We believe very strongly in business being fair and environmentally sound. Having worked in the environment and development for many years, we know how easy that is to say, but how complex and difficult it is to achieve. We feel that our best strategy to achieve this is to be informed and as we hope for transparency in the industry supply chains, so we should be equally open with information about our own business.
There are a range of questions that we ask whenever we make a decision:
- Is it Fairtrade? If not, can we assess ourselves how ‘ethical’ we think the company is?
- Is it locally available? Our preference is to use local businesses as much as possible for sourcing ingredients. This includes the boxes, which are made by Blue Box Design, in Stirling
- Is it organic?
- What is the impact on the environment?
We tend to be pragmatic about our sourcing though: we weigh up the above factors and make a decision taking all these into consideration. Suppliers are sourcing more and more ingredients with these factors in mind and so what we may not be able to source now, might well be available next year and so we are constantly reviewing these choices.
As a household we endeavour to keep our carbon footprint low. For the business there are a number of ways that we do this:
- our house is naturally cool, and so even in summer the workshop does not have to be kept cool by air conditioning. In winter, it can get too cold to work chocolate and might need some additional heating
- using Royal Mail to deliver the chocolates; apart from a few delays, on the whole the Royal Mail has efficiently delivered the chocolates around the UK and other mail services have delivered them further a field. The Mail seems a very sound green way of getting small goods around the country
- when gathering herbs and blossoms from the wild, we are careful to ensure that we are only taking a small amount from any one place; we are very careful about avoiding damage to the plants as we pick. We are members of the Scottish Wild Harvests Association (www.scottishwildharvests.org.uk )
- we try and minimise waste as much as possible. For example, there is quite a lot of chocolate ‘excess’ whenever we mould the chocolates; we use this to make brownies, or to sell on as cooking chocolate
- we compost organic waste
- we recycle as much packaging as we can