Our journey to reaching net zero is such a transformative change for the company. It touches every aspect of our business,” says Steve Burry, MD of Dennis Maps. “It’s an evolution, not a quick step change, but we’re really pleased with our progress.” Over several months, we’ve calculated our CO2 emissions, a complex process but an essential one. We’ve delved into every aspect of our operations to come up with an accurate picture of our emissions, so we know which areas of the business to improve. For example, we looked at emissions for our map paper and cover boards and took steps to make them carbon balanced. Their emissions are now offset through Climate Partner and a programme with the World Land Trust. Of course, we’re working to reduce our emissions too, and offsetting what we can’t remove.

Making our materials greener

FSC LogoWe use FSC© certified paper and card for all our products. It’s a global scheme that supports customers and consumers to purchase products from forests that are managed sustainably. We endeavour to be environmentally friendly with the printing inks we use too. Our paper products are printed with vegetable-based inks, which are much better for people and planet than traditional inks. Vegetable-based inks are sourced from sustainably farmed plants, lowering air pollution, and cutting the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. They’re also easier to remove from paper during the recycling process. When it comes to our printing presses, we’re making headway too. We’ve started using an alternative fount solution which contains 50% less neat alcohol, greatly reducing carbon emissions.

A tree-mendous charity

Did you know that all our operations benefit the Heart of England Forest Charity?  We’re co-owned by the Felix Dennis estate, the legacy of an ambitious entrepreneur. Felix Dennis had a dream to create a woodland in the heart of England and began to realise this ambition in the 1990s. What began as a small, wooded area now stretches from the Vale of Evesham to the Forest of Arden. An impressive two million trees have been planted so far, and the Forest is still growing. These new woodlands are part of a mosaic of Forest habitats, including grassland, mature and ancient woodland, farmland, heathland and wetland, spread over 7,000 acres. It’s a stunning, tranquil space that benefits wildlife, the environment and people. If you’re ever in Warwickshire or Worcestershire, it’s worth a visit!

The Heart of England Forest, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, England.
The Heart of England Forest, Warwickshire and Worcestershire, England. Photo from

Raising the standard

At Dennis Maps, we’ve committed to a range of accreditations that support us to raise our environmental standards. In 2015, we were awarded the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. It’s an internationally recognised framework that supports us to be environmentally responsible. Last year, we also became a Partner Member of Two Sides, a global not-for-profit that promotes using paper and print more sustainably. We’ve signed up to its Mission and Principles, an agreement to reduce our environmental impact.

A lightbulb moment

We’ve completely replaced our factory lighting with efficient LED bulbs to save electricity. In addition, we’ve installed power factor correction and advanced harmonic filtration systems, which maintain the efficiency and performance of our electricity supply. And that’s not all. We hope to fit solar panels on our factory roof, which could generate about 30% of our electricity. Watch this space.

What do we do with waste?

We’re always looking at ways to segregate our waste streams as much as possible, to reduce the amount of material that heads to landfill. For example, we’ve created seven categories for our paper and card waste stream, with individual bins for each category. This waste is recycled, and Kimberly-Clark then uses it to create a range of products. Much of the non-recyclable waste is transported to a specialist centre, where it’s treated and exposed to high temperatures. Energy created by the process is captured, converted into electricity and sent to the National Grid.

Recycling at Dennis Maps

At Dennis Maps we recycle whenever and wherever we can. We send waste toner from our digital printers to our equipment suppliers for this purpose. Face masks and protective gloves are recycled through TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Boxes. We also opt for recyclable packaging, using paper tape and cardboard to package our products. And we don’t stop there. We aim to make our products recyclable whenever possible. Our waterproof and weatherproof maps are long lasting, but they can eventually be recycled too.

A team effort

Of course, we couldn’t go green without support across the business. Everyone at Dennis Maps is encouraged to offer ideas about how we might improve our processes further. “Sustainability is an embedded part in the culture of the company. Our whole journey is a team effort, not something that can be achieved by any individual acting alone,” says Steve. It’s just as important that our customers and suppliers are on board as well. One customer has already achieved net zero, and we’re driven to meet the sustainability standards of our clients. We’re always in discussions with our suppliers to see if their new products can help us on our environmental journey too.

On a roll

Our employees live locally, close to our factory in Frome, Somerset, and we encourage them to cycle or walk to work if possible. We support them to do this through the Cycle to Work Scheme, a government programme which helps people purchase a bike and accessories tax free.

Looking to the future

We’ve got plenty of planet-friendly plans in the pipeline. We’re evaluating if it’s viable to install solar panels on our factory roof, and if we can replace our heating system with a more energy efficient one as well. “We want to do things differently and are committed to investing the time and resources into creating change,” says Steve. Keep an eye on our blog for further updates!

Dennis Maps is one of the leading map printers in the world, producing more than two million maps and charts every year. We offer comprehensive pre-press services, large format print solutions using both large format litho printing and large format digital print technologies, plus specialised map folding and map finishing techniques.

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