A CHESTER-BASED food wholesaler is on the road to net zero after investing £1m in a fleet of six new low-emission delivery trucks.

Harlech Foodservice are blazing a trail towards their own net zero landmark of 2050 at the same time as they launch a major expansion of the business into South and West Wales with new depots at Merthyr and Carmarthen.

They have already made some major savings by switching to more environmentally-friendly coolant gas for their giant freezer rooms at their headquarters and for their refrigerated transport fleet as part of a major review of their energy needs.

Another six HGVs are being added to the fleet by the end of this year at a cost of another £1m as the company gears up to build new markets from its latest base in Carmarthen, where they are targeting South West Wales.

Harlech reported on their progress towards their zero emissions target at a Net Zero North Wales Network session at Pontio, in Bangor, following a fact-finding visit to their headquarters near Criccieth by members of the Net Zero North Wales Network.

Chester and District Standard:

This was led by Ashley Rogers, the Chief Executive of the North Wales Business Council, who came on a fact-finding mission to see the green revolution in action in the food supply sector.

Harlech Sales Administrator Janette Jones, alongside Head of Operations Ian Evans, has overseen the company’s drive towards Net Zero and she said:

“It is really important to embrace the green agenda because so many of our public sector customers demand it now.

“The progress we have made so far has helped us win new public sector contracts so that makes good business sense as well as being environmentally important.

“In turn that is driving the growth of the company which employed about 180 staff pre-Covid but is now heading towards 250.

“As well as the new fleet of HGVs we have and the other delivery vans, we are looking at the feasibility of equipping the sales fleet with all-electric vehicles and using smart technology to plan journeys, deliveries and pick-ups, more efficiently.

“It’s about getting the right people in the right place at the right time because there is a big saving to be made not just in our fuel miles but in the fuel miles of our suppliers.”

Harlech operate from bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, Chester, Merthyr Tydfil and newly-opened Carmarthen and between the four locations, the company is increasing employment to 250 staff and running a fleet of vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

Net Zero North Wales Ambassador Mared Williams, from Rhug Estate, was a member of the party that visited Harlech’s Headquarters and she said:

“What Harlech are doing is really impressive.

“They began measuring their carbon footprint in 2016 and they have made so much progress since then in reducing their carbon footprint while expanding their business.

“They have lots of exciting contracts and are making a huge expansion so it’s great that they’re employing so many local people with a high proportion of Welsh speakers.

“These are also permanent jobs in an area where so much employment has traditionally been seasonal and temporary.”

Mike Learmond, of the Federation of Small Businesses in North Wales, said:

“It’s great to see a company that’s embraced carbon reduction and taken positive steps towards net zero, particularly after the sector was so badly hit during Covid.

“They have impressive plans for expansion and they’re baking the drive to Net Zero into those plans.”

For information about the next Net Zero North Wales Network free session, on Wednesday, July 10 at Venue Cymru, Llandudno, visit: Net Zero North Wales Network - Weds 10th July (office.com).