CARBON & ENERGY
The biggest driver of climate change is the carbon and other greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere as a result of human activity. Organisations urgently need to assess, understand and act on their carbon footprint to reduce their levels of these emissions. In 2021 we carried out our first comprehensive carbon footprint to gain a detailed understanding of where our main climate impacts are both in our business and across our supply chain.
Our long-term commitment to generating our own renewable energy means that our carbon emissions resulting from energy and fuel consumption are relatively small – just 7% of our overall carbon footprint. The majority of our footprint comes from our supply chain: food and non-food products, such as cleaning products and homeware. However, although we produce carbon, the regenerative principles we follow as a business mean that we also capture it in our soils, woodlands, hedgerows and through other conservation practices across our farm. To calculate our overall carbon balance and understand our footprint, we are in the process of measuring the amount of carbon we capture across the farm.
Managing our energy resources plays a fundamental role in helping us to reduce our carbon footprint. We generate what energy we can on site through 2,000 solar panels and a biomass boiler – and are moving all our other energy contracts to 100% renewable energy sources. We’re upgrading our facilities with energy-saving technologies including LEDs and sensor lighting, we capture lost heat wherever possible, such as from the back of our production unit fridges, and are also investing in innovative technology to capture and use energy in new ways.
Reducing (or where possible eliminating) waste is one of the most immediate tools we have at our disposal – as individuals and businesses – to change our behaviours and take action on climate change. This couldn’t be more true of the global food system: 34% of global emissions are generated by the food system (of which 14% come from farming) and yet a third of the food we produce is currently wasted or thrown away. We follow circular economy principles, valuing our resources and seeking to avoid wasting anything.
We have a zero food waste policy. No edible food is thrown away. Food scraps from our kitchens and cafés are composted or sent for anaerobic digestion and turned into renewable energy and fertiliser; we exploit the value of any potential waste by repurposing it: nutritious ferments are produced from surplus vegetables and the bones from our animal carcasses become stocks and broths. We have a zero waste pantry section of our farmshop where customers can fill reusable containers with common store cupboard items, from grains and pulses to honey and olive oil and home cleaning products, thereby shopping for what they need and avoiding the use of any unnecessary packaging. We also have a long-standing partnership with The Felix Project which restributes leftover food to charities where it is turned into meals, along with other food waste prevention charities and organisations, including Too Good to Go, City Harvest and Olio.
We find solutions for less common waste: wine corks go to Recorked; electronic waste and old IT equipment go to Camara; ash produced from our biomass boiler is returned to the soil; and any other non-food waste we do produce is reused, recycled or recovered as energy through incineration.
PLASTICS & PACKAGING
Our philosophy on packaging is simple: to package only where necessary, and to be transparent with our packaging choices, helping our customers to understand their true impact and to deal with the packaging they’re left with in the most sustainable way possible.
Packaging decisions are a balance but ours will always be evidence-based. Even if a form of packaging is made of something that is perceived to be a sustainable material, it may not always be the option with the least environmental impact. We look at the big picture, assessing a piece of packaging’s overall lifecycle and impact. We ask the questions that matter: is it made from a natural materials; is it lightweight; does it reduce food waste and can the item be recycled? It is an assessment of these factors that determine what packaging best suits its purpose and how it is going to have minimal impact on our environment.
We will only claim something is recyclable if it can easily be recycled in your curbside collection, which is why we often go for packaging with the widest recycling viability, such as plastic and glass, as we know that it will actually end up being segregated, collected and recycled. Much of the claims made around packaging described as ‘compostable’, for example, are misleading. In the UK the infrastructure does not yet widely exist to effectively compost this packaging and much of it is removed at facilities that can’t yet distinguish it from plastic.
If it doesn’t need packaging, we don’t package it. For certain products we believe we can create attractive containers that you will want to keep, collect and reuse again. Our Kilner jars will become useful collectables for your kitchen.
We often get asked about plastic. The truth is that it’s difficult for the world to do without it. Plastic is a useful material but many of the properties that make it so benefical are also what make it such a problem. It preserves food and is lightweight and flexible, but it is derived from finite resources and doesn’t break down so we need to reduce our reliance on virgin plastics. The best thing we can do with plastic is to keep it out of our environment by recycling the plastic we already have and ensuring no more of it is produced. Our policy at Daylesford is to minimise our use of plastic packaging; to ensure that as much of the plastic we do use is made from recycled plastic and can be easily recycled.
Beyond the boundaries of what we produce on our farm, we’re proud to work with like-minded suppliers who share our commitment to quality and sustainability and can trace the provenance of their supply chain and account for its social and environmental impact.
We collaborate with makers who uphold craft-led, artisanal ways of working, valuing their skills, heritage and tradition. Each potential new supplier must meet our rigorous criteria, ranging from being organic and seasonally focused, to demonstrating evidence of ethical and sustainable provenance and practices, such as producing with minimal waste and high welfare standards. We source locally wherever possible.
Some of the people we’re proud to partner with include: Bristol-based Extract Coffee Roasters, which sources Daylesford’s coffee beans from sustainable farms around the world. They build long-term partnerships with farmers to provide a reliable income, while empowering them to invest in sustainable agriculture practices, nurture the land and enrich their local communities. Extract also works with local and national charities, supporting community projects across the UK.
We first started working with the London Honey Company around 15 years ago, initially stocking their innovative London Honey, produced by urban beekeeping on city rooftops near Tower Bridge. Now their team keeps some beehives on our farm and helps us create our Daylesford Estate Honey. The London Honey Co is passionate about ‘slow beekeeping’ methods.
Shipton Mill’s sacks of organic stoneground flour have been arriving at our bakery and patisserie for 20 years. Based in the Cotswold village of Tetbury, just a few miles from Daylesford, Shipton Mill is certified by the Soil Association and shares our values of looking after the soil and encouraging biodiversity.
Nila in Jaipur is a non-profit initiative dedicated to celebrating and preserving India’s rich heritage of traditional crafts, particularly the natural dye and handloom traditions. It was founded by Carole Bamford with the aim of supporting artisan communities across India, providing livelihood opportunities for women through craft, reviving, preserving and strengthening ecologically-sensitive endangered crafts and promoting their use through sustainable design. Nila creates beautiful hand-crafted homewares for Daylesford – hand-painted plates, block-printed textiles and other hand linens and rugs using traditional handicraft techniques, such as shibori dyeing.