Environment & Sustainability
We do the right thing for plants, the planet and people.
We’re not perfect yet…. but we’re improving all the time.
For over 85 years, Squire’s has helped people grow beautiful gardens, and enjoy their leisure time. Our stated purpose is to help people relax and live happier lives. We’re passionate about the good that domestic horticulture can bring to individuals, families and wider society.
In recent years, many of our customers, including my own family, have developed a sense of urgency about environmental matters, not least the threat from climate change. The conclusion is that we must do more to ensure environmental sustainability of our business.
Since 2020 we have been a member of Planet Mark, an organisation that helps to measure our carbon footprint. Over the coming years we will take action on many fronts, including tackling our business emissions and helping our customers reduce theirs by expanding our choice of lower carbon products. In each of the last four years, we have reduced our total carbon emissions, and these results have been certified.
In 2020, we appointed our first ever Sustainability Manager. We have also created a Squire’s community of Sustainability Champions across all our centres who work to unlock potential at local level, helping to drive behavioural change for our teams and customers and identifying workable solutions. They share experiences and monitor progress committed to creating a better future for our business.
We seek to inspire our customers to take care of their green spaces, respecting and enhancing both the environment and the wildlife in their gardens.
Reducing plant and product miles by
Working with Local Nurseries & Producers
At least 85% of the plants we sell are UK grown. Many of our plants come from very close to home in Surrey, Hampshire and Sussex and some are grown on our sites at West Horsley and Chertsey, significantly limiting plant miles.
Aquisition of Barnsfold Nurseries
In 2022 we bought the thriving Barnsfold Nurseries. Based in West Sussex, their 8 locations grow many of our bedding plants such as begonias, cosmos, erysimums, ostespermums, primroses and ranunculas. The nurseries have also adopted a number of environmental practices including the introduction of solar panels, biomass boilers, harvesting of rainwater, recycling plant pots and working towards becoming wholly peat free by 2024.
It is not just in plants, we are actively looking for local suppliers, and we are delighted to be involved with Surrey Hills Enterprises. This is a membership organisation committed to supporting local businesses and promoting sustainable business practices.
Working with our suppliers supporting the use of
Sustainable Raw Materials
We maintain a strong emphasis on ethical sourcing, ensuring all our products are being obtained responsibly. We are currently working on initiatives around Peat, Timber and Chemical content.
We recognise the need to protect all peatlands. We stopped selling bales containing 100% moss peat over a decade ago. Our own brand 100% peat free multi-purpose compost is now on sale in all our centres and we no longer buy any bagged compost containing peat from our suppliers.
Squire’s understands the importance of protecting endangered rainforests and from 2019 has protected 2 acres of rainforest with the Charity Cool Earth. We are committed to make sure all our timber products and packaging come from the most sustainable sources, and we only purchase with accreditation from sustainably managed forests, including FSC, TFT, FLEGT and SGS.
We recognise the biodiversity and health risks that the over use, or incorrect use, of pesticides can bring. We are working with nurseries to reduce pesticide use where possible, working towards an expanded chemical free plant range available in our centres by 2024. We will cease the sale of all products containing neonicotinoids and glyphosate during 2022 and will offer organic alternatives in all categories of chemicals and fertilisers where they are available and where we are confident that they produce good results.
Setting new standards for domestic
We want to have a positive environmental impact on our customers by educating and coaching how to garden sustainably. We continue to increase our product portfolio of good quality natural products and environmentally sustainable, lower carbon products. We offer wider services beyond retailing to help lessen our customers carbon footprint.
Despite the challenges we face with differing buildings we are committed to take decisive action to reduce the climate change impact our operations have on the environment. We have undertaken a significant energy efficiency/carbon reduction programme, where all our buildings have been audited for energy consumption and condition. This has identified a number of measures to help to drive down our current energy consumption.
Energy saving measures are now a key consideration as part of any major store refurbishment. We continue to upgrade all centres from conventional lighting to the latest generation LED and we only purchase 100% renewable electricity for our buildings.
Investments are being made to upgrade end of life building systems to greener high efficiency lower emission replacements. We are actively investigating various methods of renewable energy generation across our estate after a successful pilot of Solar PV at one of our sites.
Improving the efficiency of our water consumption is a priority and we are working with experts to explore viable water saving initiatives. Some centres already harvest rainwater. We have introduced a new flood benches in our plant areas, a much more efficient and less wasteful way of watering than traditional overhead irrigation whilst keeping the plants in better condition.
We continue to renew our existing fleet with more fuel-efficient models.
During the summer of 2023, three new electric delivery vehicles were introduced, providing a zero emission home delivery service for customers living in the Twickenham, Stanmore and Long Ditton areas.
Three further e-vehicles are planned to join our fleet during 2024.
Electric Charging Points
We have 14 customer electric car charging points available across 7 of our centres, with more to follow.
Doing What We Can to
Reduce Physical Waste
Our approach is to reduce the amount of physical waste through our operations and sale of goods. We are working to ensure that more packaging is recycled, recyclable and reusable.
‘Reuse and Recycle’ Bin Stations
We have introduced ‘Reuse and Recycle’ bins at all our centres, enabling customers to easily recycle plastic pots, trays and compost bags. Working closely with one of the UK’s leading recycling providers, each of our centres prepares the waste from the three recycling bins for collection. This material is then 100% UK recycled in the most appropriate and efficient way with nothing going to landfill, prepared ready for re-manufacturing into new everyday items.
Compostable Bags and Boot Liners
Our home compostable bags and boot liners have replaced the biodegradable bags, for easier composting. Made from vegetable starch, the bags and liners can be added to garden or food compost bins to break down. In addition, a re-usable 100% natural cotton bag for life is available for purchase, encouraging customers to return using their own handy shopping bag. Charitable donations will be made from both the sale of the recyclable carrier bags and cotton bags for life.
Gift wrap with sustainably sourced raffia and plant sleeves are available in all centres.
Gardening is a proven way to help improve the mind and body and being outside. Reconnecting with nature is often a route to becoming more aware of the problem of climate change. Our Café Bars offer healthy light snacks and low fat or fat free products and we endeavour to cater for all food allergens and preferences.
Local Communities & Charities
We are active supporters of our local communities, working with many local charities, schools and other organisations that encourage initiatives to get everyone gardening. In addition, each of our centres supports a chosen local charity, raising funds through a variety of charity events. We are long standing supporters of a number of local Britain in Bloom initiatives.