Visit impresses Scottish environment business awards judges

VIBES judges Lucy Filby and Ian Cornforth outside Bay Stores with Cameron Bruce of Arran Food Journey.

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An Arran business is on a shortlist of 45 finalists from a range of industries in Scotland vying for a prestigious environmental award.

Earlier this month, Arran Dairies was delighted to host VIBES judges Lucy Filby from South of Scotland Enterprise and Ian Cornforth of NatureScot as part of their finalist research for the prestigious VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards.

The aim of the island visit was to learn more about Arran Dairies, incorporating the business sustainability practices of Arran Ice Cream, Arran Milk and Taste of Arran.

As part of the final stages for the awards, the judges were welcomed to the island to see how Arran’s integrated partnerships connect the community across their supply chain.

The day started at Arran Dairies where Arran milk is pasteurised and Arran Ice Cream is produced, followed by a visit to Bay Stores where the judges saw one of 12 Arran milk machines in action, as well as its ‘weigh out zero’ dry good section.

There the judges met with Clair Reeves from Bay Stores and Cameron Bruce from Arran’s Food Journey to understand how Arran’s hospitality and retail food and drink sectors work together to support the provision of local produce.

They continued their tour round the island stopping in at Lagg Distillery where they heard about the cycle of malting barley grown at Bellevue Farm which is then sold to Arran’s distilleries to make whisky. The spent grains, or darff, from the distilling process is fed to the cattle, completing the circle.

At Bellevue Farm they met with Calum Chaplin, head cheese maker at Bellevue Creamery, and heard about the local food co-operative established between the last remaining dairy farm on Arran – Tigheanfraoch, Bellevue Creamery and Arran Dairies – enabling Arran Milk to remain on the island.

Gillian Bruce, chairperson of VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards, said: ‘Every year, the VIBES Awards highlight the progress made across Scotland to help move towards net zero. We see more and more firms and organisations who recognise environmental innovation and best practice can also bring economic benefits. It is always inspiring to hear entrants tell us about their work.

‘Scotland is a leader in climate change action and every business can play a part in leading Scotland to Net Zero. We hope the finalists will encourage others to improve their environmental practices and help to safeguard Scotland for future generations’.

Arran Dairies say that through various innovations in transportation resulting in huge savings in food miles, reduced plastic waste through the encouraging of using reusable glass bottles, investment in technology and energy efficiencies throughout Arran Dairies operations, they have saved more than 10,000 tonnes of CO2, making its business carbon neutral with offsets. They have also saved more than 500,000 litres of water in ice cream production, eliminated more than 50,000 single use plastic bottles and sold more than 2,738 reusable glass bottles on Arran.

As well as saving more than 10,000 food miles per year by establishing an Arran Milk co-operative, the company has also introduced 12 milk vending machines to retailers and the community and plans to be carbon net zero by 2035.

VIBES judges Lucy Filby and Ian Cornforth outside Bay Stores with Cameron Bruce of Arran Food Journey. No_B30VIBES01

The VIBES judges pose for a photograph at Bellevue Farm. No_B30VIBES02

Calum Chaplin from Bellevue Cheese at a farmers market at Bellevue Farm. No_B30VIBES03