We have a responsibility to the land we farm and the wider environment. So we’ve set out some high standards for recycling, re-use and energy conservation, and we want to make sure that we do all we can to operate in an environmentally sensitive and responsible way.
As our Nature’s Choice accreditation from Tesco suggests, we take energy use and recycling seriously. We’ve considered all our processes and made sure that we’re making positive changes wherever possible. We recycle all the water we use at our factory – the fresh water used to cool and rinse today’s product becomes tomorrow’s washer water. It’s then discharged via a cleaning screen into a series of lagoons, where it is allowed to settle. The solid mud and weed is then removed before the water is re-oxygenated and used in our giant booms to push the root vegetables out of the trailers to start the process all over again. In March 2013 we finished the installation of 4,113 solar panels at our main site in Chatteris. It’s the largest privately-owned, roof-mounted system in the UK and will generate 25% of our total yearly energy consumption.
We’ve adopted a ‘less is more’ approach to harvesting. It means that more waste is left on the field and our trailers are packed with more veg – which means we don’t have to travel to and from the field as much. In fact we’ve reduced our overall field to factory transport movements by 60%. We’ve also invested in GPS guidance systems for our tractors – as well as improving crop establishment and product uniformity, it means we’ve reduced our carbon emissions and fuel usage by as much as 15%. In addition, by positively selecting parsnips in the field, we have decreased our parsnip acreage by over 30%, reducing our carbon footprint even further.
We were the first company to become a Platinum Corporate Member of the local Wildlife Trust. Since joining in 2006 we’ve established baseline data for wildlife and environmental issues on all of our host farms, which cover a huge area. Results showed that our host farmers were improving wildlife habitats on their farms by sowing Bumblebee seed mixtures and continuing to plant native hedgerows wherever possible.