Vivreau’s Business Journey

Vivreau, a global leader in the development and manufacture of purified drinking water systems, has been challenging and changing the way drinking water is sourced for over 25 years, paving the way for sustainable bottled drinking water.

In 1989, current Managing Director Stephen Charles Cohen and his late father, Howard, identified that importing bottled water from other countries would be detrimental to the environment. Despite the fact that the term ‘carbon footprint’ did not yet exist, what was immediately visible to the duo were carbon emissions, water miles and piles of non-recyclable glass and plastic bottles. Thus, an idea was conceived which aimed to change the way drinking water was obtained and served in restaurants, hotels and boardrooms across the globe.

Vivreau’s Table Water Bottling System is a mains-fed drinking water dispensing system, manufactured in the UK, which dispenses unlimited quantities of filtered chilled still and sparkling water at the point of source and can be served in reusable Designer glass bottles. This system is currently in place in 1000’s of businesses around the world.

Vivreau’s Designer glass bottles, also manufactured in the UK, are fully reusable and entirely dishwasher safe. These sleek and stylish bottles can be branded and different bottle designs can be chosen to suit a particular décor scheme. Available in 750ml and 425ml sizes, the latter is favoured for optimum eco-friendliness where water wastage can also be reduced.

Pioneered by Stephen and his father, the Table Water Bottling System concept quickly became appealing as a business opportunity, with several large contemporary companies offering Vivreau water to their clients. Effectively, this highlights that Vivreau’s mission to change the face of table water has been extremely successful, and has played a crucial part in increasing sustainability across a range of industries. Vivreau’s values are at the heart of each and every system worldwide.

Dubbed the ‘Eco Warrior’ by peers in the 90’s, Stephen Charles turned his passion into a business opportunity, championing the first ever Table Water Bottling System as a way of solving a worldwide problem.

“Nobody had ever done this before and we had a very tough audience”, Stephen recalled. “At the time, the mains-fed water cooler industry had yet to make any impact in the UK, coupled with the country just recovering from recession”. Despite this, Stephen and his father, helped by his mother, Sue, doing the books, ploughed ahead with the new venture. They built a machine sourced from components and sold it to a small Indian restaurant in Wembley. In an apprentice-style move, they took the proceeds from the sale, built and sold two more machines and so on. Now, these systems take pride of place in a range of businesses from five star hotels and Michelin starred restaurants to large corporate offices across the globe.
Vivreau’s product portfolio does not end at bottling systems. The brand continues to develop new solutions for the supply of purified water, in order to adapt to a variety of commercial requirements, minimising unnecessary environmental costs associated with pre-bottled mineral waters.

vivrea2The Vi tap was created to address the issue of efficiency, and is capable of dispensing instant boiling hot and cold still and sparkling perfectly filtered water at the touch of a button, all from one beautifully-designed tap. Possessing sleek aesthetics to complement technologically advanced functions, it is suitable for a range of outlets and establishments due to its small footprint. Robust enough to deal with high demand, with an energy saving option and zero splash, the Vi tap is an asset of efficiency in a multitude of hospitality and corporate environments.

Innovation is at the heart of all of Vivreau’s systems; a value which was central to the creation of LinkLine, which consists of one centrally located Master Control Unit which distributes chilled still or sparkling filtered water to any outlet within a building (over any number of floors), which is re-circulated continuously to eradicate the risk of stagnant water. LinkLine has been proven to be up to 55% more efficient than individual units, as well as up to 45% more cost-effective. This idea was soon adopted by a whole host of leading global businesses.

Based in Greenford, just outside London, Vivreau today employs over 70 people, with a further distribution and printing set-up in Barnsley. Stephen stated “It’s very important to us as a business and to me personally to support British manufacturing whenever possible.” The company has gone from being a small, privately owned UK company, to a serious international player with operations in North America, South Africa, Australasia and several countries across Europe and is now a key part of the Brita Group. Tel: 020 8813 4895 Email:


UKWSL acquire Gold Sustainability status

UKWSL, a leading provider of waste management services, has been awarded Gold status from the Supply Chain Sustainability School.

To begin the process of achieving Gold Status UKWSL conducted an extensive self- assessment, analysing their different procedures. Once this was complete UKWSL received a prioritised company action plan which focused on 10 areas of their business.

UKWSL invested a considerable amount of time participating in e-learning modules, attending workshops and using tools to help increase their knowledge and complete their action plan. Once UKWSL demonstrated increased sustainable competence and completed a case study on their process they were awarded Gold Status and can now actively share their knowledge and experience with others.

An important element of the Gold Award is education, UKWSL are involved with the community through job fairs and apprenticeships. UKWSL have also recently launched the first phase of the ‘Education Zone’ on their website providing waste and recycling resources to schools, colleges, businesses and households. Schemes have also been set up so UKWSL staff can participate in environmental and charitable projects within work hours to contribute to the community.

The Supply Chain Sustainability School was formed by Action Sustainability with the support of 7 founding partners in 2012 aiming to develop sustainability competence in the supply chain. Today the School has grown to 34 partners and provides the best resources in sustainability. This includes a range of knowledge partners including Trade Associations and Universities; BIFM, BRE, CEEQUAL, CITB and Universities such as Loughborough, Bath, Nottingham, Portsmouth and Royal Holloway.

Chris Giscombe, UKWSL Director, comments on the newly achieved Gold Status: “Creating a sustainable business is very important to us, not least because we want to lead by example and practice what we preach. We are proud to be awarded Gold Status and have put in place a continuous developing plan in order to constantly improve and surpass the standards.”



Wolf Laundry says YESSS to energy efficient refurbishment

Leading electrical wholesaler, YESSS Electrical, has supplied commercial laundry equipment specialist, Wolf Laundry, with a large number of items for the refurbishment of its new headquarters.

YESSS Electrical’s Barnsley branch equipped Grimethorpe-based Wolf Laundry with approximately £4,000 of electrical supplies for the 3,500 square ft. property, including several energy efficient LED products such as 600 x 600 LED panels, round LED style fittings and LED batten fittings. The products were chosen specifically to help reduce Wolf Laundry’s energy output and carbon footprint.

YESSS also delivered a host of ancillary products including mains cables, consumer units, a security system and emergency lighting, as well as providing a free lighting design and technology consultation and a site visit to take measurements. YESSS experts used lighting software to create the design and specification for Wolf Laundry, which also showed carbon reduction and the savings on energy and costs per month of the suggested lighting technology.

Jamie Robertshaw, Sales Manager at YESSS Electrical, said: “Wolf Laundry is a regular customer of ours, so we were delighted to make the leap from supplying their day-to-day requirements to helping them to completely modernise and refurbish their new headquarters with some of our environmentally-friendly products.”

John Brown, Director at Wolf Laundry said: “Expanding our existing headquarters onto two floors has been a big project, but it has allowed us to open a stunning new showroom. YESSS Electrical’s design suggestions have aesthetically improved the space, allowing us to show off our products in a new light.”

Wolf Laundry’s new showroom is open from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday, and from 8am to 12pm at weekends.


Glasgow to build its future on sustainable foundations

Figures released in early September by Markit have shown that the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has risen to 57.3, up 0.2 on July’s figures. While not as strong as the boom of 2014, where the industry was seeing returns of over 60 for much of the year, these figures represent a stable growth not seen in a decade.

Much of this sustained growth has been led by the rise in residential construction across the UK, something which is receiving significant support from government initiatives across the country. That said, recent government figures have shown that the number of housing projects starts has fallen by 1% over the year and 6% over the last 3 months, to 136,320, leaving a long way to go to reach the 200,000 homes per year outlined by David Cameron in the lead up to the general election.

It increasingly seems that tackling the issue at a local level may well be the way forward. Glasgow City Council are looking to lead the way in this aspect, having recently announced their comprehensive housing strategy People Make Glasgow Home, which will deliver 25,000 homes by 2025.

As with many cities around the UK, lack of housing, especially affordable housing, has to be balanced against finding the physical space within the city. As a part of the People Make Glasgow Home campaign, there have been a selection of creative measures to release and repurpose areas within the city, including converting empty shops into houses and opening up 20 new sites for development within the first year of the programme.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “While there have been tremendous examples of new housing developments in Glasgow in recent years, such as the Athletes’ Village and Laurieston, the city needs to accelerate house building to meet changing and growing demand. The huge scope of housing activity that the council will be enabling, supporting and investing in over the next decade will truly transform Glasgow”.

Gary Climson, Managing Director of McTaggart Construction, agreed: “We firmly believe this commitment by Glasgow City Council will further support the delivery of public sector housing in the city, driving the realisation of Glasgow’s newest city centre quarter and enabling us to continue our ambition to create quality homes and communities throughout Scotland”.

The People Make Glasgow Home scheme will be complemented by the Sustainable Glasgow programme, which, according to Duncan Booker, Sustainable Glasgow Manager, “aims to support nothing less than a green re-industrialisation of the city – so that it can make the transition from being one of the industrial powerhouses of the global Industrial Revolution to becoming a smart, sustainable, low carbon city that once again leads the world”.

Duncan recently gave an exclusive interview to Scotland Build 2015, which will bring further discussion on the housing sector within Scotland to the SECC this November. When asked about the impact of Sustainable Glasgow on house building in the city, Duncan said:

“The city’s domestic energy efficiency programme has levered in significant amounts of national and local funding to improve housing for tenants and home-owners.  It has helped them to save hundreds of pounds a year off their fuel bills and also maintained and created jobs in the industry.

The new homes at the Athletes Village are models of energy efficiency in their construction and the whole development has been a national exemplar for sustainability in construction.  The city now aims to continue this success with the new Sighthill development”.

Whether this model can be adapted across the UK remains to be seen, but Glasgow looks set to lead the way to ensure that Scotland and the UK keep building the houses required to sustain an ever-growing population.

Glasgow City Council will be speaking at the Scotland Build 2015 conference, along with a number of leading industry figures, on the 25th & 26th November at the SECC. For more information visit


Portakabin Group wins Environmental Business of the Year


The Portakabin Group’s commitment to sustainability has been recognised with another award. It has now been named Environmental Business of the Year in the Yorkshire Post Environment Awards 2015.

The award was presented by Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party at an event in Leeds which celebrated the achievements of organisations working to combat global warming and create truly sustainable communities. This follows the Group’s success in a number of national awards for recycling and zero waste.

Portakabin Group was honoured for its environmental commitments which cover every aspect of its business – from its achievement of generating zero waste to landfill in the manufacture of its market-leading modular buildings to its sustainable transport initiatives which encourage cycling, car sharing and the use of public transport to reduce carbon emissions.

Commenting on the award, Derek Carter, Chief Executive of the Portakabin Group said, “We are committed to achieving excellence in environmental management across all our manufacturing and commercial activities so this award is fantastic recognition for our colleagues. We are continually looking at new ways of minimising impact on the environment and would strongly urge all businesses to do the same. It simply makes sound environmental and economic sense to reduce consumption of the earth’s natural resources.”

“This award also gives our customers, colleagues and suppliers even greater confidence in the sustainability of our approach and our building solutions.”

The Portakabin Group’s sustainability successes have included:

  • Reducing business mileage CO2/£m turnover by 17 per cent in 2014/15. This was realised with the introduction of a new policy to encourage use of public transport and car sharing, and a cap on company cars for CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency.
  • The objective of zero waste to landfill was achieved at the Group’s international manufacturing centre in York a year ahead of target. Further improvements to waste management processes and new waste streams for recycling continue to be implemented.
  • A programme to replace all illuminated signage with energy-efficient LED lighting across the Group’s network of 50 Hire Centres.
  • Waste recycling for offices is being rolled out and the first block which includes the directors’ suite now segregates waste into paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and general waste for recycling.
  • The introduction of hot-air hand dryers to remove the need for waste-intensive paper towels.
  • The Group continues to purchase electricity only from renewable sources as part of its environmental commitment and despite increased cost.
  • Suppliers of high volume, low value materials deliver direct to the production line eliminating packaging.
  • Timber procured from EU-recognised certified sustainable sources (PEFC or FSC) has increased to 93 per cent.
  • Portakabin was awarded a Business in the Community Environment Index Gold Award for its commitment to sustainability, making it one of the UK’s highest-performing businesses for environmental management.
  • The Group has a three-week Cycle to Work Challenge for which it won a National Cycle Challenge Award with 41 per cent of employees cycling to work in that period. Around 20 per cent of the workforce in York regularly cycles to work.


The Portakabin Group hands over research facility to The University of Warwick


The Portakabin Group has handed over a highly sustainable, state-of-the-art research facility, constructed using a Yorkon off-site solution, for the new International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing at WMG at the University of Warwick – the first institute of its kind in the world.

 The off-site approach radically reduced the programme time to just 14 weeks on site, which is several months less than originally envisaged.

 The new institute develops innovative manufacturing technologies to enable industry to make large-scale nanocomposite parts for products in sectors such as telecommunications, electronics, pharmaceuticals, aerospace, automotive, security and medicine. A team of 50 nanocomposite researchers works from the building on research projects with other academic groups and partners from industry, both in the UK and internationally.

Designed by Cullinan Studio, the two-storey £2.3m scheme was manufactured off site at the Portakabin Group’s production centre in York and craned into position as 28 steel-framed Yorkon modules with fume cupboards and extraction system pre-installed for the laboratory areas. The exterior walls of the modules have been arranged to create a dust-free, clean and easy-to-maintain environment for nanocomposite testing.

The building houses advanced R&D facilities with highly complex M&E services and extensive use of renewable technologies to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions. It has three laboratories with factory-installed Yorkon high-performance concrete floors and full height uPVC hygienic wall linings. There is a 9m high central processing hall with an in-situ poured concrete floor to support specialist equipment; offices and an open plan research space. A swipe-card access control system has been installed to each room for security purposes.

Steve Walker, Senior Project Manager at the University of Warwick, said, “Considering the extremely challenging timescale we were working to for this project, the whole process was made very straightforward for us. We needed the facility to be up and running as fast as possible and this was achieved.”


“The laboratories are spacious and the performance of the building overall has exceeded our expectations. It is as good as any site-based building project. Off-site construction suits nanocomposite manufacturing very well and we would definitely recommend the Yorkon approach.”

Wen Quek, Project Architect at Cullinan Studio, said, “The use of a Yorkon off-site solution was an ideal choice for this project because it is fast, efficient and cost effective. We were also impressed with the sustainability advantages of the approach, particularly the fact that it produces up to 90 per cent less waste to landfill than on-site building methods and uses less embodied energy.”

This highly sustainable facility benefits from a number of renewable technologies that generate 18.9 per cent of its annual energy requirement. These include:

  • 100m2 of photovoltaic roof panels which will produce around 11,400kWh per year and save in excess of 6,000kg of carbon emissions
  • Very efficient low temperature hot water (LTHW) inverter-driven heat pumps to heat the process hall
  • Highly efficient variable refrigerant flow (VRF) inverter-driven heat pumps to heat and cool the laboratories, offices and meeting rooms.

Other energy efficiency features include:

  • Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) for all air supply systems to recover 80 per cent of the heat from extracted air and reduce heating requirements
  • Daylight dimming of lighting with occupancy sensors to reduce the reliance on artificial lighting and maximise energy efficiency
  • Gas and electricity meters linked to the building management system with ‘out of range’ reporting if consumption exceeds pre-determined limits
  • Power factor control equipment to ensure that electrical consumption is as efficient as possible
  • Automatic window ventilators in the process hall for cooling during the summer months to help maintain a controlled and comfortable internal environment.

Externally, the scheme has secondary perforated cladding for a high-tech appearance, and a feature mono-pitch roof. Portakabin provided a full service for this scheme including design and construction, module manufacture, fitting out, landscaping and car parking. 

The Portakabin Group’s Yorkon off-site building solutions offer unrivalled aesthetic flexibility and give building designers the benefit of thousands of module configurations and permutations to meet almost any design brief, site and building footprint. The approach is also highly sustainable because it reduces the number of vehicle movements to site by around 90 per cent, and there are fewer internal columns to facilitate space planning and any future reconfiguration required to meet the organisation’s changing needs.

For further information about Yorkon off-site building solutions, call 0845 2000 123, email or visit


BSW Timber Supports WWF Campaign to Tackle the unsustainable timber trade

HRH Prince of Wales Encourages UK Businesses to Commit to Sustainable Sourcing

BSW Timber has pledged support for WWF-UK’s Forest Campaign to tackle global forest destruction.

The company joined UK business leaders this week at WWF-UK’s Forest Business Forum, exploring how the UK’s wood-based products market can help protect the world’s forests from deforestation.

Chaired by The Prince of Wales, WWF UK’s President, the forum heard a range of views on how the global forest trade could move to a 100% sustainable footing. This supports WWF’s call for all wood-based products to be sourced from legal and sustainable sources by 2020.

As part of WWF-UK’s Forest Campaign, BSW has signed a pledge committing to public accountability in buying timber from sustainable sources, as well as supporting EU moves to close loopholes in current legislation to ensure all timber products are from legal sources.

Martin Gale, Chairman of BSW Timber, represented the company at the forum.  He said: “BSW Timber is a pro-active standard bearer for our industry in the ongoing battle against global deforestation.

“All of our products are FSC® certified and we subscribe to the ground-breaking Timber Trade Federation’s responsible purchasing policy which advocates that all timber must come from sustainable and well-managed sources. We are also a proud member of Grown in Britain, a government backed campaign to create a sustainable future for British forests and woodlands.

“We must now make sure that the responsibility message is heard throughout our global supply chain, and we will continue to play a high-profile role in ensuring the highest standards of environmental responsibility across our industry.”

CEO of WWF-UK, David Nussbaum, added: “WWF-UK’s forest campaign challenges business to commit to responsible trade in wood and paper to help end deforestation around the world.

“Businesses that rely on wood, from greetings card manufacturers to makers of furniture or musical instruments, need to step up and make sure they only use materials from sustainable sources. I am delighted that The Prince of Wales has brought his passion and concern for the environment to help highlight this pressing issue.”

Since the launch of the campaign in September 2014, more than 30 influential businesses have publicly pledged to support the campaign and have committed to source all their wood-based products from legal and sustainable sources by 2020. As well as BSW Timber, these include Kingfisher Group (owner of B&Q), James Latham, Boots, Tesco and developers Lend Lease


Europe’s largest urban Shopping Centre scoops sustainable FM award

The RWM Sustainable Facilities Management Award (left to right): Dan Thurlow (i2i Events Group), Kate Cawley (WasteSolve), Ashley Ellis (Westfield), David Collins (Westfield and Michaela Strachan
The RWM Sustainable Facilities Management Award (left to right): Dan Thurlow (i2i Events Group), Kate Cawley (WasteSolve), Ashley Ellis (Westfield), David Collins (Westfield and Michaela Strachan
 Westfield Stratford City, Europe’s largest urban shopping centre, has won top honours at the 2013 Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) Awards for Environmental Excellence, which recognise and reward good practice in sustainable waste and resource management.

The RWM Sustainable Facilities Management Award, sponsored by RWM 2014, was presented to Westfield Stratford City and waste management contractors WasteSolve for their proactive partnership approach to reducing the centre’s environmental impact.  Covering 1.9 million square feet, , the centre boasts over 310 stores with 10,000 staff working at the site. Working together, Westfield Stratford City and Wastesolve introduced a highly effective resource management programme which is delivering its ‘zero waste to landfill’ objective and has to date seen 2,014 tonnes of waste sent for re-use or second life reprocessing.
The first step in the programme was to assess the different waste streams produced across the facility, identifying nine core streams.  Each stream was then reviewed to see how it be reduced.  After this, the best possible destination for any remaining waste was identified to ensure re-use where possible.
All waste is segregated on site and to ensure resource streams are collected and stored efficiently, Waste Solve devised the ‘Green Academy’ campaign to motivate all the staff, from shop floor to the centre head office.  This engagement programme has been the key to the success, bringing staff across the whole site together with one shared aim. The campaign encourages light hearted competition between tenants to be ‘best in class’ and includes events to reiterate recycling messages and reward best practice. Regular feedback is provided through newsletters, notice board information, and posters and on a personal level, a ‘Green Fitness Trainer’ also visits individual retailers for training and workshops as required.
All food waste is sent for anaerobic digestion and a special campaign was devised for the 82 food outlets, called the `Green Academy Take out Service.’  A personal site visit to every outlet was carried out and a reward programme highlighted success and showcased achievements to help increase participation.
Alyson Hodkinson, General Manager, Westfield Stratford City, commented: “We are delighted to win this prestigious industry leading award in recognition for the true partnership approach taken between Westfield, Wastesolve and our tenants, to reduce our environmental impact and promote best practice. Through a combination of communication, education and competition we have encouraged 100% of our food and beverage tenants to participate in the ’Green Academy’ and supported all tenants to maximise their waste recycling volumes. We look forward to delivering continuous improvement next in 2014!”
Steve Lee, chief executive of CIWM, added: “Implementing operational and behavioural change on this scale is an enormous challenge but Westfield Stratford City and Wastesolve have shown how it can be achieved and sustained, and demonstrated the value of strong engagement and communications. The facilities management sector has enormous opportunities to realise the environmental and economic benefits of improving waste and resource management practices and Westfield Stratford City is a great example of what can be achieved.”
The judges for the CIWM Excellence Awards 2013 included John Ingham, environment editor of the Daily Express, Gemma Clinton, vice chair of the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee, Marcus Gover, director of market development for WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and Graham Briscoe, a board member for the British Institute of Facilities Management.
The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) is the leading professional body for the waste management sector representing over 6000 individuals in the UK and overseas. Established in 1898, CIWM is a non profit-making organisation, dedicated to the promotion of professional competence amongst waste managers. CIWM seeks to raise standards for those working in and with the sector by producing best practice guidance, developing educational and training initiatives, and providing information on key waste-related issues.
Further details on the CIWM Excellence Awards 2013 can be found at and comprehensive information about CIWM can be found at