Circular economy in action

Carbon footprint label

For over three years Scilly Organics has been part of a circular economy project, exploring business solutions that can help businesses to become ‘more circular’.

But what does that mean? Conventional business models relies on an input-output approach, which results in use of excess resources, waste, and inefficiency. It doesn’t take a genius to see that ‘business as usual’ is not going to get us out of the mess we’re in facing a climate emergency, resource depletion and a massive global waste problem.

To provide an alternative, a circular economy approach relies on the redesign of production systems and supply chains to ensure that:

  • Resources are used efficiently
  • Waste is minimised, with reduction, reuse and recycling being the preference
  • Environmental and social sustainability are a given
  • Interaction with people – customers and employees are more integral to the business

So what has all this meant for Scilly Organics? We’ve been working through a number of opportunities, but have settled on a few key actions that we know work for us, and have a positive environmental and social impact.

You can see a nice video we’ve done of the whole process here

Eco labels

When we worked out what the carbon and eco impacts of our farm was, we started putting carbon labels on some of our products – salad and potatoes. The labels look like this, and have been welcomed by our customers. A more detailed description of what they mean is on our website here.

Carbon footprint label

New products

From feedback from our customers we have developed one new products, and a new service. Apple juice is created from excess apples from our orchards, and creates a tasty juice that is very popular with our customers.

Using our experience of carbon footprinting, we now do consultancy to help other farmers and growers to reduce their carbon emissions and increase carbon sequestration. This has been very successful and is extremely topical.

Apple juice

Customer interaction

We’ve run surveys, held interviews, gathered feedback and put out more information. Making customers a more integral part of the business really helps us gauge opinion and get buy in from the people that ultimately make the business profitable.

Trialling alternative packaging

Plastic is a global problem, and horticulture is no exception. We’ve been trialling new produce bags made of 100% plant based plastics, that are 100% compostable. It’s not been easy to find good bags, but we’re close to finding good solutions.

We’ve also been undertaking a drive to reduce the amount of waste we buy in on products and compost or recycle as much as we can.

We’ve learnt lots from this process and look forward to sharing more about it here in coming months, including an exciting new publication! Our main aim is to encourage from this work is to encourage more businesses to embed circular economy principles and practices in their businesses.

Jonathan Smith

I started Scilly Organics in 2003, and it was the first certified organic farm on the Islands. We continue to supply the highest quality fruit and vegetables, available fresh on our stall and at certain eateries on Scilly.