There are so many ways to address even a small business’ impact on the planet, and it has become easier to do so over the years that we have been in business. We like to think we are an ‘eco business’, we can’t exactly quantify it. Not by fancy carbon footprint calculations, but we’re doing our best.
In the very beginning we always wanted to have as little impact on the environment as possible. We wanted it all to be simple and natural. Even with the ideal site with barns that have been in situ for hundreds of years, there had to be a trade-off between what we thought was right ecologically and what the legislation needed us to comply with. We appreciate that the legislation is there for a reason and with food it’s important to do what is right, it gives peace of mind for us and our customers.
We had to make a food safe room using plasterboard, washable paint and floor paint. We feel we traded it off though by recycling some kitchen units and availing ourselves of acrylic sheet off-cuts that were going to be taken to the tip.
Electricity is essential, how could we operate without it! That said this is one area where it is so much easier to mitigate. Whether it is buying electricity from a green supplier or generating your own. We have many solar panels that more than outweigh our small electric usage. The fact that the panels last for over 25 years is also reassuring given the cost to the planet of producing them.
Once a rose is planted it will live for years, the oldest living rose is believed to be in Germany and is over 1,000 years old. So it’s very pleasing to know that we are not going to be disturbing the soil and all its inhabitants now that they have settled in. Not using pesticides or herbicides is a given for us and luckily we don’t have issues with noise pollution (unless you count the baa of sheep) as bio-diversity has recently been show to be greatly affected by it. Not using petrol driven machinery helps and letting the natural habitat thrive beside our own plants also supports the bees and insects that rely on them. The bees don’t particularly like our strongly fragrant roses, but they love the other roses we grow to keep them happy and we now have a beehive in our garden.
When we first started it was difficult to get ecologically sound packaging and now it’s everywhere – no excuses. With all of the improvements being made in this area, it’s important not to get complacent, so a regular review of our suppliers and their eco credentials is important to us.
We have had lots of customers who have commented on how pleased they are to see that we don’t provide outer packaging as standard – having gift packaging as an outer gives our customers the opportunity to opt in rather than wish they were opting out.
Re-cycle, re-purpose, use-up!
The rose residue from distilling makes a fantastic mulch and we do like to use local well-rotted manure as well. The small amount of waste material we produce is either composted, reused, recycled or re-purposed, leaving a tiny amount of actual waste.
It’s a balancing act between commerce and conscience. What tips the balance to conscience? We do feel that we are in a mutually beneficial relationship with our roses and the environment they are in. Producing rose water in an ethical way allows the rose to share it’s energy far and wide.
Denise and Desdemona