Winton House has just reached the final for the small and medium sized business and micro business management categories of the VIBES Awards 2012*.  The awards recognize Scottish businesses that have shown commitment and achievement in reducing their impact on the environment.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability have always been central to the ethos of the management of Winton House and 2,500 acre Winton Estate.

“We are committed to a management style that allows and encourages environmental diversity across all our products, often exceeding best practice. Our long terms ambitions are for a prosperous estate which supports businesses and communities, and plays a constructive part in the county,” says Sir Francis Ogilvy, owner and factor.

“Winton has a range of environmental objectives: becoming carbon neutral; having zero waste by 2018; reducing landfill waste by a further 15% annually over the next three years; and continuing to lower energy costs per person at events. Helping us achieve this will be our recycling initiatives, buying and employing locally, our biomass heating system, using eco-friendly products, and encouraging biodiversity on the estate.

“Most of our employees, tradesmen and outside contractors live locally in East Lothian, and for many years, all the money made has been ploughed back into the estate which, by implication, means the local economy.”
In 2011 Winton House was accredited with a Gold Award from the Green Tourism Business Scheme (GTBS), the UK’s most highly regarded sustainable tourism scheme, for its eco-friendly approach to corporate and private hospitality, joining well known tourist venues and suppliers with gold awards such as Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Seabird Centre, Maximillion Events and Prestonfield House.

Francis Ogilvy continues: “We installed a biomass boiler in 2000, providing central heating and hot water for Winton House and 5 estate houses, one of the first stately homes in Scotland to do so. Woodchips which fuel the boiler come from trees grown on the estate.”

A replacement boiler is about to be installed as part of a general overhaul of the system, introducing innovative methods and ideas aimed at dramatically reducing dependence on an oil-fired back-up system and making efficiency savings along the way. It will also make good use of the latest government initiative to support renewable energy projects.  This is a substantial investment and underlines the estate’s commitment to the environment.

The VIBES Award finalists will be announced later in October and the winners at the award ceremony on the 29th of November so Winton House is keeping its fingers crossed!

[*‘VIBES’ stands for ‘vision in business for the environment of Scotland’.]