Policy on Sustainability and the Environment
Dukeshill Ham Company is committed to ensuring that it minimises the negative impact of its activities on the environment.
The company has a strategy in place to achieve this. The main points of this strategy are:
To source meat and other ingredients which have been sustainably and ethically farmed or produced.
We take animal welfare very seriously. We believe that the meat we use should be ethically and humanely produced and killed, and that the best hams come from happy pigs.
We work with several great suppliers who we believe share our commitment to responsible and sustainable farming. Dukeshill has grown considerably over the years; we are still very much a “small family business”, but we have grown beyond the point where we can work with just one supplier. We are predominately a ham producer and whilst we have added other products like bacon and sausage to our portfolio, we still use a lot more “back legs” than we do the rest of the pig.
This means that we are not the ideal customer for farms who are in the business of selling whole animals. That said, we do work closely with farms, and visit them regularly to verify that our welfare standards are met. Much of the meat we use comes from a local farm who produce excellent meat, 100% Free Range, to excellent welfare standards. However, we also buy from local slaughterhouses and cutting plants, but again we only specify the highest standards available. One of our main suppliers is still relatively small and the meat we buy from them is exclusively produced to the RSPCA Assured standard. Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” that we can state for every ham we make, but in each case the standards are as high as we can achieve.
The only unequivocal line in the sand that we specify is that all our meat is British Farm Assured. We do not consider this the highest or best welfare standard, but it does give us the safety net, as our resources are not huge, that all our pork is British, well treated, and most importantly that every stage of the supply chain is regularly audited by vets and inspectors. We take the sourcing of all our other meats just as seriously. For instance, our poultry is all produced to the highest levels of free range standards - there is never an excuse for distressing, intensive or inhumane farming methods that cause animals to suffer.
To minimise the environmental impact of our food packaging by reducing the amount used, using recyclable materials and working with suppliers to find “green” solutions to our packaging needs.
Delivering food by mail order requires a strategy that enables us to deliver chilled food safely in packaging that is adequately insulated to keep it cool and sufficiently robust to protect the customers’ orders (which may contain fragile items as well as whole joints of meat) from damage in transit. We have been working intensively with several suppliers to develop a replacement for the ubiquitous polystyrene boxes which are normally used for this. Polystyrene is energy intensive to produce, and whilst it can be recycled in some areas our customers have told us that they find the large boxes cumbersome and inconvenient to handle.
From mid-2017 we are rolling out an alternative based on laminated box liners using air “bubbles” to give the required insulation. There is more work to be done to ensure that these are 100% recyclable, but there are immediate improvements in minimising road miles as the new pouches take up a tiny fraction of the space used by polystyrene, and therefore the number of lorry journeys between suppliers and our warehouse has been slashed.
The packaging that we receive from our suppliers is recycled where possible as a matter of course.
To minimise the environmental impact of our marketing and promotional material.
As a mail order company, our customers need us to keep in touch with them by sending our catalogues in the post; we minimize the effect of this by keeping the catalogues as small as possible, and carefully selecting the customers that receive them to avoid wastage. At the same time, we do all that we can to encourage customers to use our website to browse our product range and place their orders.
In the last few years we have worked closely with our mailing partners to eliminate the need for envelopes and polythene wraps for our catalogues. We ensure that the paper we use is fully accredited by FSC as coming from sustainable sources. All our mailings are recyclable and have the recyclable logo printed on them to encourage careful disposal.
To reduce the cost of Energy, Distribution, Waste and Water by evaluating operations and ensuring that they are as efficient as possible.
We work hard to save energy in all our processes. This includes working closely with our plant suppliers to ensure that plant used for cooking and cooling is as efficient as possible. We have recently identified and implemented a new method of running our ham cookers to save on electrical consumption. We have also implemented new cooling regimes that have dramatically reduced water usage in the cooling of our hams.
Throughout the offices we use energy-efficient lighting and computer monitors, and ensure that all staff are using the energy-saving features of IT and other office equipment correctly.
We do all that we can to minimize the effects of waste, both by eliminating it where possible, and encouraging recycling where it is inevitable. We scrupulously segregate the large amount of cardboard that we receive to ensure that it can be taken away for recycling. We have listened carefully to our customers’ requests to offer some of our products in smaller portion sizes to there is less risk of the food being wasted once the customer receives it.
To engage with our Employees, Suppliers and Customers; to support and incentivise them to adopt behaviour that has a positive impact on the environment.
We have regard for the environment in every aspect of the business. For hand-washing, staff in the production department use knee-operated sinks which only deliver water when needed and cannot be left running and we use hand driers where practicable to minimize paper towel waste. We operate a Cycle to Work Scheme which has been taken up by 35% of staff.
To meet or exceed all relevant environmental legislation.