The ultimate accolade each year and the final award to be announced at the GloucestershireLive Business Awards is Business of the Year.
In 2022 Tim Watkins, our Managing Partner, revealed the winner of the award was Leeways Packaging Services Ltd. We find out more about the business and why they stood out to the judges.
Who are Leeways?
- Established in 1971, Leeways is a third generation, family owned, and operated business with 150 employees based across 4 sites within Gloucestershire.
- A leading UK supplier of bespoke food and medical packaging solutions, they design and manufacture thermoformed packaging for some of the biggest brands in the UK.
- Leading the way in their industry for innovation, they utilise their in-house design team, tooling department and extrusion technologies to design and develop packaging that is both functional and sustainable.
- Having celebrated 50 years in 2021, their leadership team ensure they stick to the core principles set by founders Roland & Kathleen Walding, to be sustainable both environmentally and financially.
Sustainability is at the top of their agenda
Leeways have invested heavily in renewable energy sources, including a solar farm which supplies 25-30% of their requirements at their head office manufacturing site in Churcham, with grid approval already gained to add a further solar-PV installation at their manufacturing site in Cinderford. This planned investment combines their solar operation to a total production of 1,500,000kWh of electricity per annum. Annual emission savings will be over 294,000kg of C02 – equivalent to just over 13,500 trees planted. They have also invested in the latest energy efficient LED lighting that uses 75% less energy than incandescent.
Leeways have proved their environmental sustainability through the continued investment in renewable technologies, design innovation and material innovation. Their products are manufactured using between 80-100% recycled content and are 100% recyclable. Through their recent investment in the latest extrusion technology, they have been able to develop sustainable materials such as Break Down Plastic (a recyclable material which will break down quickly if it did end up in landfill) and Prevented Ocean Plastic™ (POP).
POP is high quality, certified recycled plastic that has been collected from coastal areas at risk of ocean plastic pollution. Used by brands around the world, it meets regulatory health and safety standards, is traceable back to source and can be identified on-pack through its distinctive triangular logo.
Continued re-investment of profits
Leeways’ financial sustainability is shown through the continued re-investment of profits back into the business to ensure they maintain a profitable business with a healthy balance sheet. This business philosophy provides long term security for its employees. Leeways have re-invested in excess of £9,000,000 back into the business over the last few years alone.
Playing a pivotal role during the pandemic
Leeways supported the NHS by working alongside companies with large government contracts to supply the design and manufacturing of PPE visors. Whilst manufacturing some 55,000,000 products, they also demonstrated their agility by setting up a contract packing operation located in the Forest of Dean, which created an additional 80 jobs over a 9-month period at a time when many people were unfortunately struggling for employment.
Supporting their local community is extremely important to them
Alongside supporting many youths sporting teams, they chose James Hopkins Trust as their corporate charity. Staff are encouraged to regularly volunteer to help with the upkeep and maintenance of the site and gardens at the charity HQ, in addition to financial support through contribution to many fund raising events.