Wyke Farms boss busts ‘green costs more’ myth

By Alice Foster contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wyke Farms boss Rich Clothier spoke at the FDF’s sustainability convention
Wyke Farms boss Rich Clothier spoke at the FDF’s sustainability convention

Related tags: Sustainability

Wyke Farms boss Rich Clothier wants to bust the myth that “green costs more” by showing how the Somerset cheese maker has managed to make savings.    

The firm has cut costs by strategically looking at how to make the business more sustainable, Clothier told the Food and Drink Federation’s (FDF’s) sustainability convention on Tuesday (November 10).

“I’m not your stereotypical tree-hugging environmentalist. I learnt the hard way. The business was undertaking a cost-cutting process,” ​Clothier said in a speech.

‘Production techniques’

“We were looking at production techniques to lower cost and reduce waste. It became fairly apparent that everything you do to lower cost impacts the environment in a positive way.”

Green business advocate

“I’m not your stereotypical tree-hugging environmentalist. I learnt the hard way."

  • Rich Clothier, managing director, Wyke Farms  

Wyke Farms converts farm and dairy waste into biogas, which fuels its combined heat and power plant and is also injected into the grid, with part sold to supermarket chain Sainsbury.

The farm also recovers 90% of waste water, generates energy from solar panels on factory and farm roofs and runs delivery cars powered by solar. 

‘Protect environment for son’

As well as being motivated by cost savings, family businessman Clothier also wanted to protect the environment for his young son and future generations.   

“I worry about the effect of climate change,” ​he said. “Every one of has do our part and if we don’t do it, we will be tasked to do it by our shoppers anyway.”

Clothier advised businesses to make use of their natural assets such as organic waste, wind at company sites and south facing roofs suitable for solar panels. 

He said being sustainable makes “good business sense” ​by diversifying the business, insulating it from commodity swings.

Meanwhile, FDF boss Ian Wright also spoke at the convention and warned that an “enormous” funding cut​ would slash the operations of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

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