How one retailer became a trailblazer in sustainability

04 October 2021, 07:54 AM
  • At the heart of Rhug Estate is Lord Newborough’s commitment to an organic, sustainable lifestyle
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How one retailer became a trailblazer in sustainability

Rhug Estate covers 5,018 hectares of breath-taking scenery across central and coastal areas in north Wales, and sustainability is firmly at the heart of the business’ mission. When Lord Newborough took over the estate management from his father in 1998, it was his vision which shaped a wholly sustainable farming model, which includes high standards of animal welfare, and sustainable use of natural resources.

Lord Newborough said, “I could see the virtues of following an organic lifestyle when it wasn’t very trendy at all. Organic food was extremely difficult to get hold of back in the ‘90s and when I chose to convert the farm to organic I had quite a few raised eyebrows and doubters to deal with.”

Rhug’s organic farm leads the way, with all the animals reared on the farm, fed on feed grown on the farm, and they can range freely onto clover-rich pastures. Rhug Farm is self-contained and a true ‘field-to-plate’ operation applying the highest standard of sustainability. Rhug is renowned for producing the highest quality, award-winning meat: beef, lamb, chickens, venison, geese, and turkeys.

Lord Newborough puts this down to organic farming methods which embrace the highest animal welfare standards; by not using sprays or artificial fertiliser and by not routinely injecting or drenching animals, and handling them all the time, this helps to minimise stress and a happy animal produces the best quality of meat. Organic farming is using the best animal welfare standards being environmentally responsible, caring for our heritage and supporting the local community.

Rhug is sustainable farming at its very best, ensuring a better, healthier world for future generations. The Estate produces its own power through solar, hydro and wind systems to ensure a minimal carbon footprint and a truly sustainable approach to agriculture. The capacity of the renewable energy schemes on the estate ranges from 4KW to 5MW and generated electricity is either used on site or exported to the grid.

Rhug’s Wild Beauty skin care products are bottled and packaged in recyclable materials. The majority of products are produced in glass jars or bottles. Where Rhug has used plastic bottles for select body products, these are made entirely (100%) from Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) plastic.

This is an environmentally friendly alternative that recycles plastic waste that would otherwise find its way into landfill. All mail order delivery boxes are made from 100% recycled cardboard and printed with 100% vegetable inks.

Rhug Estate has also recently invested in measuring and monitoring its carbon footprint so that improvements can be made to make the entire farm business reach the Government’s target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Continuing with its award-winning ways, Rhug Estate was recently announced as one of the first-ever winners of a Net Zero Award in the Medium/Large Business category. Rhug also won a ‘Footprint Award’ for its renewable heat and power generation.

Lord Newborough was thrilled to have been granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment to HRH The Prince of Wales in 2018, for Rhug Organic Farm which incorporates the farm, the wholesale meat business, the cutting plant and the butcher’s counter at Rhug Farm shop. In order to be eligible, the Royal Household expects holders of Royal Warrants of Appointment to have a responsible approach to sustainability issues. Companies should understand the environmental and social impacts of their business activities and to do what they can to manage them including the use of renewable natural resources, extraction of raw materials, supply chain management and traceability, minimising waste, the fair treatment of people and standards of animal welfare.

“I have always maintained a policy to protect and enhance the environment for the next generation,” said Lord Newborough. “Climate change is our biggest threat and we owe it to the next generation to do everything we can to mitigate its effects. At Rhug we really care about sustainability in everything we do, organic farming, organic skin care, green energy and caring for the environment. We are constantly looking at how each aspect of the business can reduce its carbon footprint. Work will never stop on making Rhug as efficient as it possibly can be.”

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