Nursery sees benefits of green accreditation

Lowaters Nursery in Hampshire says gaining environmental accreditation ISO 14001 has cut costs and will help sell more plants.

Nursery director Charles Carr said: "We are among the first to get accreditation. Though it has taken two years' hard work, the scheme remains a very positive experience for us. It means we have a much stronger environmental story to tell our customers and sell our green credentials. It has also had a really positive impact on costs.

"We're part of a green industry so we all need to do what we can to shout about it. Certification at this level means our customers can be assured that our product has been grown using the most environmentally friendly techniques available."

The project was a part of an HTA pilot scheme, using consultancy White Young Green and funded by Defra via landfill taxes. It included:

- developing a legal register and ensuring compliance;

- setting targets for improvement;

- establishing key environmental impacts and trying to reduce them.

Main achievements included:

- more than 50 per cent reduction in landfill waste through recycling;

- reduction in oil consumption through modernisation of thermostats and installation of an environmental-control computer;

- reduction in electricity consumption through increased awareness;

- better water management by replacing overhead sprinklers with areas of dripper irrigation.

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