Corporate Social Responsibility

Introduction to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

CSR is about how a business acts to make sure it positively affects society. CSR policies make us behave ethically - on our social, economic and environmental impacts. We should meet and aim to improve on relevant laws. If laws don’t exist, we should act ethically. York Gin is committed to behave as ethically as possible by following this CSR policy.

Who we are and what we do

Our company values are to:

  • create gins of the highest quality
  • treat the planet, our people, our business partners and our customers with the utmost care and respect
  • be a sustainable, responsible and efficient company
  • create a positive, supportive, happy, fun and safe working environment
  • be inspired by our city’s and gin’s long and incredible histories - hence our motto ‘History in the Tasting’
  • make York proud of us
(Picutred: Sandy using our Refill Station in the York Gin shop which encourages customers to re-use their spirits bottles, with a £5 discount.)

Looking after our team - Accessibility & Inclusivity

We aim to provide a supportive, happy and safe working environment for all our staff. We are an Equal Opportunities Employer as per the Human Rights Act 2010. We employ an HR consultant, Athena HR, to ensure we are doing the right thing by our team. We make genuine efforts to comply with the spirit and letter of the equality laws, we promote a supportive and harmonious working environment and treat all our team with dignity and respect. We do not discriminate unlawfully against or harass any person on any grounds.

Modern Slavery Act 2015: The key relevant area we have identified is the farming of botanicals (spices, herbs and fruit which flavour our gins). These come from a number of countries in Europe, Africa and Asia. We have ensured that our supplier for all these botanicals, Beacon Commodities, are fully compliant with the act.

Health and safety policies, procedures and training: We have comprehensive health and safety policies. Staff are given training appropriate to their role which ranges from hazardous material handling to handling and lifting, and dealing with customers/alcohol in the workplace and more. These are detailed in the online staff handbook.

Staff training, appraisals and personal development: All the team receive regular reviews, training and goal setting. These include one-to-one and whole team training. Although we are a small company, we have successfully developed a number of staff members to take on more responsible roles. Training has included leadership training, communication skills and spirits industry qualifications with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust - WSET.

How we communicate with staff: We communicate with staff in a variety of appropriate ways - primarily face to face. The retail team receives a monthly email briefing. The production team has a weekly team meeting. We also make use of WhatsApp to allow off-siite staff to stay in touch.

Pay and benefits: We are a registered Living Wage employer. When required, our key permanent staff have company mobile phones, and access to company electric vehicles for travel with renewable energy available on site. We give permanent full-time staff a day off on their birthday and part-time retail staff receive a gift on their birthday. All staff have product discounts. Staff can take an extra day to devote to charity work.

All staff are automatically enrolled into a pension scheme; the company makes contributions.

Looking after our customers

We aim to make sure our customers have a brilliant experience with us. We also aim to show the value of buying local and supporting a sustainable business like York Gin.

We respond to any queries we receive by email or on social media in a timely manner. Our policy is to give the customer the benefit of the doubt whenever a problem is raised. The retail team receives regular training to ensure standards expected of a premium brand are maintained.

With every order, we supply comprehensive tasting notes. Our tens of thousands of social media followers and email subscribers are kept up to date with our latest news and offers. We make a conscious effort not to ‘spam’ customers. (For example, we only send one or two emails per month to customers who have asked to be contacted).

Suppliers' Standards

Where possible we choose local suppliers. We also ensure they are working in a sustainable manner.

We have ensured that our major suppliers adhere to the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

We work with a good awareness of the Bribery Act 2010 with the following procedures in place:

Financial diligence: Accounts are checked by multiple stakeholders, and any stakeholder can check the accounts at any time. York Gin will always transact with customers and staff in a proper manner. We make a regular review of our procedures.

Local suppliers: Where possible, we use local suppliers. This policy has resulted in moving our glass suppliers from France to Leeds. And our packaging and labels are 100% Yorkshire-made. Our gifts are made from upcycled wood, and we sell products from other York and Yorkshire suppliers. The neutral grain spirit we use is all made in Yorkshire from grain grown on Yorkshire farms.

Suppliers: We are committed to paying our suppliers properly and on time. We make every effort to make prompt payment - and certainly within agreed terms. Our key suppliers have a CSR policy in place - notably Verallia who make all our bottles.

Protecting the Environment

We do all we can to protect the environment and we are making incremental steps to becoming carbon neutral.

  • Waste experts Forge Recycling take all our distillery waste - with zero going to landfill. The CO2 emissions produced by converting this waste to energy are offset with tree planting
  • Cardboard waste from our shops goes to Friends of St Nicholas' Field, a York environmental charity
  • Customers who re-use their bottles get a £5 discount when they use our Refill Station
  • During the cooler months, we re-use the water used to cool the gin vapours to liquid in a closed system. We are developing this method to work during the summer months too

Encouraging greener transport: The majority of our employees work within a mile or two of their place of work (the shops in the city centre). Three of our employees who live further away use the Park & Ride service. We provide electric vehicles powered by green energy for all York Gin business including deliveries and sales meetings.

Community Engagement

We raise thousands of pounds each year for local charities.

  • Our shops have collection boxes for two of our official charities, St Leonard’s Hospice and York Cats Protection
  • Exclusive gins have raised thousands for St Leonard's, York Pride and Headway, the brain injury charity with a York City FC gin
Our full-time staff can take an extra day off to spend volunteering for a charity of their choice.
We support our local community by employing the equivalent of over 20 full-time jobs paying at least the Living Wage.
And we support several local small businesses - for some, we are a key customer.


Our eco-consulatncy, Sustainable Business Solutions, creates an ongoing Carbon Footprint Report. This records our emissions and reduction targets.
Work is in progress to measure the emissions of our supply chain.

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