RSL

RSL asks, ‘How can a vending supplier become zero carbon?’

RSL – Refreshment Systems Limited’s Evan Church on the company’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint.

As the world keeps evolving, so do we. Since the inception of RSL in 1967, we’ve been on a mission to provide a variety of solutions that are,  essentially, designed to make people’s lives easier.

During 2005, RSL achieved the international standard for Quality Management Systems (ISO 9001). We had to provide a management framework that helped us to improve our services and meet our customers’ expectations. Then, in mid-2007, we decided to try and achieve the environmental certification (ISO 14001). We went as far as we possibly could, and made huge strides which led to our mission to reduce our environmental footprint.

On the back of achieving the environmental certification, it created a whole new journey for RSL.

RSL The Kenyan Stove Project

This is where our story begins. There were many projects that we could have looked into. However, the one that stood out the most was The Kenyan Stove Project. This is an energy-efficient project where we offset our Carbon Footprint by having the Kenyan stoves produced. The stoves reduce the need for firewood by 50%. This prevents carbon from being emitted from the stoves and also prevents deforestation.

RSL
The stoves reduce the need for firewood by 50%

The Head of Engineering at RSL, Steve Wright, was fortunate enough to visit Kenya in 2013. He said, “It was humbling to see the impact we have had on these people. There are many serious issues in Africa and one of which is the ‘kitchen killer’. The kitchen killer is responsible for the millions of deaths in the country every year and a huge benefit of the stoves is the reduced amount of Carbon Monoxide in their houses.

The amount of time the stoves freed up allowed some of the villagers to start their own businesses. Bringing in more money and just overall providing a somewhat better life for the families. It’s brilliant that this project has offset our Carbon Footprint, but there is so much more to what we set out to do. As stated earlier, we want to provide solutions and make people’s lives easier.

Carbon Zero company for 13 years

RSL has been a Carbon Zero company for 13 years. Our impact during The Kenyan Stove Project has benefited so many lives. Stats don’t lie and we have them to share.

  • Wood saved – 4,863 tonnes of wood has been saved. Saving wood can reduce the severity of climate change by absorbing more carbon from the air.
  • Time saved – 15,652 days have been saved because of the stoves. This has allowed villagers to gain new priorities. For example, get a job, or start their own business.
  • Children impacted – 5,776 children have had huge benefits from the stoves. The benefit being that they don’t have to cut down trees with their parents and their parents will be able to watch them grow up.
  • Stoves built – 1,863 stoves were built during the project.
  • Overall impact – 2,423 families and 1,863 elderlies impacted resulting in (5,776 children as well) 10,062 total people impacted.

Since 2020, RSL has continued the journey of reducing its carbon footprint. During the UK lockdowns, we have implemented new technology which is capable of providing so many positives. We believe it had the power to do what we wanted and it has proved it can. At RSL, telemetry has improved customer service, made route planning more efficient and lowered carbon emissions.

Reducing our Carbon Footprint is something that Refreshment Systems strongly believe in and as a culture within the company, this is what we wanted to do and continue to go forward with. There’s always more we can do. It’s not just the case of settling in on the Kenyan Stove Project and leaving it there, it’s way more than that.

Visit Planet Vending for more vending news.

About the author

The Editor

Planet Vending’s Editor is Ian Reynolds-Young and it’s Ian’s unique writing talent that has made PV what it is today – the best read (red) vending blog in the world, and vending’s best read (reed). Ian ‘tripped and fell into vending’, in the capacity of PR executive, before launching a specialist agency, ‘reynoldscopy’, dedicated to the UK Vending business. The company continues to represent the interests of many of the sector’s leading brands.

‘It’s all about telling stories’, he says. ‘We want to make every visit to PV a rewarding experience. By celebrating the achievements of the UK’s operating companies, we’re on a mission to debunk the idea that vending is retailing’s poor relation.’

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