Clough Bottom and Our Corporate Social Responsibility
While the businesses that operate from Clough Bottom are varied and diverse, one thing they all have in common is a well-defined Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) framework at their core. From our suppliers to our employees, from the local business community to the environment, everything we do relies on a socially responsible attitude. With increasing emphasis being placed on CSR it is our approach and understanding of CSR in action that is becoming of interest to other individuals, groups and companies, with Clough Bottom being used as a case study to hightlight how others can exploit the benefits of CSR.
Living and Breathing our Core Values...
When our business started over 20 years ago, there were no other businesses doing what we were doing. We have implemented CSR across each of our businesses not just because it is 'politically correct' but because it is who we are. We haven't changed the way we do things over the years because we have grown organically, yet we know that for most businesses thinking about implementing a CSR strategy, this isn't as straightforward. So if you're thinking about what impact CSR might have to your business and how best to implement it, you might want to have a closer look at Clough Bottom.
Clough Bottom - CSR in Action
Here are some examples of our CSR practices:
- We purchase our eco-friendly cleaning products from an ethical online supermarket that specialises in environmentally-sound products. They also care about conserving the planet and lowering levels of pullution and this is important to us. We buy these items in bulk to reduce mileage, pollution and energy wasted in deliveries.
- We buy Fair Trade tea and coffee for our cottage guests because we need to be accountable and fair in dealing with producers in developing countries.
- Our breakfast hampers and home-made ready meals use locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients that we buy from local supplliers and growers because it is important we support our local business neighbours.
- We have a strong commitment to waste management and waste reduction - our cottages all have recycling bins and we encourage our guests to use our recycling barn.
- We use recycled toilet rolls and paper and minimise our paper output by e-mailing booking forms to guests.
- We only use low energy light bulbs.
- In 2006 we installed a borehole which we currently use for irrigation and for the livestock. Soon this will feed the entire site.
- In 2009 we purchased a bio-diesel manufacturing plant, and convert waste cooking oils (taken from local hotels and restaurants) in to bio-diesel that fuels all the farm vehicles.
- In 2010 we introduced two beehives.
- We have three waste sewerage processing plants on site that convert waste and dirty water into clean water before it enters the stream that flows through our farm.
- All our cleaning products are 'no phosphate/chlorine'.
- Our internal office systems are largely paperless and we have a strategy in place to create an electronic archive to replace our paper archives. We are also in the process of introducing a new, improved database that will facilitate higher service levels and reduce our paper output further.
- We have been part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme for over 20 years as well as the English Woodland Grant Scheme. We therefore create wildlife corridors and ditches, create and restore existing ponds, maintain ancient woodland and create new woodland. When we purchased the farm, more than 30 years ago, all hedge boundaries were dilapidated due to neglect and removed in favour of bigger fields. We reinstated all of these 'lost' hedges with blackthorn, hawthorn, oak, cherry, hazel, ash and beech, and estimate we have planted well in excess of 100,000 trees around the farm.
- We invite all our guest to use the complimentary organic vegetable patch and polytunnel, and pick their own seasonal fruit and veg.
- We use our own organic produce when available (free range eggs, beef, fruit and vegetables) in our breakfast hampers, homemade ready meals, jams and chutneys.
- One of our rising star businesses at Clough Bottom is the growing and selling of large, mature trees and shrubs. Our first plantation was created in the mid 90's and we now have three. After digging up a tree, the land is allowed to restore itself to its natural, original condition. We predict that our first plantation will be returned to a grazing field within the next 5 years. This natural rotation of field plantations is key to keeping the land in good health.
- Over the last 15 years we have improved and replaced many of the original drains around the farm, laid during World War I and II by Prisoners of War. We have used natural materials rather than the modern, plastic alternative.
- As part of our purchasing policy we purchase as much produce, products and services locally.
- We encourage our guests to 'Stay Local, Eat Local, Buy Local, See Local' and feature local businesses, shops, restaurants and pubs on our website and in our Guest Information Folders. Not only does this save on fuel costs, we see it as a vital part in enhancing the visitor and holiday experience - enabling our guests to embrace the rural community as well as encouraging them to increase levels of footfall and spend in the local business community.
- We have two converted barns on site which can be hired for private parties, functions, meetings and conferences. We have given it free to a local community group and for fundraising and education events.
- We have recently hosted a meeting held by The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty who invited 25 Norwegian businesses over to the UK - Harry gave a tour of Clough Bottom and did a presentation on how we have developed and diversified over the years.
- We hold weekly yoga sessions in the Middle Barn.
- In 2010 Harry was involved with the Engineering Education Scheme as a supporting engineer working with Queen Elizabeth Grammar School on a project on micro-hydro turbines, using Clough Bottom as a feasibility exercise.
Our Future Plans...
- After successfully completing two Galileo Certificated renewable energy training courses held at Edinburgh University, Harry is committed to a continual process of research into innovative ways to harness the water and wind power generated by our natural resources, to provide electricity and energy for Clough Bottom.
- Harry is also exploring and developing energy-saving strategies on the farm including hydro-power and bio-mass boilers.
All of these strategies have made Clough Bottom Farm what it is today - a multi-award winning, thriving, family-run working farm that has successfully blended a sustainable approach to life with business. We currently hold a Green Tourism Business Scheme: Gold Award and have recently been crowned a 'Silver Award Winner' in the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence in the Sustainable Tourism category.
We are members of Organic Farmers and Growers and other conservation bodies.