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Our Sustainability Journey

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and we're committed to doing our bit for the planet. We've made some brilliant strides towards where we'd like to be, and we're getting greener, but there are still many fantastic opportunities to improve. Here are a few ways we've improved over the last few years.

PRE 2016
Ongoing

Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

We recycle wherever possible at our nursey and in our warehouse & office space. We’ve even introduced a worm farm to break down our kitchen waste! In 2020, we have also swapped our delivery pots from black to a recyclable grey plastic.

2016
Spring 2016

Net Contributors of Electricity

We decided to invest £200k in solar panels, which now cover our warehouse roof. In addition, we also converted all our office lighting to LED panels, which have a much better energy rating and contribute towards being net contributors of electricity.

Spring 2016

1 Million Seed Packets Saved

We work with our retail seed partners to save the unnecessary destruction of over 1 million seed packets per year through “Partial Returns”. This enables our retail partners to easily manage their stock and meet their environmental responsibilities, with less packets being returned at the end of the season.

2017
Spring 2017

FSC Accredited

We now use FSC certified paper suppliers, where possible, for office supplies and promotional material. In addition, we are constantly looking to introduce more FSC accredited, sustainable products into our range wherever possible.

Autumn 2017

No Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides which are toxic to invertebrates, but also have a negative impact on many other beneficial insects. In Autumn 2017, we stopped the use of all neonicotinoid pesticides at our nursery in Torquay.

2018
Autumn 2018

Bee Friendly Seeds

We introduced a range of seeds which includes varieties which encourage bees and other beneficial insects to visit your garden. The natural behaviours of pollinators and predators will increase your crop productivity and reduce insect pest numbers.

2019
Spring 2019

Peat Free

We’ve switched to a 100% peat-free compost in our own nursery in Devon and are proud to be one of the first commercial growers to have achieved this milestone. This means that next year we’ll be growing close to 1 million plants in peat-free compost.

Summer 2019

Reducing Plastic Waste

We deliver around 1.2 million catalogues per year to our customers, which were traditionally wrapped in single-use plastic. However, we now use paper wraps (or nothing) on our catalogues and use plant-based pillows to protect our products.

2020
Spring 2020

Sustainability Accreditations

We are proud to have achieved The Planet Mark sustainability certification, which recognises continuous improvements, encourages action, and builds an empowered community of like-minded individuals. We are always working towards additional accreditations.

Spring 2020

Reduced Transport Emissions

We now grow over 1 million plants at our nursery in Torquay, which gives us the best possible control over all aspects of our live products. This also greatly reduces our transport emissions by removing many long-distance suppliers.

FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS
Ongoing

Carbon Offset Program

We are introducing a new carbon offset program to further reduce the impact we have on our environment. This program will allow us to invest in environmental projects around the world in order to balance out our carbon footprint.

Peat Free

Why being peat-free matters

Peat has been much used in horticulture because of its ability to hold water and retain nutrients but the extraction of peat has taken its toll.

Peat bogs are very much the unsung heroes of our natural world. They act as a carbon store, which when extracted and broken down in our gardens releases CO2 which could otherwise have been locked up for tens of thousands of years. They’re also a great habitat for wildlife, play an active role in water management, and even preserve things well for archaeology!

However, peat bog mass is being extracted 60 times faster than it’s being laid down… Which is clearly unsustainable.

Suttons home grown plants are 100% peat-free

“We’ve switched to a 100% peat-free compost in our own nursery in Devon and are proud to be one of the first commercial growers to have achieved this milestone. This means that next year we’ll be growing close to 1 million plants in peat-free compost.”

“In addition, we’ve also worked closely with our growing partners to remove peat from all our value and garden ready flower plug plants.”

“So, this year 95% of the compost used to grow our plants will be peat-free and we’re talking to our partners to remove that final 5% as soon as possible.”

David Robinson,
Managing Director, Suttons.

How you can make a difference

You can help by buying peat-free compost for use in your own garden or allotment, and by encouraging retailers and the Government in their efforts to phase out the use of peat in gardening products. The best place to start is with our Grochar seed compost. Grochar was inspired by 2000 -year old Amazonian Indians who used charred plant matter to enrich their soil! This compost is 100% peat free so a great way to instantly positively impact the environment and not compromise on quality. To give you a helping hand, we’ve discounted our peat-free compost by 5% as a thank you for doing your bit. Click here to find out more.

Seeds for Bees

Our Pollinators and Predators collection includes seeds for bees and other beneficial insects. By planting seeds that encourage pollinators such as bees and other insects to your garden, you can gain a tiny gardening team to do your pest control and pollination, all with the added benefit of supporting British native wildlife by providing habits and food sources.

The natural behaviours of pollinators and predators will increase your crop productivity and reduce insect pest numbers. Companion planting was widely used centuries ago in cottage gardens across Britain, but has since declined, along with the numbers of pollinators and predators. This new collection of seeds for bees and other pollinators will help you to encourage biodiversity in your garden or allotment.

You’ll find seeds for bumblebees, honeybees, ladybirds, hoverflies and lace wings, and they all help to do their bit for your garden. Whether you’re keen to support bees, or protect your veg and flowers from pests, our Predators and Pollinators range has a variety that’s beneficial to your ecosystem.

Poly Wraps

To reduce plastic waste, we’ve moved to “naked” or paper wraps on our catalogue mailings. This removes the need for us to enclose our catalogues in plastic wraps – something which, until now, has been necessary to ensure your catalogue arrives undamaged.

We have also committed to using compostable plant-based polymer “pillows” as parcel fillers to ensure the safe transit of our products through the post.

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