Cardboard has the highest recycling rates in the UK and is harvested from a renewable resource. We are lucky to be able to make a product that is recyclable, reusable and biodegradable, so on a day to day basis we can shout about this from our normal business activity. So that’s great.
It was a twelve year old girl (the daughter of one of the businesses directors) that openly told us that we weren’t doing enough to protect the world, just by doing what we do every day. The fact is, as blunt and as critical as children can be, she was right. We were forced to sit back and think about whether we were reactive and perhaps a little opportunistic.
So this challenge was taken to the business, and in the early part of 2018, we tried to start partnering with some of the local event organisers to see how we could help, support and advise with the knowledge that we have. We were surprised at the lack of interest despite all the media attention that had come before. However, with Taste of the West this was very different. One phone call and email to them and the CEO John Sheaves was straight on the phone. Within a week he was at our facility to see how the product was made and how we reuse and recycle our waste, and in a few weeks we signed up as affiliate members. By February 2019, after a brainstorming session between RH and Taste of West, it was decided to give environmental sustainability as much media attention locally as possible by creating a new award. This award was showcased and launched at the Source Trade Show in Exeter. The award itself invited businesses to outline what they had done already, but went one step further than this to explore what sustainability plans were in place for the future, based on five key areas including packaging. The entrants for the award were very strong and after several visits, it was clear that the businesses shortlisted are proactively looking at all areas of their activities and the implications for the environment.
The Environmental Sustainability award was won by Devon based Barnaby’s Brewhouse; a business that has a strong desire to not only produce a product with as little impact as possible but also takes the time to network, liaise and support not just its customers but other stakeholders and organisations. Barnaby’s subjectively picks its business to shreds and if there is a corner of anything remotely wasteful or unsustainable by default this becomes a key target for positive change, and the corner is cleared.
We plan to continue to support Taste of the West and its members by offering our advice and also learning from other producers and manufacturers so we can improve. In addition to this, in January 2020, we plan to launch some exciting campaigns within our community to keep the environment at the centre of our activities. Watch this space!