Being proud of clearing a large fir forest is not a claim you would expect from a company that cares about the environment. Yet that is exactly what is happening in the depths of the West Wales countryside.
Ty Nat Spring Water took the decision to fell the forest of evergreen conifers covering 200 acres around its plant. Far from being destructive this is an example of sustainability in action. The company, which for over 20 years has enjoyed an unrivalled reputation for environmental excellence, purchased the forest a few years ago with the express intention of replacing these trees with more environmentally-friendly broad leafed trees in order to improve still further the ecology of the land.
The ambitious scheme began in 2009 and the planting of the replacement native trees is being undertaken throughout 2010. The fir forests you see covering the countryside in Wales is not a natural part of the environment as they are planted intensively specifically to provide a wood crop. Apart from absorbing greenhouse gases, they do not really benefit the environment inthe fullest sense as wildlife and other plants cannot flourish due to lack of light and the acidic nature of the trees. The trees in this forest had reached the end of their natural lives and so were ready to be removed which created an ideal opportunity for Ty Nant to really make a difference.
The mix of broadleaf trees that Ty Nant is planting will encourage local wildlife to move into the area by providing a habitat for native animals and insects whilst improving the environment by pulling in CO2 from the atmosphere.
The scheme will also enhance still further the Soil Association accredited organic land from which the firm draws its world-famous Ty Nant Natural Mineral Water, Tau Spring Water and its recently launched Seren Spring Water, which is exclusively for the foodservice sector.
Ty Nant has instructed that the replanting will have a density of around 1600 saplings per hectare with the new trees, all indigenous mixed broadleaves, including: Sessile Oak, Rowan, Alder, Downy Birch, Woody Shrubs, Sweet chestnut plus a mixed orchard of indigenous, traditional Fruit Trees to attract bees and other insects.
Ty Nant Spring Water Ltd, based in West Wales, has always been environmentally conscious. General Manager for Sales & Marketing at the firm, David Relph, comments: It makes good business sense to care for your surroundings. For example, protecting the land from which our water is drawn ensures the land is unpolluted enabling us to produce great water for years to come the most important aspect for us, as the business is dependent on water that is naturally clean.
Ty Nant also pays heed to energy savings (reduced by over 50% - a huge saving), recycling, land management (with our massive tree replanting programme), savings in plastics and print, plus receiving Soil Association accreditation for the land. These are just some examples of the companys green credentials. All these aspects of the business are intrinsic to our continuing success in tough economic times.
Despite the prevailing economic conditions, the company has even launched a new brand Seren Spring Water within the past year. Seren, designed for the foodservice sector, is being taken up by those restaurateurs and hoteliers who are keen on an ethical yet stylish brand as well as a great-tasting water.
Relph adds: Through our programme of continuous improvement, both of the land and environmental credentials and also due to our portfolio offering appealing to every aspect of the foodservice sector, we are helping to ensure that the jobs we provide in a remote rural community are protected at the same time as protecting the land which provides our livelihood. We are deeply conscious of the fact that the land is in trust to those of us in charge of the firm now so that future generations will enjoy the spoils of what we do here and not suffer any consequences.
Commenting on the launch of Seren as well as the reputation of Ty Nant and Tau Spring Water, he adds: In recent years caring for the environment has moved to near the top of many agendas and has become an important consideration for which brands to stock. For us, it has always been vital. For this reason, Ty Nant invested heavily so that it can blow its own PET bottles on site with the result that this eliminates the need for lorries to transport bottles to the site so keeping 12 lorries off the road by having just one lorry delivering 750,000 pre-forms. All packaging is recyclable and in addition to the extensive land management Ty Nant also heeds what goes on inside its buildings too, having achieved significant energy reductions in recent years.
Ty Nants corporate social responsibility has breadth as well as depth. As part of the Environment Management System, all staff take part in an environmental awareness course and are encouraged to suggest further improvements whilst key personnel undergo IEMA auditing training or attended an EMS auditing workshop. In addition the firms major suppliers are scrutinised for their environmental policy, a commitment made as part of Ty Nants ISO14001 accreditation process.
British bottled water producers all have something in common - they act as stewards of the land, protecting the land and water source so it remains naturally free from pollutants. This progressive land management means that bottled water has a positive environmental force and is one of the aspects which most puzzles those in the industry when confronted by a frequent barrage of criticism. This must after all be one of the most environmentally sound industries in the UK.
Near neighbours, Llanllyr Source, the first Welsh water to be drawn from Soil Association accredited land, are also justly proud of their eco-credentials and feel that it is this which helps give the water an edge amongst foodservice sector customers.
Managing Director, Patrick Gee, says: Our water sources are totally sustainable; more water is being replenished than is ever taken out. In addition we have worked to improve our packaging from an environmental standpoint. We have reduced our glass weight by 17%; we use 28% recycled glass in all our bottles; and our outer cartons are made using 78% recycled material and are totally compostable. Unusually in the bottled water industry, Llanllyr Source also produces canned water using material that is 50% recycled material to produce packaging that is 100% recyclable. The firm is based on farmland and holds membership of Organic Farmers and Growers.