Caring for Our Environment has been our company tagline since we bought the business in 2004, but in reality, it’s a guiding principle that informs how we approach every aspect of our operations; from the energy we use to power our offices to the vehicles we drive, the equipment our teams need to do their jobs and the way we deal with the waste we produce.
Since we acquired the business, we have changed the emphasis from a purely customer-oriented one to a dynamic, values-driven company that invests in sustainability and its people.
I’ve long believed business can be a force for good and that’s why, in May 2020, we launched the Evergreen Fund, an investment vehicle that channels 5% of Ground Controls annual profit into green ventures. The fund provides seed and growth capital to early-stage companies and social enterprises that deliver measurable, beneficial and sustainable environmental impact. We’re aiming to invest around £5 million over the next five years, ploughing back profits from those investments into new sustainable ventures. Not only that, but we will also direct £100,000 from the fund to finance the planting of a million new native trees to create protected areas of biodiversity.
I know our customers are committed to improving their impact on the environment and teams are talking to them all the time about what we’re doing and how we can help. So far, the feedback has been great, especially when it comes to our tree-planting programme. We’ve undertaken several projects this year, inviting customers to come along and help plant trees, and they’ve responded enthusiastically. But there’s a lot more we can do to help them on their journeys towards net zero and that will remain an area of focus for us in future.
Our dream is to influence customers and indeed the entire sector to think in a more sustainable way about what they do. Most of our work involves cutting nature back and, while we try to do that in the most environmentally-friendly way possible, wouldn’t it be better if we made a net improvement? Imagine if we as an industry had a rule that, if you cut down one tree, you have to plant 10 new ones. If we started to think about the property and the natural environment we manage as the precious community asset that it is. For us, Caring for Our Environment is not about gaining an advantage over our competitors; it’s about leading significant change for the better in landscaping among customers and throughout the entire industry. It’s about demonstrating business can be a force for positive change and about showing how investing in protecting and improving the environment can ensure our children inherit a better world than we did. It’s so much more than just a tagline.
By Kim Morrish, Director, Ground Control
Ground Control were sponsoring the Excellence in Horticulture and Planting Design Award in 2020. Entries for 2021 Awards are now open – find out more here.