C E L E B R AT I N G 1 0 0 Y E A R S
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on 100 years of trading!
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CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF
THIS YEAR MARKS 100 YEARS OF IDVERDE, AND WHAT A CENTURY IT ’ S BEEN...
ince 1919, we’ve delivered a recent addition of our Dutch colleagues wide range of prestigious to the idverde family, in March, we are projects to our clients and planning to host idverde’s third have been presented with international conference. March will also over 120 British Association see idverde getting involved in the Great of Landscape Industries (BALI) Awards. British Spring Clean, where we’ll We’ve earned a hopefully have reputation for 100 volunteers in excellent service, each region WE’VE EARNED delivered by taking part. A REPUTATION colleagues who feel Later in the FOR EXCELLENT SERVICE, valued and year, we’re DELIVERED BY COLLEAGUES motivated to do planning a WHO FEEL VALUED AND their best, and sponsored MOTIVATED TO ensure each and 500km cycle DO THEIR BEST every idverde ride from the colleague has the idverde Dutch opportunity to head office just grow and develop in their chosen career. south of Amsterdam all the way to We are so proud of the loyalty in our London. Forty of our colleagues from company – that’s our loyalty to our France, the UK and the Netherlands will colleagues, and their loyalty to the cycle for three-and-a-half days in aid of business. In a recent survey, 83% of our the Family Action charity. The goal is to colleagues said that they were proud to finish the route at Chelsea just in time work for idverde, and this is something for RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where that can be seen throughout our history we’ll be presenting (see pages 5–7). a garden in aid of We’ve decided to hold one main Family Action. This event every month throughout 2019, garden is not only to celebrate our own green particularly special legacy, but also to celebrate the amazing because it’ll be the work done by our people, clients, first ever RHS volunteers, stakeholders, the third sector, Chelsea Flower our partners and suppliers. With the Show garden that
can be viewed from 360 degrees, with visitors able to walk around all edges of the garden. In the autumn we will be organising a biodiversity conference with our RSPB partners, a tree-planting campaign and a special anniversary calendar. To kick off the celebrations, we are pleased to introduce our special 100th anniversary supplement in Pro Landscaper magazine. This supplement will celebrate idverde UK’s rich history, our current projects, our future plans and the people who make up our company. Whatever challenges the coming years present, we are determined to uphold the spirit of our forebears and to “carry on as usual”. We fully intend to deliver our vision of being the provider of choice for creating and maintaining landscapes for businesses and communities; and to continuing our journey with our many fantastic colleagues, clients, communities and suppliers. Here’s to the next 100 years!
100th Anniversary Supplement / idverde
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OF IDVERDE idverde as we know it today is the product of a number of legacy companies, all with their own rich and vibrant histories. Here we look back over the 100-year journey that’s made idverde the company it is today
The English Forestry Association Following the mass destruction of forests in northern Europe during Word War One (1914-1918), there was a critical shortage of timber available for importation into the UK. In a bid to make the UK’s woodland resources more sustainable, the Acland Committee was set up, and two of the most enthusiastic participants were Lieutenant Colonel Jocelyn Brudenell Pelham, the 6th Earl of Chichester, and Sir George Lloyd Courthope M.P. (later Baron Courthope). This committee led to the formation of the Forestry Commission in September 1919, a state organisation set up to reforest the UK and meet its domestic timber needs. In 1919, Earl Chichester and Sir George Courthope decided to set up their own tree-rearing and planting operation which they called the English Forestry Association (EFA). The association was a success, and in 1926 it became a limited company that has continued trading to the present day. On 27 September 1939, the handwritten minute book noted that "due to the outbreak of war, business had slackened considerably." The Board's solution? "We will carry on as usual.”
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100th Anniversary Supplement / idverde
©Richard Stone [Public domain]
And carry on they did, for the next 30 years. Then began a period of growth, mergers and acquisitions that continues today. In 1970 the English Forestry Association acquired and merged with Wealden Woodlands and Oakover Forest Services. This new company was renamed English Woodlands Ltd. English Landscapes By 1990, nearly two-thirds of the Group’s turnover was related to landscaping, so a sister company was created: English Landscapes. In 1995, the Group received its first venture capital investment from 3i PLC to fund its growth. Fast forward to 2002, and forestry no longer formed the
core of the business. To safeguard the interests of the forestry staff and clients, a trade sale of English Woodlands was agreed with Tilhill.
organisation was renamed The Landscape Group (TLG).
The Landscape Group In 2008, English Landscapes successfully completed a management buyout from its former owners, backed by private equity firm Elysian Capital LLP. With support from Elysian, the Group then acquired Banyards Ltd, a Dorset-based arboricultural and landscaping contractor, and Western Landscapes Ltd (trading as Wyevale). These two acquisitions added further to the company’s geographical and skills base, and the resulting
Becoming idverde At this point in its history, TLG (a very British company) caught the eye of a newly-created company in France called idverde. Formerly the greenspace division of ISS in France, idverde was looking for a platform to expand its activities in the UK, and in March 2015, acquired TLG. This alliance represented the largest specialist landscaping and grounds maintenance business in Europe, on both sides of the Channel. In February 2016, idverde also acquired Quadron Services Ltd. Quadron was an
1919 English Forestry Association formed
English Forestry Company Merger completed Association resolve to ‘carry with Wealden Limited on as usual’ Woodlands and incorporated during war Oakover Forest Services to create English Woodlands Limited
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The group takes up landscaping maintenance and landscape construction, and trades as both English Woodlands and English Landscapes
Trade sale of English Woodlands to Tilhill agreed
2008 Elysian Capital invest in English Landscapes Limited
2009 Current management team come on board
excellent match for TLG, providing grounds maintenance services to public sector clients. In May 2017, idverde acquired certain assets of Land Engineering, bringing on board an established team of experts in landscape construction and civil engineering, and providing a strong presence in Scotland. To further improve its UK-wide coverage, idverde acquired ‘Out There’ Services (Northern Ireland) in 2018. As we go to print, idverde has made the first acquisition of its second century, bringing service provider KJT into its family. KJT’s skills and customer base strengthens idverde’s presence in the South West, as well as providing clients with new and
New Coventry headquarters opens
ISS Espaces Vert acquired by Chequers Capital, renamed idverde
TLG acquired by Chequers Capital, one common bi-national company establishes
English Landscapes, Banyards and Wyevale merge to form The Landscape Group
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SINCE 1919, IDVERDE HAS GROWN FROM A SMALL FOREST MANAGEMENT COMPANY IN SOUTH EAST ENGLAND TO EUROPE’S LEADING PROVIDER OF GROUNDS MAINTENANCE SERVICES AND LANDSCAPE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS
2016 Quadron acquired by idverde, Quadron and TLG merged
complementary management services. Since 1919, idverde has grown from a small woodland management company in South East England to Europe’s leading provider of grounds management services and landscape construction projects. The idverde family continues to consider potential acquisitions in order to add skills and national coverage. Today, idverde is made up of 5,500 colleagues working collaboratively across the UK, France and the Netherlands. Just as in 1919, the company is still owned by its management, (although now supported by Core Equity Partners in Belgium), and is considerably more egalitarian than its aristocratic founders!
idverde expands its presence in Scotland through the acquisition of certain assets of Land Engineering
idverde enters Northern Ireland market through acquisition of Out There Services
100 years of idverde
100th Anniversary Supplement / idverde
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CURRENT PROJECTS A DETAILED LOOK AT FOUR ONGOING PROJECTS
Following the UK launch of Mixto in January 2018 at the BTME exhibition in Harrogate, idverde was approached by Peterborough United Football Club. The club, colloquially known as The Posh, approached idverde to discuss the installation and ongoing maintenance of two new pitches using Mixto hybrid turf. idverde was delighted to install new pitches, ensuring they were ready for the first game on 28 July 2018, despite the challenges of installation during the hottest summer on record. Dean Tingley, project manager at idverde sports services, said: “Mixto was a great choice for The Posh. The added strength of the artificial turf improves the durability of the pitch, with playing time increased to around three times that of natural turf. This is achieved without noticeable change for the players as the surface feels exactly the same, albeit with increased stability underfoot.” One of the biggest tests of the season came in September last year when Peterborough played Portsmouth. The idverde ‘Posh team’ worked hard to provide fantastic pitch conditions for this important game, which was attended by almost 11,000 supporters. The pitch was double-cut using two Dennis G860 mowers on the Friday and Saturday morning, before being marked out and watered again, ready for the afternoon’s game. The pitch looked outstanding and held out extremely well, without divots or any visible wear from the game. idverde now maintains all of The Posh’s pitches at the ABAX Stadium, Mick George Academy and Nene Park.
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At Charnwood, idverde’s 10-year greenspace management contract is delivered to a particularly high standard and represents a wide-ranging service that goes well beyond routine grounds maintenance. A key part of idverde’s remit is to build and grow the extensive community relationships and volunteer activity already present in the Borough. Working with the Charnwood client team, idverde’s colleagues are responsible for the recruitment and management of volunteers, management of a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and keeping up the excellent horticultural standards in its two Green Flag sites. Loughborough has achieved enviable results, including national Gold in the annual RHS Britain in Bloom competition. idverde’s horticultural development manager is herself a Britain in Bloom judge, and hence able to work effectively with the Loughborough in Bloom committee. idverde manages the ranger service, sports bookings, cemeteries, playground maintenance, and infrastructure inspections. idverde welcomed 29 transferring staff in 2014, and commits to recruiting two apprentices per year, as well as providing mentored work placements. This enables the council to deliver its Open Spaces Strategy whilst providing great social value and enhancing local heritage and biodiversity.
100th Anniversary Supplement / idverde
BROMLEY AND THE RSPB
Building on a partnership that started in 2008, idverde was further contracted in 2015 to deliver a holistic service for the full management of parks, greenspace and countryside on behalf of the London Borough of Bromley. idverde was entrusted to take over the client function, including the management of many sites of wildlife importance and directly managing relationships with 45 Friends groups and 60 self-managed allotments and self-managed sports clubs. For the next eight years, idverde remains responsible for delivering a fullymanaged service across London’s greenest Borough, including authoring and delivering its parks, greenspace and countryside strategy. In addition to 100+ maintenance and landscaping staff, they employ three environmental education professionals, five community managers and five ecologists. This service demands innovation, in particular to be able to safeguard biodiversity in Bromley, despite a challenging economic climate. One such innovation was launching a partnership in 2017 with the RSPB, the largest nature conservation charity in the UK. This sees a dedicated member of the RSPB based in Bromley working with idverde to help deliver the council’s parks, greenspace and countryside strategy. The work underlines the commitment from idverde to maintain, enhance and restore Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and other green spaces for wildlife. At Bromley, the RSPB biodiversity advisor provides technical support to the wider idverde team in managing all sites for biodiversity; not just SSSIs and LNRs, but also amenity spaces, allotments and urban sites, while supporting engagement and environmental education activities.
idverde recently completed this project with Gloucester Cathedral to deliver the soft and hard landscaping elements of an external landscaping scheme, designed by New Leaf Studios. Part of the prestigious Cathedral’s 10-year plan, entitled ‘Project Pilgrim’, the landscaping package transformed the external landscape surrounding the cathedral, turning the car park into a grassed and paved public area. Project Pilgrim is the culmination of years of planning by the Cathedral to carry out a once-in-a-lifetime regeneration project to improve and restore parts of the 11th-century building. The landscaping element required clearance and demolition of the existing car parks, vegetation and street furniture before excavations could begin for the new landscape. The landscaping solution included the installation of a new car park, construction of a raised terrace, new lighting and soft landscaping. The works have been subject throughout to a full-time archaeological watching brief to ensure that no stone was left unturned when it came to preserving items of religious, historical or human importance. Hundreds of items requiring documentation and investigation were discovered. During the build, the Cathedral remained open at all times with designated ‘quiet times’ in effect for religious services. Upon culmination of the project in 2018, idverde was delighted to receive a BALI National Award in recognition of the high standards of workmanship delivered on this challenging regeneration project.
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WHAT’S NEXT FOR IDVERDE?
“ WE WI L L CA R R Y O N A S U S UA L”
e’re really excited to share topics around safety. Our recent embark on our 101st half-yearly regional meetings also year and to see what focused heavily on health and 2019 brings for safety, and we take the view you idverde and the wider can never stop improving on safe landscaping industry. We are privileged to working practices. work in this amazing industry with our We’re proud of our organic growth, valued colleagues, caring for public open and the way in which our colleagues are spaces alongside so many dedicated good at interpreting what each client community groups, wants, and coming third sector and up with thoughtful IT'S ABSOLUTELY client teams and solutions at wherever we go, affordable prices. FUNDAMENTAL when the job is We will continue THAT WE CONTINUE finished, our our organic growth TO KEEP OUR PEOPLE, environment is in the coming years EVERYONE WE WORK always better than and have just WITH AND THE when we start. For boosted the size of ENVIRONMENT SAFE the most part we will our business continue to “carry on development as usual”. team. We’re very It's absolutely fundamental that we strong at serving local authorities, continue to keep our people, everyone ground maintenance and landscaping we work with and the environment safe. markets, but we are now developing Every year we have a safety day, where into newer markets and adding new colleagues in the Group 'stand down' services. However, we don’t intend to be from work for the day to talk about and diverted from our predominantly green
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and outdoor focus. It is important that we continue to do those things that have made us successful, but do them even better. We work very hard to win customers and provide value with our services, and we will continue to become more efficient and having an innovative approach to the idverde way of working. This means when contracts come to their natural expiry, we remain the provider of choice and have a good chance of winning that new contract. On average we retain four out of five contracts, we’re aiming for five out of five! As managers of a living landscape, what we do and how we do it has a massive impact locally: on local communities, on the local economy and the local biodiversity. This makes our service punch well above its financial impact, and we will continue to work collaboratively with residents, volunteers, user groups, our partners RSPB and Family Action to make our impact a really positive one. We’ve done well with acquisitions over the
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past few years, but we’ve done it carefully and planned for the necessary integration period. Following our own acquisition by idverde France, we have added Quadron, Land Engineering, Out There Services and now KJT to our UK family. What’s important to us about acquisitions is not only that the numbers look right, but that the business we’re acquiring complements idverde and maintains the values of the idverde culture. The purchase itself is the easy part. It’s collaborating and bringing in new colleagues and ensuring that everyone has the same common goal that takes the most time, but it is well worth the investment. A testament to us delivering on our growth plans is our management team. We have 94 senior managers in the business that are also investors. This is their business, they’ve all been on the journey with us for a number of years and all have a stake in the company. A continuing
ALL OF US IN THIS GREAT INDUSTRY NEED TO PROMOTE THE CAREER BENEFITS OF WORKING IN LANDSCAPING AND AMENITY HORTICULTURE, IT’S TOO MUCH OF A WELL-KEPT SECRET
challenge will be bringing new talent and management into our business at all levels. All of us in this great industry need to promote the career benefits of working in landscaping and amenity horticulture, it’s too much of a well-kept secret. Anyone who has attended the BALI awards and seen the amazing projects that we deliver across the UK would be in no doubt about that. So, we’ll build on our Performance Campus to offer more development opportunities for our people and for everyone who aspires to be an idverde colleague in the future.
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COLLEAGUE MAX KENDALL WILSON CONTRACT MANAGER How long have you worked for idverde? Four years. What’s the best thing about your job? My Warwick depot and contracts team. They are a good-hearted bunch. What’s your proudest moment at idverde? My contributions to the Warwick contract service delivery and becoming the contract manager. Why did you want to work in horticulture or landscaping? The appeal of an outdoor environment where different skills could be learnt and applied. This offered me the
TESTIMONIALS KEITH HORNE GROUNDS MAINTENANCE OPERATIVE
opportunity to progress in a varied career. What would make your job even better? Workshops between ‘top tier’ staff and contract staff to maintain that ‘family feel’ in an expanding business. What’s your favourite park? Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa. How could our industry attract more young people? Showing career opportunities and a chance to progress if willing to work towards it. Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? My mum.
How long have you worked for idverde? Four years. What’s the best thing about your job? Taking pride in my work and maintaining school grounds to a high standard throughout the year.
Why did you want to work in horticulture or landscaping? I always felt a need to work outdoors, then I got an allotment. I started growing and maintaining my own plants, and it just seemed a natural step to combine the two.
What’s your favourite park? Calderstones Park, Liverpool. The walled gardens are superb and it’s a great place for birdwatching.
How could our industry attract more young people? Try and make apprenticeships seem more appealing.
What’s your proudest moment at idverde? Last year the school won an Educate Magazine ‘ecoschool of the year’ award for our wildflower meadow.
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? My grandad. He’s 80 years old and still the person I automatically turn to for advice.
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TESTIMONIALS STUART DILLETT MANAGING DIRECTOR, SCOTLAND AND THE NORTH How long have you worked for idverde? 32 years, straight out of university! What’s the best thing about your job? Every day there are new and challenging experiences, it keeps my day-to-day work very interesting. What’s your proudest moment at idverde? Being involved in the creation and maintenance of projects of any national significance are the most gratifying moments.
What would make your job even better? It’s frustrating to see the decline in skills and knowledge across our sector. Our performance campus is so important to promote existing and attract new talent. Why did you want to work in horticulture or landscaping? I was fortunate to have the grades to go to university, but I wanted to work outdoors and make a difference. From there I went into the horticulture industry
IAN ANDREW HEAD GARDENER How long have you worked for idverde? 25 years. I started as a seasonal colleague. What’s the best thing about your job? Variety. The job brings something different every day. Although you think you know the seasons, you never know what’s going to happen in the park until you actually get there. What’s your proudest moment at idverde? The improvements to Bishop’s Park, and the team I’m proud to have worked with. It was dark and intimidating, now it’s light, tidy and welcoming, with a Green Flag award and entered for a BALI award. My team is great, we receive compliments from clients and the public, something I’m very proud to say.
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and from there to Landscape Contracting. How could our industry attract more young people? Young people need to be attracted from a very early age and shown that as with other trades a very good career can be developed within our sector, Building this awareness as early as possible is key. Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? Very hard to say but my former chairman, Terry
Racionzer (who founded Schuh) taught me a lot about myself and working with colleagues when I took on the role of managing director at Land Engineering. What’s your favourite park? Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh – difficult choice as a Glaswegian! The park offers great views of the castle and wider Edinburgh and is a great space for visitors, commuters and residents to enjoy time with friends and family, and reflect on life in general.
DOMINIC KNOWER BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER What would make your job even better? What frustrates me are litter bugs in the parks or dog users that don’t clear up. Why did you want to work in horticulture or landscaping? Working outside and the variety. From experience, working inside wasn’t for me. How could our industry attract more young people? It’s tough. Better advertising of outdoor jobs nationwide, maybe better paid apprenticeships with achievable rewards? Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? My parents. Mum raised the four of us, whilst dad gave me the work ethic I have now. Touch wood, I haven’t had a day off sick in over four years.
How long have you worked for idverde? Six years. What’s the best thing about your job? Being able to apply my passion and expertise to help colleagues throughout the business and across the country! What’s your proudest moment at idverde? Achieving a first in my degree in ecology and conservation supported by idverde, and then utilising that experience at work. How could our industry attract more young people? Make it enjoyable and exciting, offer creative and dynamic roles so young people can be themselves and not feel they have to fit into old ways of working or
environments they can’t relate to. What would make your job even better? More training and mentoring are always welcome, it’s a steep learning curve! What’s your favourite park? My local: Camphill and Woolton Woods, Liverpool. It has a peaceful walled garden, beech woodlands and views over the river Mersey. Why did you want to work in horticulture or landscaping? An innate fascination with plants and nature. Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life? David Attenborough encouraged my passion for the environment from a young age.
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