Corporate responsibility (CR) lies at the heart of our business strategy at Downton Distillery.
Since our beginning in 2017, Downton Distillery has benchmarked pioneers within the industry setting a target of where we believe the distillery should be.
The commitments we have made to our community and customers have shaped the way we do business.
We made the decision to be plastic free from day one, first because we think it's the right thing and secondly to share with our peers that it is achievable to all. Thankfully it is becoming easier to achieve each year.
These actions may sound simple, but they are not the norm, nor are they an exhaustive list of our proudest achievements. Regardless of what we have acheived to date, we will continue to push our priorities forward across our sustainability pillars; in Community, Environment, People, Packaging & Waste, and Energy.
We believe it is our social and moral duty to have a positive impact on the environment. We improve people’s lives through supporting both local and national charities. Recycling where possible and donating to worthy causes. We actively engage and support our team to participate in regular volunteer activities that align with our goals and values.
Downton Distillery is working towards becoming a certified 'B Corporation'.
These are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
Society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. The B Corp community works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, create a healthier environment, build stronger communities, create better jobs with dignity and purpose. By harnessing the power of business, B Corps use profits and growth as a means to a greater end: positive impact for their employees, communities, and the environment.
Our sustainability objectives are the following:
When we discuss sustainability, what steps can you take to help?
In July 2021 we converted to green energy; this is the single biggest thing we have done to tackle climate change. We are now one of the few distilleries to be using green energy. Whilst this move is more expensive, it reduces our environmental impact, supports the governmental pledge and green recovery plans whilst reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
Our bottles are made by an Italian glass manufacturer in Milan. They are known for their quality glassware and their own sustainability goals. We use a stock design which is screen printed. Our printing is free of any heavy toxic metals, nor are dangerous solvents used within the process. The bottles now use 30% recycled glass.
At present our shrink wrap capsules use PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and this is recyclable. This can be crushed and shredded into small flakes which can then be reused to make new PET bottles or spun into polyester fibres. These will be phased out for the more environmentally friendly polylactic acid capsules which are compostable, aligning our goals in creating a better environment and greener world.
Our stopper uses a synthetic recyclable cork. A decision was made to use this type for a couple of reasons. The first is that cork trees are under environmental pressures with climate change and fungal attack. This species of opportunistic fungi (diplodia and phytophthora) has had a prominent role in the decline of cork trees across several regions. The second reason is that a synthetic cork will not taint the spirit within the bottle ensuring the quality of the product.
We have taken great pride in the design of our bottle, that reflects both the ‘Era of Discovery’ and Sir Walter Raleigh’s exploits. It is a shame that most bottles are thrown away into landfill once used. We therefore took the following steps to create our ‘Bottle for Life’ programme. Every bottle you reuse and upcycle will help us to reduce our impact on the environment.
In 2019 we introduced our gin refill scheme partnering with Downton Brewery. This partnership allows customers to bring their bottles to the Brewery and refill them. Saving 20% (£32), it’s a win for you the customer and a win for the environment as your bottles are reused and not sent to landfill.
We will be working with customers to see where we can add refill points, therefore allowing you to keep your bottles with the ability to both refill them closer to home.
In June 2021 we launched our Explorer’s Gin refill pack. When you finish your bottle, you can top it up by purchasing our pack. Designed to fit through your letter box, it will save you 12% and can be returned to us once used, using our return label. It is another win for your pocket and the environment, whilst helping us reduce our carbon footprint.
We have kept our packaging simple and have not created any display / presentation boxes. A recent survey showed that 94% of boxes are discarded once opened. Our design is our bottle, it speaks for itself. Our distillery also uses branded recycled paper bags at our events.
Our bottles are shipped using Flexi Hex, which is an innovative, sustainable, eco-friendly protective product that allows for the safe and secure shipping of bottles. It was created with the environment and sustainability in mind, their honeycomb sleeves and boxes are biodegradable, recyclable, plastic free, made from sustainably sourced materials and manufactured carbon neutral.
Any plastics that we receive from our suppliers and cardboard are recycled using ‘Waste Management Wiltshire’ who provide us with the ‘package recovery notes’ (PRNs), zero waste is sent to landfill.
All our wooden pallets are both reused and upcycled working with local businesses. After each distillation, our botanicals are either put into compost or reused in our new range of marmalades and chutney’s which we have / are working on!
We will continually work with our suppliers and are committed to acting and improving where possible.