VIBES Award: Management Large


  • 98% of the water used comes from their roof collection or borehole.
  • On-site water treatment plant savings > £100, 000.
  • A further £51, 000 annual savings from other environmental initiatives was identified.
  • Zero product waste: if the product does not make the grade it is donated to charity or sold for farm feed.
  • Soil, wood waste and cardboard are reused or recycled.
  • Currently trialling reusable plastic.
  • Several energy efficiency measures for heating and lighting in place including: securing planning permission for wind turbine, installation of a free air cooling system and heat recovery compressor.
  • On-site transport has been reduced and biodiversity initiatives are in place.
  • Actively engage with their Supply Chain
Sponsored by: Mainetti

Established in 1948, Albert Bartlett is a family run business which now supplies over 20% of the UK’s fresh potatoes. The company is committed to addressing environmental issues and striving to be the best in their business, two values encompassed in their purpose built Airdrie head office.

The VIBES Management Award recognises businesses whose management systems deliver continuous improvement in environmental performance. The category is aimed at businesses that are taking a holistic approach to environmental improvement and can demonstrate the associated economic and social benefits that have been achieved. The VIBES Judges felt that Albert Bartlett stood out in this area and were impressed by their application and visit to the site.

From Application to Site Visit the VIBES Judges (representatives from Scottish Water, Scottish Government and SEPA) felt that Albert Bartlett have demonstrated excellent commitment to their environmental approaches and successfully integrate these into their business objectives. They have demonstrated that all staff from the shop floor to senior management are positively involved in reducing the company’s impact on the environment.

A previous Winner of VIBES in 2005, the company is accredited with ISO 14001 and has an established environmental steering group, with employee representation from across their three sites, meeting quarterly to discuss issues and reporting. They have recently appointed a new ‘green champion’ who creates the link between production line staff and the environmental team. In addition to internal communication, the company works closely with their customers and suppliers in reducing waste throughout the supply chain.

The VIBES Judges felt that Albert Bartlett was able to provide several examples illustrating how environmental best practice can be financially beneficial to the company as well as benefitting the wider community. They are active in the community supporting youth work and education programmes as well as increasing the local biodiversity. To support these activities they host specific doors open days and invite groups such as the scouts, farmers groups and local societies to visit and use their facilities; actively support youth employment, taking on graduates and supporting engineering apprentices through college, and; run a training programme for the unemployed on food safety and environmental awareness, helping to increase their employability.

The environmental approaches implemented at Albert Bartlett have resulted in a variety of environmental savings and reduced impacts including:

  • 70% of the water used comes from their roof collection
  • 28% of the remaining process water is supplied by an on site borehole
  • Water is then reused a number of times following treatment
  • Zero product waste
  • Soil from washing the potatoes is spread back onto fields
  • Wood waste is sold on for reuse
  • The introduction of compostable packaging in the canteen has reduced waste
  • On site transport costs reduced through introduction on LPG forklifts
  • 12,000 trees have been planted on site
  • Recently  secured planning permission for a wind turbine on site
  • Free air cooling system installed in chill and communications rooms

Recently implemented initiatives are anticipated to make a saving of £51,000 in 2013 with the free air cooling system alone projected to save £25,000 per annum.

The VIBES Judges were also impressed by the bespoke Building Management System which aims to control energy use. This is due to be rolled out to the other company sites in England and Jersey. The system will allow Albert Bartlett to be used as a case study for future energy saving projects.

In the future, the company has plans to power the site through renewable wind and solar energy. There are additional plans for another processing plant to be built adjacent to the existing factory. The cost savings generated from Albert Bartlett’s environmental best practice has allowed for company expansion, which leads to a positive knock-on effect for the local and national economy.

Russell White, Head of Engineering & Sustainability at Albert Bartlett said: “Albert Bartlett is delighted to have won this prestigious award which re-affirms our total commitment to preserving the environment. It’s fantastic to receive recognition for the efforts of our team, and we will continue to do all we can to promote responsible food production while protecting the environment for future generations.