Over the last twelve months the management team at Barcham has set itself the aim of ISO14001 accreditation. We have looked at all levels within our business in terms of environmental aspects and impacts and set ourselves rigorous objectives and targets such as increasing our recycling levels and reducing the use of peat. We have looked at the business in its entirety, rather than just scope the parts of our operations that we can take an easy win from. Even our coffee machine came under scrutiny and is a good example of the environmental con that we are all living through. Every day we were feeling very cosy about disposing our coffee cups into the recycling thinking we were doing the right thing but it turns out that these ‘may be recycled’ items could not be recycled at all, certainly not in the UK anyway. So we ditched the machine for a traditional china cup option that can be washed up in perpetuity. The irony is that the machine that supplies these delivers a far superior coffee and even the pods that feed it are recycled.
But this is the way of it. The more we looked into it, the more savings we made in both economic and environmental terms. This standard has also brought the business closer together. Everyone has been involved and communication within the business has become so much more inclusive and worthwhile. Suggestions for improvement are no longer forgotten with time but are logged instead and fully discussed each month to assess. We collectively decided that we can do the right thing environmentally for our 200 acre business and if we choose to take this home to our private lives so much the better.
Our eyes have been well and truly opened. Retail outlets displaying recycling logos on their packaging are invariably misleading. It is trendy to appear environmental but the greening up of businesses still has a heavy pinch of corporate greed rather than doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing.
As far as we are aware Barcham is the only wholesale tree grower that has achieved ISO14001. We have incorporated our biosecurity policy and procedures into the standard and hope others will follow our lead on this.
ISO14001 is exacting and daunting in the first instance. It can give management teams palpitations in terms of perceived financial outlay to achieve. However it represents a cultural shift within a business and delivers very good value for money if embraced wholeheartedly.
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