and Drink Case Studies
Loch Fyne is known for its line of quality fish and meat products
across the UK through its food distribution business and over 20
restaurants. Engaging 120 employees, who also jointly own the company,
Loch Fyne Oysters has strived to build not only a sustainable business
but also a thriving local community and economy.
The company is guided by a philosophy incorporating Total Sustainability
into its business. This translates into discrete marketing, delivering
quality products, investing in employee development and also to
minimising environmental impact. To implement its policy, Loch Fyne
Oysters has set itself a target to be at least ‘neutral’
in terms of its net environmental effects by 2005, and to strive
to make a positive contribution towards biodiversity and the environment.
The effects of the farming practices of Loch Fyne Oysters have
been studied by Stirling University and findings are confirming
an increase in biodiversity in both the mussel and oyster fisheries
(which are attracting butterfish, shrimp, and eels). Unlike fish,
oysters and mussels are filter feeders, leaving no residues on the
sea floor and actually attracting a wide range of fish.
Other fish sold by Loch Fyne is purchased from sustainable sources.
Local langoustines are creel caught, with no sea-bed damage or by-catch.
Salmon is bought in from sources accredited by the RSPCA’s
‘Freedom Foods’ organisation.
Loch Fyne has been expanding its business to include meat and game
and other food products from Argyll. Building on its strategy of
engaging with suppliers, a network of over 50 suppliers has been
set up, within the Argyll zone, developing a market for these local
businesses as well as working together to improve sustainable farming
The company operates only one car and one delivery lorry and to
offset its carbon emissions, the company is contributing funds to
a woodland regeneration scheme behind its restaurant and shop on
Loch Fyne. It has applied to receive its electricity supply from
an Argyll wind-farm development and is embarking on the ISO 14001
Environmental Management System certification.
For Loch Fyne Oysters their approach makes business sense. In all
its activities, there is a gain not only for the environment, economy
or society, but also for the company itself. Demonstrating that
the company’s views are not maverick but mainstream, addressing
customer needs and providing good quality products, the business
has created a market niche for itself. Through developing careful
relationships with suppliers, the company is helping to meet its
procurement needs – and market demand – while providing
an incentive to local farmers to run sustainable businesses themselves.
Analysis shows that this sustainable approach is actually reducing
direct costs and overheads.
Diageo is committed to being a good corporate citizen and has a
history of supporting environmental projects. The Diageo environmental
policy commits the company, among other things, to manage its global
operations in a way that supports biodiversity, and to educate and
motivate employees to conduct activities in an environmentally responsible
manner. The policy is backed up by a set of environmental ‘standards’
which each business area is required to meet through their environmental
management system. These standards are an integral part of the company’s
risk management framework and are subject to an assurance process.
The company is in the process of developing a standard on biodiversity,
which will enable different parts of the company to develop and
manage biodiversity activities which are relevant to their business
operations and their local area.
Diageo has a history of environmental action and awareness through
employee involvement. In 2002 the company launched an employee programme
Institute (Europe). This programme, now in its second year,
enables 15 Diageo employees each year - from all levels and all
operations - to participate in an international Earthwatch biodiversity
conservation project. Upon their return to their home countries,
the employees act as environmental champions and develop conservation
projects at their workplace, involving their colleagues in important
local issues, and sharing their Earthwatch experience as widely
Loch Duart Ltd is a fish farming company with 30 employees exporting
to 7 countries. In addition to meeting minimum regulatory requirements,
it has an Environmental Policy which states its commitment to the
Loch Duart ‘best practice’ principles help the company
to implement its environmental policy and carry out production methods
which are beneficial to biodiversity. These practices include:
• A year-long fallowing policy which maximises the health
and welfare of the fish and minimises environmental impact.
• Significantly lower stocking densities than current industry
standards and specifications.
• A feeding regime mimicking the irregular ‘natural’
feeding of fish, allowing for periods of rest and thus reducing
• No growth promoters, antibiotics or net anti-foulant agents
• All feed comes from sustainable non-GM sources
• All stock is traceable to eggs and forebears.
The production method at Loch Duart is based on two hatcheries
in three sea lochs, leaving one fallow each year. As in traditional
rotation in land farming, one full year allows natural cleansing
In order to gain brand recognition, Loch Duart decided to pursue
certification. It chose the RSPCA’s Freedom Food welfare scheme
which it helped to develop and which covers all aspects of salmon
rearing. It is also a member of Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS) and
has won has an award in the Marine Innovation Category of the Highland
Biodiversity Project awards. In addition it has recently become
ISO 14001 certified.
Compliance with regulations, standards and certification schemes
takes time and effort, requiring patience and dedication to write
and rewrite policies and practices. At Loch Duart, this investment
is tied in closely with the company’s marketing strategy,
which aims to build a strong brand image and develop ways of securing
Investing in sustainability and raising brand and marketing awareness
for their salmon helps Loch Duart to sell to specific markets in
the UK and overseas. Ultimately the measure of sustainability for
the company is whether it will be around in one hundred years, and
that depends on safeguarding not only short-term profits, but also
the survival of natural resources.
Mackie’s is a Dairy farm, ice-cream manufacturer and distributor
with 70 members of staff. The business is a true ‘plough to
plate’ operation producing the majority of the milk and cream
used in the production process.
Mackie’s are committed to pursuing an environmental policy
alongside innovation in technology. The farm’s work on conservation
started with the desire to enhance the countryside. Alongside the
business plan, the company is currently writing an Environmental
Management System which will build on biodiversity activities to
date to achieve its environmental policy’s objectives.
Mackie’s controls all stages of its food production chain
– from growing fodder through to harvest, production of cow
feed, milking and the dairy process. The 2,000 acre farm grows grass
and cereals, most of which are processed to feed the herd of milking
cows. The landscape is managed to provide habitats for wildlife,
encourage native species, and provide the community with accessible
paths through the countryside. Specific projects and practices include:
• Planting 120 acres of deciduous trees
• Sowing grass strips around fields to create wildlife corridors
linking areas of woodland.
• Creating wetland areas and a pond to encourage diverse wildlife
• Practicing minimum tillage
• Composting and using compost over a period of 12 months,
helping reduce nitrate leaching and increase invertebrate populations
• Nutrient budgeting and careful analysis of muck and slurry
application to the fields
• Avoiding any spraying of field edges
• Employing a ‘Pest Damage Tolerance’ policy which
recognises that some pest damage to crops is inevitable and acceptable,
so long as it is under control
There have been visible benefits from these practices, not only
to biodiversity but to the farming side of the business too. Grass
margins have shown to be beneficial to invertebrates, hares, deer
and rabbits and they also help to control pests, which appear to
prefer the grass verges to crops! Grass margins also reduce nitrate
The company’s countryside management record is important
in running the marketing side of the business with the farm production
process as the real selling point for the company.
Increases to the company’s bottom line show the financial
benefits of Mackie’s biodiversity oriented work. There have
been other benefits too, such as noticeable changes in employee
attitudes towards wildlife and habitats and the positive publicity
in the local community through improving the landscape.
Photo Credit:Will Peskett/Diageo
Loch Fyne, Loch Fyne Ltd
Loch Duart, Jo Zaremba
Mackies Harvesting, Mackies Ice-cream