AJ Wells & Sons Ltd
Founded in 1972 AJ Wells & Sons Ltd is a privately-owned, family-run engineering business. With an original workforce of three, today the company boasts over 150 employees and has an annual turnover of £12million. Running from a 50,000 sq. ft site in Newport on the Isle of Wight, the company have two main product lines and services: Charnwood Stoves and A.J Wells Signage & Cladding in the South East of England.
AJ Wells & Sons Ltd stoves are among the most environmentally friendly appliances available on the market, using the very latest combustion technology. Most of their ranges now meet the new Ecodesign regulation coming into force in 2022. Their facility also boasts the UK’s largest vitreous enamelling plant that produces much of the signage and cladding for London Underground and the Paris Metro. This is a traditional process which offers exceptional longevity and resists ageing. A.J Wells & Sons’ products are sold throughout the UK and the rest of the world, with a presence in around 14 countries.
AJ Wells & Sons Ltd have always put sustainability at the forefront of their principles and the idea of being ‘green’ extends past the manufacturing process into every aspect of the company; from choosing raw materials, recycling packaging and even how they transport materials and products. As their website states, ‘It is our view that it is environmentally unsustainable to transport heavy materials around the world, on the grounds of small savings, when the world’s finest materials are available here in the UK.’ With this in mind, they strive to buy British whenever possible. A key function of their product design is to ensure that their products are designed and built to last. Their first stoves were manufactured over 45 years ago and there are still some in operation! They also ensure that spare parts are available so that when parts do inevitably fail they can nearly always be repaired. As they state, we have never subscribed to a throw-away culture and we never will.
AJ Wells & Sons Ltd are ISO 14001 accredited, Fors Bronze (A fleet Operator recognition Scheme), and working towards ISO 45001. They are looking to become Net Zero by 2050 because as stated, ‘we feel this is an inevitable step for all companies and we would like to lead the way in a domain that we are passionate about’.
AJ Wells & Sons Ltd reinvest heavily in product design and development (£865k of company funds in 2020.) Over the years they have developed their BluTM technology for their stoves which has decreased stove emissions over 90% and increased efficiency of their stoves by over 70%. They are continuing to do this and the latest product uses intelligent microprocessor technology to monitor the fire and ensure that settings are adjusted to minimise emissions and maximise efficiency.
AJ Wells have invested in plant and equipment over many years in order to reduce our carbon footprint and be more sustainable. Across their site there is currently 135kW of solar PV systems that have generated nearly 1000MWh to date. The vast majority of this energy is used on site. This equates to a reduction in CO2 of 368 tonnes over 10 years- 36.8 a year. They are also wanting to apply for further solar panels.
AJ Well’s electricity is sourced from a supplier providing renewable energy. By monitoring our half hour data, they are able to identify usage outside of working hours. By ensuring machines and compressors are turned off during these times they have achieved annual savings of over £7000.
Investment in machines always considers energy consumption of the product. As a result of this objective, AJ Wells have invested in in four variable speed drive compressors, each reducing energy consumption by up to 50% when compared to fixed drive compressors. The investment in the latest fibre laser technology has resulted in a reduction in energy consumption of their metal cutting facility of over 500kWh per day due to advancement in technology.
Since 2008 AJ Wells have run a scheme, marketed internally as the “Green dog”, throughout their office space, encouraging employees to be environmentally friendly. This ranges from saving energy consumption by switching off lights and keeping air-con between certain temperatures, to using the compost bin and offering them locally sourced fruit and milk. They are part of the cycle-to-work scheme and many of our employees actually cycle and use our showers that facilitate this. They avidly discourage printing in the office and have invested in a digital solution that delivers order information to the factory floor, thus cutting out the paper trail. AJ Wells are looking to extend that solution throughout the company.
AJ Wells also have a policy of investing in electric company vehicles and it has multiple charging points at their factory that are available to all staff and visitors.
At customer level AJ Wells are taking their commitment to greener packaging to a higher level by sourcing innovative, alternative solutions to pallet wrapping and reviewing every aspect of the packaging, right down to the tape, labels and document enclosed slips that appear on our products. Having been using recycled stationary throughout our offices since 2012 they are looking to swap to even more eco-friendly, more visibly recycled versions, so that their efforts do not go unnoticed by our customers.
AJ Wells supply chains get evaluated on their environmental credentials. A recent example is our steel supply. They have placed a large forward order for 750 tonnes of hot rolled steel which we will call off up until the end of the year. This has been placed with Tata Steel who produce the material in South Wales. They have chosen to buy our steel here in the UK from Tata, as stated, ‘we feel they play a big part in making the steel industry more sustainable. We have agreed to pay a £10 per tonne carbon surcharge on all our material, which will be used by Tata to reduce their carbon emissions by 40 per cent by 2030 and be carbon-neutral by 2050.’
While Net Zero 2050 Initiative is AJ Wells only formal sustainability initiative at the moment, many of the projects they get involved in, especially for Transport for London requires them to commit to reducing our environmental impact. ‘We are committed to achieve a reduction of 50% of our emissions by 2030 and hence we are signing up to the SME Climate Hub’
AJ Wells have previously been recognised for our achievements through being awarded the Green Business of the Year by their local chamber of commerce.