Environmental and Social Responsibility Policy
To complement the nature of our products
Peter Beales Roses endeavours to produce its roses using the minimal amount of energy and natural resources, whilst cultivating its roses using traditional and environmentally friendly techniques for the enhancement of gardens and the enjoyment of its customers.
Although the very nature of the business is low on energy use, the use of energy needs to continue to be minimised throughout the business to reduce costs and the environmental impact of the Company.
Heating in offices and workplaces should only be used when occupied during normal working hours and should be turned off when not required. Lighting should also be turned off when not needed, as should computer monitors which should all be set to the energy-saving mode.
The use of company vehicles should be kept to a minimum for only essential journeys and wherever possible combined use planned for maximum efficiency.
Similarly, journeys to and from work necessitating the use of a car should be combined where possible. We are keen to encourage the use of bicycles to get to and from work and are pleased to provide secure and covered parking for bicycles.
Although we are in a fortunate position as far as our usage of energy is concerned, with our current budget projecting only 2% of our total budget expenditure for energy (1.2% for heat and light and 0.8% for vehicle fuel), we will still endeavour to reduce our energy usage by a factor of 5% per annum, by improving the efficiency of our heating and the efficiency of vehicle usage, including the car and van replacement policy, when fuel efficiency will be a key factor in the selection of a new or replacement vehicle.
Water is a valuable and costly resource and although the Company benefits from the use of the installation of water retaining sub capillary beds to irrigate rose stock, it needs to be safeguarded and not wastefully used.
Taps and hose pipes should not be left running but should be immediately turned off when not required for use and irrigation optimised for the most efficient use of water. Irrigation should ideally be run overnight using the time-limited programmable controls to reduce loss from evaporation and transpiration and only ‘topped up’ by watering manually, i.e. directly into the pot for plants that have dried out during hot, dry and sunny conditions.
The use of irrigation sub capillary matting helps to efficiently transfer water to stock and should be watered to saturation and to avoid the loss of surplus water draining off to waste. It is better to programme irrigation for more than one pass rather than a single pass to enable stock to better absorb water and reduce water loss. Sub capillary irrigation matting should be cleaned at least once a year and replaced when worn out to ensure that it is as effective as possible.
Irrigation lines should be drained down and all exposed pipes checked for frost protection to reduce the risk of any fracture which would then subsequently result in a pipe burst and water loss after the growing season and just prior to frost. Any watering required during the winter period will need to be carried out using watering cans.
All pipework and irrigation lines should be checked after winter for any leaks or damage prior to re-connecting the system and checking it for use during the spring and summer. Any leaks or breakages should be isolated and the damage immediately repaired.
Waste water from the treatment plant and surface water directed into the reed pond located within the wildlife and conservation garden will be monitored to identify if expansion of the facility is required.
The use of proprietary compost used for the containerised production of our roses is an area of concern to us due to the continued use of peat by the producer, albeit at a much lower level.
Although peat has been reduced as an ingredient under our instruction, we have still to persuade our supplier to produce a satisfactory compost without any peat as an ingredient.
The company is actively involved in trials for peat free compost with the objective of containerising all rose stock into the successful peat free alternative as soon as possible.
Improvements in its composition have included the use of composted plant waste and bark from an environmentally sustainable resource.
It is our objective to continue to pressurise our supplier to phase out the use of peat as soon as they can produce a commercial product that is effective. Although we are a small commercial user of compost, we continue to communicate this matter to our supplier and have a statement from the producer describing their activities as far as this is concerned.
Whilst a considerable volume of the roses sold are ‘bare root’ which are despatched in the dormant season from October to March in paper sacks, some stock is sold as containerised in plastic pots.
Plastic pots continue to provide the most effective solution to containerising roses and will continue to be used until such time as a more effective solution is commercially available. However, plastic can be a source of waste which takes a very long time to break down and we must therefore ensure that wastage is minimised.
The company are working with other nursery stock producers to move to a more recyclable form of plastic which will replace the traditional black pot as soon as possible.
Any used pots that result from plant losses or from potting on, should be used again either for the containerising of roses or other bare root nursery stock that is procured for sale in the business.
Pots returned by customers will also be reused within the business.
The quality of the stock produced by the Company is to a large extent the result of the use of traditional cultural techniques which rely on the use of skilled labour rather than machinery, even though this may be more cost effective for certain activities.
The use of mechanical aids will continue to be minimised and the use of skilled labour continued for most cultivation including weed control, pruning and lifting. However, under-cutting in October will be one of the only mechanical techniques utilised due to the efficiency of the operation and benefit in reducing transplanting shock after the later operation of stock being manually lifted by hand.
As we rely on skilled labour to carry out the essential plant husbandry activities, we will properly train and reward our skilled staff and will abide by or improve their reward in accordance with or to a higher standard than current legislation.
The Company has an extremely strong view about the misuse of ‘gang labour’ and would never entertain or condone such activity and would not knowingly have any commercial dealings with other members of the Trade who perpetrated such activity.
Pest and Disease Control
The use of pesticides will continue to be kept at a minimum level and as a matter of ‘last resort’ when pests or diseases either cannot be treated by any other means or reach a point when damage to the stock will reach a stage when the plants’ health and quality will be materially damaged and cannot be tolerated.
When pesticides are used, they will be applied according to current legislation by one of our team who holds certification for the safe use of pesticides. The materials will be selected to be the least hazardous approved products and where possible should be of organic origin.
Absolute care should be taken at all times to safeguard wildlife, especially bees, which are particularly sensitive to many materials including some organic products. Wherever possible, no pesticides will be used in the demonstration gardens, as the use of such products in this area are considered to be non-essential and not part of the production process. Furthermore, the presence of water features and other soft landscape features such as hedging are of importance to wildlife which must be safeguarded at all times.
Particular care should be exercised during the application of any pesticide to avoid any spray drift onto other plants or into watercourses.
We will continue to strive to reduce and eventually phase out the use of any pesticides and will continue our work with other companies and outside organisations to replace the use of pesticides with natural products that improve optimum growing conditions to increase plant health and pest and disease resistance. In addition, we will also continue our current activity of researching and promoting the use of natural mycorhizal fungi to promote plant health and pest and disease resistance as well as nutrition, with the objective of marketing a proven product endorsed by the Company.
Furthermore, the use of biological controls will be increased throughout the nursery in addition to the supplement of natural habitats for indigenous predators and parasites. The use of parasitic nematodes for the control of vine weevil is now standard practice and the wildlife garden is being increasingly used as a resource to increase the population of natural predators and parasites such as lacewings and ladybirds with the provision of numerous ‘insect houses’.
Bumble bees and other insects are similarly attracted and supported with the provision of specific proprietary and natural breeding sites.
As part of the process, we will further develop our commercial arrangements with Dragonfli and other similar companies and will promote the active use of biological controls and plant stimulants for garden plants to our visitors including schoolchildren.
Furthermore, one of the criteria of our rose breeding programme will continue to be the plant’s attribute of pest and disease resistance, which will in turn limit the use of future pesticide usage.
The Company will continue to seek to procure as much of its material requirements from local suppliers wherever this is possible to reduce transportation costs and damage to the environment.
Where it is not possible to procure stock from close sources, every attempt should be made to source products as near as possible to the Company.
Furthermore, we will continue to monitor the quality of all materials supplied to our Company to ensure that they are manufactured from recycled products or from certified renewable sources and can in turn be recycled.
Our key suppliers of materials include packaging materials. These are supplied from Lowestoft and Norwich, both within the local region of the Company.
We continue to work closely with the suppliers to ensure that the materials used are both from a renewable source and are recyclable. We will review the statements about the environmental credentials on a regular basis to ensure that they meet the Company’s requirements.
Wherever possible waste will be minimised in the planning of the use of materials and production of our roses.
Where waste occurs, it will continue to be recycled according to the Local Authority’s current policy or within our own resources.
In all internal office procedures, we will continue to drive to reduce the use of paper in all communications and will use technology to communicate and store information electronically.
Where paper documents and packaging are required for the packing and despatch of our plants, this will be sourced locally from suppliers who use recycled products, or products from a certified renewable source which in turn should be recyclable.
Plant and other organic waste will be composted and utilised as garden mulch or land amelioration.
Cardboard and packaging waste will continue to be collected by the contracted recycling supplier through the use of the recycling bin.
The Company will continue to safeguard the protection of endangered species, particularly plants that we can materially and positively protect.
We will never knowingly source or supply products from any company or individual who takes endangered plants from the wild.
Furthermore, we will continue our active support for the NCCPG (National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens) by holding and safeguarding the National Collection for Rosa species.
The recent botanical audit of the site identified areas of the site where notable species were in existence. These areas now form part of the wildlife garden and woodland walk.
We will continue to actively engage with our community and will aim to increase this as the Company further develops. Active links with schools will continue and will be increased to offer the use of the wildlife garden for study and to promote visits to the Company to encourage interest in the cultivation of plants and their benefit to the environment.
The Company actively supports a number of local and national charities and will continue to develop this as a responsible Company offering facilities and material support.
The Company regularly cooperates with regional suppliers of food, plants and crafts to promote ‘East Anglia’s Finest’ in regular events that are organised within the display gardens.
As part of its environmentally proactive credentials, the Company worked with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust to establish the wildlife garden and has promoted membership of the Trust. The use of species roses planted within the wildlife garden has established a useful demonstration area of significant wildlife interest for the attraction of bees and other insects. The Company will continue to strive to increase its activity in the promotion of wildlife conservation and wildlife gardening.
Health and Safety
Regular health and safety inspections and safety audits are undertaken by the Health and Safety Officer in association with a member of staff, including management to ensure that safety is seen as a ‘live’ issue.