Sustainability

Nurturing our environment and yours

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Our sustainability in numbers*/?>

Our sustainability in numbers

SOIL: 9,500 Acres
In the UK we invest in initiatives such as hedgerow planting, cover crops and organic fertiliser to enrich our soil health
WASTE: 2010
Our green energy year zero, we are fully powered by our waste
ENERGY: 2x
We produce more than twice the energy we need from our green factory waste, we sell the surplus to National Grid
WATER: 280K
The number of litres of water we will reuse daily from 2022 for irrigation by capturing and cleaning our waste water through our own water treatment plant
ROAD JOURNEYS REDUCED: 5,000
The number of tractor and lorry journeys we cut out every year by digesting our waste on site

SOIL: Friends of the earth

We farm a lot of land and we are dedicated to looking after every single acre. Integrated crop management techniques, soil health and crop nutrition are at the heart of this commitment.

Cover crops

We keep our soils covered up through the year using cover crops. This natural crop management practice reduces soil erosion, encourages biodiversity, retains nutrients, enhances soil structure, and helps to capture carbon in the soil (carbon sequestration).

Switching to organic fertiliser

Our anaerobic digestion plant not only provides us with energy and heat, but also provides us with a large proportion of our fertiliser requirement. The ‘digestate’ that comes out of the AD plant is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, together with lots of micro nutrients. It’s also organic. Using digestate produced from waste sweetcorn husks, allows us to grow more sweetcorn using less conventional fertiliser.

Custodians of nature

“The quality of the soil and the biodiversity balance mean everything when producing healthy crops. To farm successfully, you need to be a custodian of nature.”

Peter Barfoot, CBE (Services to Sustainable Farming)

WASTE: Reducing, reusing and recycling

Our waste does not go to waste. In fact, our waste powers our farms and offices. We turn every last bit of it into green energy using our anaerobic digesters. As a result, we have been a carbon-neutral business since 2010.

Reducing food waste

We contribute to a number of schemes to relieve food poverty and reduce food waste. Our partner charities, which include FareShare and UKHarvest, collect surplus good-quality food, including ‘wonky veg’, and distribute it to those in need. Through FareShare alone, as of March ’23 we have donated over 550 tonnes of vegetables that would otherwise have gone to waste. This is equal to more than 1.3m nutrient-rich meals.

Relieving food poverty

“If we can provide those who are less fortunate than most with the opportunity to eat our vegetables, then donating our surplus produce is simply the right thing to do.” Keston Williams, Chief Operations Officer

ENERGY: Generating green power

We need a lot of energy to power our business and we produce it all ourselves. Everything we do is fuelled by green energy. We are self-sufficient, thanks to our investment in sustainable waste management. Anaerobic digestion is at the heart of this commitment. In fact, we produce much more energy than we need for our factories and fields. We are a net exporter, selling our surplus back to National Grid. Watch our film on how our anaerobic digestors work.

As our business has grown, so has our dedication to sustainable energy. We continue to explore ways to reduce our carbon footprint, investing in technology such as photovoltaic cells, LED lighting, and artificial fertiliser replacement.

WATER: Safeguarding a vital resource

Water is a precious commodity that we have a duty to protect and use responsibly. It gives life to the crops that sustain our business and to the people and communities that are part of what we do.

To this end, we are committed to sustainable water use and ensuring high standards of water management in the areas where we farm.

 

Water Treatment Plant

Our new water treatment facility cleans and converts all our factory waste water into irrigation water for our crops. Currently it can treat 300 cubic meters a day, enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool in a week.

The water treatment plant adds further to Barfoots’ sustainability credentials, demonstrating how we continue to lead the way.

Alliance for Water Stewardship

Along with a number of high-profile partners, including Marks & Spencer, Coop, DanPer and SGS, we are involved in the development of a water stewardship standard for the Peruvian asparagus industry.

The aim of the initiative is to address shared water challenges and bring issues to the attention of national-level stakeholders, with the purpose of creating benefits for local communities, growers and retailers.