Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November's Newsletter.

Oh November, you've gone from crunchy leaves to terrible floods in such a short amount of time.   It has been okay for us office folks, but the Velopost team have had a slightly tougher job braving those floods!

A flooded road with no way through in Bath.

However, soggy news aside, it has been a good month here.  We were exceptionally proud to be able to sponsor the Bath and Bristol Post environmental awards, celebrating some of Bath and Bristol's most environmentally minded businesses.  Our Chairman, Dave Broadway, gave an incredible speech, which you can read the full transcript of here.  Well done to all the winners!

We were very proud to also attend the Oasis Centre, Royal United Hospital, where Dave Broadway was presented with a plaque to celebrate the fact that CFH has raised over £25,000 for the charity.  The event brought together all Partners who have raised over £10,000 for the charity, so the Appeal could say 'thank you' for their support and recognise their commitment.

This week we are busy celebrating Tree Week.  We have a fantastic blogpost put together here outlining the reasons why you should 'plant a tree' (spoiler: there are quite a lot of reasons!) and another post here about our very own Treesa Green, who has spent the day visiting a local school to help plant trees.

If you want to read more about National Tree Week and the pledges being made, you can visit the Tree Charter page here or our partners at the Woodland Trust here.

In other news:

We were very pleased to hear from the Mute Collective who shared a blogpost about using the Velopost Service.

We are currently starting on a grand new project, the Seeds of Change Campaign, putting Green and Charitable actions at the forefront of our business.  Joe Broadway wrote us an article outlining the importance of these'Sustainable Development Goals'.

Want a different way to send your Christmas Cards this year (Bristolians only).

We are busy promoting our Fossil Fuel Free delivery service for Christmas cards – if you’re a Bristol local and want to send your cards, visit our post for our delivery dates and postbox locations.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Treesa Green helps plant trees in local school for National Tree Week.

Pupils from Westfield School in Radstock have stolen a march on Government plans to plant thousands of trees, by joining forces with local hybrid mail company CFH Docmail to start the job in National Tree Week. CFH Docmail provided the saplings and man power as part of their Top Tree Initiative which has already seen the company fund the planting of 100,000 trees across the UK in partnership with The Woodland Trust.

CFH Director Jon Marsh and CFH environmental superhero Treesa Green helped Year 4 children plant a selection of indigenous trees and hedgerow species including hazel, dogwood, beech, hornbeam and weeping copper beech.

Year 4 teacher Josephine Ross gave everyone a lesson on how to plant a sapling.  The children thoroughly enjoyed the session and everyone got good and muddy!

Treesa Green addressed the assembly and talked about the importance of trees to the environment. This session was interactive and the pupils’ clearly demonstrated their interest and understanding of the part that trees play in protecting and improving the areas we live in - in particular how they help with flooding which was very topical given the torrential rains the previous week.

A group of Year 2 children read and shared the Treesa Green Goes To School book which they had practiced in the classroom (Treesa Green tells us she was amazed by their performance)!  Each KS1 child received a copy of the Treesa Green book and CFH Docmail presented 40 wild cherry trees to the members of the afterschool Forestry/Gardening Club!

Deputy Head, Chris Chorley who organised the day of activity said
“we were delighted as part of National Tree Week for Westfield Primary to team up with local business CFH Docmail to plant some trees around the school area. Huge thanks to CFH Docmail for their support and involvement.”

With a special thanks to our supplier of saplings - Alba Trees.

If you would be interested in Treesa Green coming to visit your school (or business or company) to help plant trees and spread the green message, please contact her associate in the business world , Denise White on 

01761 416311 or

Monday, 28 November 2016

Velopost Christmas Services (Bristol's Bike Delivery Service).

Sending Christmas cards locally can feel like a funny arrangement.  Do you drive all the way round the various streets delivering each one by hand, do you hope you will see all the recipients at some point in December, or do you pay the Royal Mail to do it for you?  It can feel rather unenvironmental, adding all those miles to a little Christmas Card.

Well, we might be a little biased, but we think we have the solution!

All Bristolians can send their Christmas cards by bicycle for only 42p per card, fully fossil fuel free!

The last posting date is Monday the 19th December, so you still have plenty of time to get to a postbox.

Our Velopost postboxes can be found at the following locations (and you can purchase the stamps here too)

Tourism Office E Shed
1 Canon’s Rd,
Bristol BS1 5TX

50    Cycles
12-16 Bond Street, Stokes Croft,
Bristol BS1 3LU

15 – 19 Filwood Broadway, Bristol
Avon BS4 1JN

Summerhill Newsagents
210 Stapleton Rd,
Bristol BS5 0NX

Bike UK First Floor
Embassy House, Queen’s Ave,
Bristol BS8 1SB

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Why We Love Trees: 5 Reasons to Get Involved with National Tree Week

At CFH we love trees.

In fact, as anyone who has ever attended an exhibition that we are at will know, we are downright obsessed with trees.

To date, through our Toptree initiative in association with the Woodland Trust, we have planted over one hundred thousand trees throughout the UK and we intend to plant many more than that in the coming years.

So, you may reasonably ask, what with all the trees?
Well what better time to tell you than National Tree Week!

Trees have a huge number of benefits other than just the obvious ones, such as they look pretty and they help to combat climate change, but we can start with the obvious ones and work our way down to some of the weirder ones.

Trees Combat Climate Change

This one is an oldie but a goody. As I’m sure everyone reading this knows tree’s remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and release oxygen. The removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is essential to prevent global warming as Greenhouse Gasses (GHG’s), such as CO2, are significant contributors to the heating up of our planet and an acre of mature trees will absorb the equivalent of roughly twenty-six thousand car miles worth of CO2 every year[1].

Studies have shown that a 33% increase in woodland cover in the UK would result in an abatement of 10% of current GHG emissions by 2050, as well as improving biodiversity and air quality.

However, trees do more than just taking the CO2 out of the air they actually store it in their wood in a process known as carbon sequestration, helping to further reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere.

But that’s not it, trees do one more thing that tackles climate change. They stop us using energy in first place.

Everyone knows trees provide shade in the summer, so it makes sense that they would have a cooling effect on surrounding building as well in the summer months. By breaking up the urban heat island effect, releasing water vapor into the air from their leaves and providing much needed shade trees keep urban areas significantly cooler reducing the need for air conditioning.

What you might find surprising is that trees also save energy in the winter months. By providing shelter and subsequently reducing wind speed trees reduce heat loss from buildings during the winter months resulting in lower energy bills.

Studies have shown that trees can save as much as 10% on annual energy bills.[2]

Trees Make You Healthier

Air pollution is a major cause of respiratory problems, with air pollution contributing to 28,000 deaths in the UK as recently as 2010[3], and research has established that trees remove a number of pollutants from the air (including, ozone, nitrogen dioxide and harmful particulates). [4] The same study estimates that doubling the number of trees in the West Midlands alone could reduce deaths due to particulate pollution by up to 140 people per year.

With recent studies also finding links between Alzheimer’s Disease and particulate pollution reducing the amount of particulate pollution we inhale could be essential to our wellbeing.[5]

Trees Make You Happier

Trees are also really important for our mental health.

Firstly trees have numerous social benefits, including encouraging people out of their homes and into public green spaces where they interact more with others and build stronger social relationships.[6] This is especially important as recent studies have found that social isolation can actually significantly contribute to the risk of early death, potentially having as much of a negative impact on health as smoking![7]

If that wasn’t enough trees can even help to stop you getting sick in the first place. Desk workers who can see nature from their desks experience 23% less time off sick than their colleagues who could not and they also reported greater job satisfaction. [8]

Trees also help to reduce stress levels. Urban residents suffering from stress have been shown to experience less anxiety and insecurity when they can see trees and the physical signs of stress, such as higher heart rate and muscle tension are measurably reduced within three to four minutes of a stressed person being exposed to leafy green surroundings.

They also reduce noise pollution which, among other things, is a major contributor to causes of stress. Almost 67 million people in cities across Europe are exposed to daily noise levels exceeding the level at which it starts to have negative impacts on people’s health; including sleep loss, stress issues, elevated blood pressure and minor psychiatric issues. [9]

Trees Keep You Safe

Trees help to keep us safe in a number of ways, the first of which is very relevant given the recent weather conditions on much of the UK.

Trees stop flooding! 

They do this by slowing down the flow of water into our river systems, optimally placed woodland shelterbelts can reduce the peak flow of a river by up to 11%[10].
But this isn’t the only way trees keep you safe.

Importantly in the urban environment trees help to improve road safety and they do this in a number of ways. Firstly, a tree lined street gives the impression to drivers that the street is narrowing and this has the effect of encouraging drivers to slow down. Secondly, the stress reduction benefits of tress make road rage much less likely, which improves the attention of drivers and thirdly trees provide a buffer between pedestrians and traffic. [11] [12]

Some studies have even found that the presence of trees in the urban environment can reduce the likelihood of crime.[13]

Trees Make You Richer

Finally, trees help to boost the economy.

They do this by encouraging spending and increasing the value of the local area. 

Consumers in a landscaped and green area were willing to pay, on average, 11% more for goods, 50% more for convenience goods and even more for parking in those areas than they would be willing to pay in non-landscaped areas. [14]

Trees also improve house prices with several studies in the USA analyzing the effect of tree cover on the values of residential house sales and finding that the value of property in tree lined areas may be up to 6% greater than similar areas without trees. [15]

Trees Are Great!

So there you have it. Trees are pretty amazing and can have a beneficial impact on everything from your health to your wallet. Hopefully this has convinced you that you want to see a few more trees in your area.

Well unfortunately this isn’t going to happen without your help. The UK is one of the least wooded countries in the entirety of Europe and recognizing this and the benefit of trees the government committed to increase our tree coverage from 10% to 12% by 2050.
This would need the government to plant, on average, 5000 hectares of forest every year.
Last year they planted 700 hectares, not the best of starts, so I’m afraid it may be up to us!
This is where National Tree Week steps in.

How Can You Get Involved?

To quote an anonymous person “the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time is now”.

It’s as simple as that, go and plant some trees.

We at CFH will be visiting local schools to plant trees, talk about trees and the environment and we will be sharing our very own book about trees called “Treesa Green Goes to School”.

There are many brilliant organisations keen to get you planting trees so why not take a look at some of the websites below and get planting!

[4] Hewitt, N, Et Al (undated) Trees and Sustainable Urban Air Quality, Research summary from
Lancaster University at
[6] Kuo, FE. (2003) “The Role of Arboriculture in a Healthy Social Ecology” [in] Journal of
Arboriculture 29(3), pp148 - 155
[8] Wolf, K, 1998(d) Urban Nature Benefits: Psycho-Social Dimensions of People and Plants,
University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #1.
[9] Cavill, N. (Et Al) “Cycling and Health: Whats the Evidence” Cycling England.
[11] Kuo, FE and Sullivan, WC, 2001 Aggression and Violence in the Inner City - Effects of Environment via
Mental Fatigue, [in] Environment and Behavior 33(4), pp 543 – 571
[12] Wolf, K, 1998(d) Urban Nature Benefits: Psycho-Social Dimensions of People and Plants,
University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #1.
[13] Kuo, FE and Sullivan,WC, 2001 Aggression and Violence in the Inner City - Effects of Environment via
Mental Fatigue, [in] Environment and Behavior 33(4), pp 543 - 571
[14] Wolf, K, 1998(b) Trees in Business Districts - Comparing Values of Consumers and Business, University of Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #31.
[15] Wolf, K, 1998(c) Urban Forest Values: Economic Benefits of Trees in Cities, University of
Washington College of Forest Resources, Factsheet #29.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Bristol Post and Bath Chronical Environmental Awards 2016

We are very proud to have once more sponsored the Bath and Bristol Post Environmental Awards, celebrating Bath and Bristol's most environmentally minded businesses. 

Our Chairman (and environmental trail blazer), Dave Broadway, gave this speech calling for a radical rethink of energy policy, to mark the occasion.

Photo from last year's awards.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

When I spoke at these awards last year, I reminded the audience that we live in dangerous times. That climate change is the single biggest threat to the future of our children and grand children, and that many of us are drifting into this danger like a frog in a slowly warming pan of water – not realising our danger until it is too late.

We are now approaching the end of another year of record global temperatures. The ice in the Arctic is at a record low. Greenland is losing 270 Gigatons of ice every year – that’s 110 million Olympic swimming pools of water going into the oceans.

And in spite of the Paris agreement, governments continue to fail us.

However, there is a ray of hope.

Solar power and Electric Vehicles are disruptive technologies, and experts are telling us that they are on the verge of causing massive disruption.

 Since 1970 the cost of solar has decreased by 22% per year. $100 per watt in 1970 is now just 58 cents.

The installed capacity of solar power has been increasing at 43% compound since 2000.

Since 1970, every other source of energy has gone up in cost, oil by thirty five times.

Solar has gone down by 2400 times relative to oil.

The Solar price is still coming down, so the 43% growth rate could still increase.

Solar is reaching the point where the cost of local generation, including the capital cost, is less than the transmission costs alone! Even if you could centrally generate the electricity for zero cost, solar would still be cheaper at the point of delivery. This point could be reached as soon as 2020.

Even the generating companies are beginning to recognise this. E.on in Germany has spun off all of its conventional power plants, and only retained solar and wind.

But what happens when the sun doesn’t shine?

Well, improvements in Lithium ion battery storage are also reaching the point of being disruptive.

Cost per kW stored has been decreasing by 14% per year – and is now driven by three major industries – IT and mobile phones, the car industry and the energy industry.

The electric car company Tesla, is building a new Giga factory that will double world capacity for producing Lithium Ion batteries by 2020 – and their development has resulted in a number of other players announcing similar facilities.

As a result costs are likely to come down by 30%. By 2020 it may even be possible to go ‘off grid’ for as little as £10 per month.

All of the above combined with smart energy saving systems that can reduce energy needs by up to 50%, means that the future could easily move away from fossil fuel power plants towards much more locally generated power.

However, there is still an up front capital cost that can deter new installations – even though the cost of that capital is easily saved. It is in this area that government should provide active encouragement.

It’s not just power generation that is about to see this kind of disruption.

Electric vehicles are also on the cusp of a revolution.

Tesla is now out selling all luxury car brands in the US. All major car manufacturers are frantically working to catch up.

But why do the other manufacturers see electric vehicles as such a threat?

The simple answer is efficiency. In an internal combustion engine car 20% of the energy in the fuel can be turned into usable kinetic energy. The rest is heat, noise, exhaust, and friction. In an electric car, that usable energy figure is 95%.

The electric car is ten times cheaper to fuel.

To emphasise this point – the UK’s 3 biggest oil refineries use 5,600 gigawatt hours per year to produce the fuels we use. It works out at 4.5 kilowatt hours per gallon.

That 4.5 kilowatt hours used just to produce a gallon of fuel would power an electric car for 15 miles in its own right.

The amount of electricity used to refine the UK’s oil would power electric cars for a total of 13 billion miles!

It’s not just power. A normal car has some 2,000 moving parts, and requires regular servicing, oil changes and so on to keep it going. An electric car has as few as 18 (yes 18) moving parts.

There was originally a fear that the batteries would rapidly lose their capability. However, tests on some high mileage batteries are now showing that we can expect the batteries to have 80% capacity after 1 million miles!

In 2017 General Motors will launch their Bolt, with a range of 215 miles for around £30,000.

So we can expect the mass migration to electric vehicles to begin in 2017. It is estimated that by 2030 at the latest, all new cars will be electric. Internal combustion engine cars will not be able to compete.

Disruption is inevitable and imminent, and the companies and countries that lead this disruption will lead the 21st century – and this has nothing to do with, to borrow a phrase, ‘green crap’ – but is just simple economics.

Unfortunately our current government don’t have this vision. If anything they are fighting to keep oil and gas dominant, while having no regard for the dangers of climate change.

In the last few months and years we have seen:

The closure of the Department of Energy and Climate Change

The addition of the climate change levy to renewable energy – so you pay extra for green energy – and then must pay the climate change levy on top – a major disincentive

The removal of all support for on shore wind farms

A 63% reduction in the feed in tariff payments on solar power

The imminent application of business rates to small scale solar PV systems – increasing costs 6 to 8 times and making many installations unviable

The forcing of fracking upon councils and people that don’t want it

The minimisation of taxes for companies involved in fracking

The reduction of taxes on oil and gas companies

The scrapping of Carbon capture schemes for fossil fuelled power stations

And the scrapping of the requirement for builders to make all new builds energy efficient

With the imminent growth of the disruptive technologies of solar power and electric vehicles, it is possible that we can go a long way towards beating climate change without help from government.

Unfortunately what we are seeing is active defence of the fossil fuel economy by the current government – for reasons known only to themselves…

However, when you have Tory MP’s like the neighbouring Jacob Rees-Mogg called in front of the Parliamentary standards watchdog for speaking in favour of the oil and gas industries in parliamentary debates while failing to declare that he is founder and director of a firm with financial investments in such companies to the tune of millions of pounds – well, you can draw your own conclusions. 

I am not anti-tory. I have voted Conservative in the past, and maybe one day will do so again. But I can only judge by what governments do – and what this government is doing is disgraceful.

If this current government continues down this route… well, to quote Ian Johnston in the Independent:

“A future Britain could be a bleak place: lashed by devastating Atlantic storms, sweltering in heatwaves that kill the young and the old in ever-increasing numbers, a countryside left scarred by disused fracking wells as fossil fuel companies go bankrupt.”

Hopefully it won’t turn out like that. With the efforts of people like yourselves, and the wonderful examples set by, not just our winners tonight, but all of the people here, we might just fend this vision off.

Now this was to be where the point where I wind up. But then Donald Trump won the US Presidency.

I have held out the hope above that we could win the battle against climate change.

Trump has stated that he will scrap the Paris agreement, end all climate change legislation, invest in oil and coal.

So the world’s biggest producer of Carbon Dioxide will now scrap all climate change concerns.

Ultimately the economics of solar and electric vehicles would win – but with those technologies being actively opposed in two major economies, I fear it might be too late.

What can we do?

Well, we can make the move to solar for cheaper electricity. Add battery storage to be less dependent on the grid.

Switch to an electric car, even if it’s only your second car. Forget range anxiety, it doesn’t happen. You just save money and will end up driving electric all of the time.

Oh, and one more thing. First chance you get, at least vote out our fracking government!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

October's Newsletter.

Hello All!

So Summer is officially over and Autumn has, without a doubt, descended upon us.  I, for one, am grateful for long cosy evenings and crunchy leaves. 
So here at CFH, October has been a busy month.  We started off well with a Macmillan Coffee Morning and raised a grand total of £300 and ate a lot of cake in the process (GBBO has nothing on us, not a soggy bottom in sight).

In other charity related news, we were informed by Sarah Lakey, the Fundraising Manager we worked with in last month’s ‘Cycle to Work’ day that the £500 we raised has been delivered to Charlotte who lives near Sidmouth.  Her new bike has been set up in the conservatory, overlooking the garden, and her dad is going to set his bike up next to her so they can spend time together whilst exercising.
Charlotte was diagnosed with Craniopharyngioma in July 2015.  Following numerous treatment she has been left suffering with numerous side-effects including Diabetes Insipidus, short term memory loss, adrenal insufficiency and visual impairment.   Understandably, following invasive treatments and hospital stays, she has become very unfit.  This bike will allow her to build up her exercise inside the house, before starting on the road with her sight impairment.

“Many thanks to everyone at Docmail for the money raised, it has truly made a difference to Charlotte’s life”.

In Business and Print News

This month we attended several exhibitions and gave away a grand total of 505 trees!  We were also very honoured to present the Sirona Health & Care awards, where a lovely evening was had by all.  I hope you enjoyed following Denise along on twitter during the evening.

We have also unveiled exciting news regarding our Dynamic Marketing programme and the next phase of development following our deal with Pitney Bowes.  We are the first Pitney Bowes client in Europe to integrate Print+ Response with Print+ Messenger.  This enables us to print on the outside of the envelope, on inserts and on Business Reply Envelopes, creating striking, high-impact, personalised documents for our hybrid mail clients!  
If you want to read more about this, visit the Pitney Bowes article or the coverage in Print Week.

Finally, finishing once more on all things Autumn, don’t forget to apply for your Woodland Trust Pack for treeID and seed collecting.

From elsewhere on the net

Flu Vaccination season is upon us, we hope all your campaigns were successful.  If you didn’t use our services this year and want to read a little more about how we can help, read how one GP used our  CFH Docmail to plan and organise his whole campaign.

Green business and innovation is a topic we post about frequently on Twitter, but this article stood out to us particularly this month.

Finally, finishing on the Loneliness of the Middle Distance Runner.

This year we have rallied a team of 22 people to run the Bath Half next March, in support of the RUH ‘Forever Friends Appeal’.   This week Clayton Nash, Print Operator from Radstock shares his thoughts about this with us.

“I’ve always wanted to run in a half marathon and now I’ve been given the opportunity. Thanks to CFH I am now able to take part and raise money for an excellent cause!
To say that I’ve been badgered by my colleagues is an understatement, but I’m pleased that Sam Selway and Danny Young have encouraged me as I’ll be able to complete something that I’ve been meaning to achieve since my twenties, so thank you lads!
I started my training some weeks ago with support from Sam and I’m building my stamina and improving the distance every week. If time allows I like to run at least three times a week and maintaining my fitness level is another goal.

I would love to complete the half marathon in two hours or less and one day my aim is to complete a full marathon; however this goal may take some time to reach, although I am determined to succeed before I’m too old!”