Shed 1 Gin is an award-winning distillery on the edge of the English Lake District. They produce ‘small batch, classically distilled gin with a contemporary style’. We normally provide all of our services remotely, but we took the time to go visit this ‘green distillery’ and we may have sampled some of their fare…
The pride in their gin-making was evident. Equally evident was their honest and committed approach to managing their environmental impacts. They work hard to ensure the most sustainable packaging, source all ingredients as locally as possible (including foraging for blackberries!), are re-jigging their distillery so that all cooling water is recycled in a closed loop system, have joined the Recorked UK scheme to encourage recycling of their corks and are working towards a bottle re-filling system for local customers. They really are a green distillery. For more, see their sustainability page.
Every Green Small Business is different. Some are just starting on their journey towards becoming more green. For others, like Shed 1 Gin, Green Small Business certification is as much about recognising and celebrating their efforts as it is about identifying new ways of improving environmental performance. See their case study for more details.
Gin-maker extraordinaire Zoe was delighted with the outcome of the process: It has always been important for us to be as sustainable as we could be. It was great to get some affirmation for our efforts up to this point. What we found useful was the extra research that Green Small Business did for us and pointing us in the right direction.
Surely one of the most beautiful workspaces in London, the Boathouse Design studio was originally designed for building and maintaining boats. The space now offers a unique office experience for the companies who work there, with its natural light, stunning view over the Thames and its carefully restored and converted interiors.
Amaze Property, the owners of the space, sought Green Small Business certification as a means of gaining recognition for, and adding structure to, their efforts to be environmentally responsible. It provided them with “an incentive to go greener” as well as being “a good promotional tool which sets us apart from other co-working spaces”.
With an electric car, van-sharing scheme, commitment to sustainable sourcing of materials, processes in place to minimise on-site waste and more, London-based builder Lamabuild have firm green credentials.
Going through the Green Small Business process allowed a clear structure to be developed for addressing all of the key environmental impacts of the company and for new ideas to address some of those impacts to be formed. Green Small Business certification was just reward for their environmental efforts and will further enhance their reputation amongst architects and clients who are increasingly demanding evidence of environmental credentials.
“It’s really important that we are aware, and are seen to be aware of what we are doing and want to do to ‘Green’ our business. Eco matters are at the forefront of most responsible people’s minds so it can only improve our reputation with architects and clients.”
Lisa Smith, the owner of Ginger Bakers, understands that being kind to the environment is not just good for her conscience but good for her business too. Lisa said: “We decided to do it because it’s a good thing for the business. Hopefully it will save on costs and we want to be doing something to contribute to helping the environment – we want to make sure we are doing as much as we can.”
Her Lake District-based business has long been committed to responsible sourcing of ingredients but was keen to take a structured approach to addressing environmental impacts across all aspects of the business. She was full of praise for how easy the Green Small Business process was and the potential for it to make a real difference to her business.
“It looks at energy use and things like that to see where we can make savings. The process is really simple and straightforward and a good starting point for businesses to make changes in how we do things. It’s been really convenient and the initial work really doesn’t take much time. Time is really precious and this didn’t take up much of our time.”
Lisa added: “It’s given us a prompt to look into these things like heat systems further. The report also highlights the good things businesses are already doing – there is no criticism and it is a very supportive document for the business.”
Green Small Business has recently had the immense pleasure of working with six inspirational charities to help them meet Big Lottery and EU funding requirements. All six were part of a project funded through the Building Better Opportunities programme, run by the European Social Fund and Big Lottery Fund, which is seeking to tackle the root causes of poverty, promote social inclusion and drive local jobs and growth.
Working through the certification process for Green Small Business enabled all six charities to map out their environmental impacts, both positive and negative, and to clearly articulate their plans for addressing those impacts. For us, it was a real inspiration to hear about the work they do to support some of the most vulnerable people in our society. For them, we certainly hope it was an opportunity to appreciate their potential to make a difference in meeting the environmental challenges of our time.
Some are already blazing a trail. Right2Work provide learning and employment opportunities for a range of different people including those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions. They do so partly through an incredible re-use and recycling initiative, which is diverting huge amounts of local waste from landfill.
If you need an environmental policy or some form of environmental certification for your charity or small business, download our free guide or get in touch. We’d love to hear from you!
Southcombe Gloves, based in the South West of England, has been supplying, designing and manufacturing gloves since 1847.
A fifth-generation family-owned and run company, they take their environmental responsibilities seriously and were keen to demonstrate that to their customers. Green Small Business certification provided them with an opportunity to do just that.
They took on the preparation of their Green Small Business environmental management system themselves, using the free Green Small Business handbook and the linked ‘Making it Easy’ pack. Their policy and action plans are wide-ranging, covering everything from running their premises and manufacturing processes to staff travel and company administration.
“We think it will give confidence to our customers and potential customers that we take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and that Green Small Business has given us a chance to demonstrate this without going down more cumbersome and resource-heavy routes more suited to larger companies” (Alistair Forbes, Southcombe Brothers Ltd).
We are oh so very excited to announce that LIFT, the London International Festival of Theatre, is the latest organisation to achieve Green Small Business certification.
They might be a ‘small’ team but they deliver one of the most important events in the British arts scene, with an influence that reaches far beyond London. Working with artists from across the world to find new ways of seeing the city, LIFT’s rich and varied programming has presented extraordinary events in both conventional theatres and in more unusual spaces such as disused power stations, churches and canal basins.
LIFT is also committed to promoting environmental sustainability and reducing environmental damage caused by its activities, including through the European network of arts organisations IMAGINE 2020. In the long term it aims to become an exemplar organisation in the cultural sector, leading the way in the fight against climate change. LIFT hosts talks and debates that look at arts and environmental sustainability: The Climate of Theatre (LIFT 2010); Future Festivals (2012); Waving not Drowning (LIFT 2012); and Imagine the Great Transition (2013). The 2014 festival had four shows that explored climate change, one of which ‘Longitude’ explored new models of international collaboration using Google Hangouts, to link performances in London, Barcelona and Lagos in real time.
LIFT also recognises that their work can negatively impact the environment. With the help of Green Small Business, they are actively pursuing ways to reduce these negative impacts, whilst maximising their opportunities to positively impact on the environmental awareness of their audiences.
Green Small Business certification also helps the organisation to meet the requirements of funders, such as the Arts Council, who require environmental policies and procedures. It does so in a way which minimises the administrative burden (critical for a small team with a huge role!) whilst maximising the impact on day-to-day activity. Key to achieving this is having a clear environmental policy and a focused and prioritised Green Small Business action plan.
“Our environmental policy is fairly out-dated and often falls to the wayside. It can be difficult to engage the whole team to consider our environmental impact so the Green Small Business approach will be a huge help by clarifying our priorities and giving us clear short and long term goals”. (Dan Jacques, Finance & Admin Manager, LIFT)
Green Small Business is now live and we have already started preparing low-cost, low-stress environmental management systems for small businesses.
Our mission is simple: To help small businesses and small organisations everywhere to look after the environment and improve their bottom line.
And to celebrate our launch, 5 lucky small businesses will get our full-service development package completely free! This service normally costs GBP499 (plus VAT if in the EU). It involves having an environmental management system developed on your behalf, and you will then be ‘Green Small Business Certified’ for 12 months.
Interested? We’re looking for different types of businesses in different places so if you would like to be considered, please send:
- your name
- company name
- type of business
You can either add this in a comment below, email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on Twitter.
Just be speedy. I’m expecting the 5 places to disappear fast.
If you have any questions about Green Small Business, check out our FAQ.