"We're in business to make a profit," he said. "I make no apologies for that. But doing the right thing needn't cost the earth. I like (Wyevale sustainability director) Alan Knight's commercial sense and knowledge of the issues. We want to do the right thing. This plan (Apple) needs to move from a Alan Knight plan to a Wyevale plan. It's got to be something we believe in. Garden centres should be taking the lead in these issues because we're in the right business."
New chief executive Andrew Livingston said 85 per cent of Wyevale's plants are grown in British nurseries, there has been 30 per cent year-on-year growth in its wild-bird-care and fruit and vegetable plant sales and that sales of locally sourced food in its restaurants were booming.
"Even though retailers are being hit by the economic downturn I don't see a reason to slow down this programme. It has strong commercial credentials. When the economic upturn comes we'll be on top of the issues," he said.