Sustainability and Responsibility
When we established York Gin, we were clear we would create a sustainable business. We take our responsiblites very seriously - to the planet, to our people and partners, and to our community.
Our aim is that the world is a better place with York Gin in it. So the environment, local people and charities actually benefit from our existence.
In short, we want to be a 'Net Positive' business.
We are very aware that we are not there yet - but we are making huge efforts and incremental steps are carrying us closer to our ambition.
As a responsible business, we do our utmost to minimise our impact on the environment.
As a manufacturer, this will never be zero – the nature of what we do means there will be costs to the environment: we use energy to make our gins, to create our bottles and on transport, for example.
But what we try to do is to choose the best option for the planet – even when this initially involves more outlay than the alternatives.
100% Green Energy & Electric Vehicles
Our distillery and shop both run on 100% renewable power with Good Energy, a British renewable electricity company. This significantly reduces our environmental impact.
Our copper still runs on this renewable electricity - rather than gas power used in many other distilleries. This reduces our energy consumption as it takes less time to warm up!
Both York Gin vehicles are 100% electric, producing zero emissions. Any extra financial cost of these vehicles is outweighed by our desire to minimise our environmental impact.
Plastic free and recycling
All our bottles are 100% plastic free - so the labels, the corks and the seals have no plastic in them at all.
All our packaging - including our gift sets, our cardboard boxes for trade (even the tape to secure them!) - is also 100% plastic free.
We recycle 100% of our paper and cardboard waste, any broken glass and any recyclable plastic from our suppliers.
We also encourage our customers to re-use their empty bottles. Our shop gives away empty bottles for re-use for a small charity donation. We regularly see customers posting photos on social media of York Gin bottles enjoying a second life as reed infusers, vases, salt and pepper shakers, candle holders, receptacles for all kinds of liquids – and as beautiful ornaments in their own right.
We try to source locally wherever we possibly can – this undoubtedly helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions from transport.
Our new bottles and neutral grain spirit are both produced in Yorkshire. These are the heaviest materials we use, so buying local has a massive effect on our carbon footprint.
Other local suppliers include:
- York upcyclers PurePallets who reuse old pallets and railway sleepers for several of our products and in our shops.
- The Star Inn makes the sugar syrup in our Old Tom gin using Yorkshire ingredients.
- Yorvale make gin ice cream and Bessies Yorkshire Preserves make gin and grapefruit marmalade.
We have invested heavily to make our bottles as sustainable as possible. All our new bottles are made in Leeds rather than France and Italy
The new bottles contain far less glass. Two huge wins for our carbon footprint!
Neutral grain spirit
The neutral grain spirit that is used to create the pure alcohol at the base of our gin comes from wheat grown purely on Yorkshire farms and distilled in North Yorkshire.
Again, our carbon footprint in this area is kept to a minimum.
Beautiful Yorkshire water is a key ingredient of our gin. And we make sure it is as pure as it possibly can be by filtering it over coconut shells - a brilliant, organic method that ensures only 100% pure water is used in our gins.
As well as our environmental responsibilites, we take our social responsibilities very seriously too.
So we pay all our team at least the Living Wage, we support charities and local community groups, our ingredients are sourced ethically, and we discourage excessive drinking.
The local community
We are committed to supporting the local community. Our two official causes are:
St Leonard’s Hospice:
We support our local hospice with financial support and promotion on our social media channels. In 2020, we supported their fund-raising efforts to celebrate their 35th birthday by creating a limited edition of 350 special edition bottles. These sold out very quickly and raised a four-figure sum for the hospice.
York Cats Protection
We support York Cats Protection by providing an annual financial contribution, promoting the adoption of difficult-to-home cats on our social media channels and by offering a York Gin mini bottle to all adopters, to toast their new feline family member.
Other local good causes: We are inundated with requests for help, and we really do try to help any reasonable requests from organisations in the York area - with raffle prizes, sponsorship of sports teams and fund-raising gin tastings. We have helped countless causes – and we are delighted that we can help!
York City FC
We started our sponsorship deal with York City FC with a special fund-raising run of London Dry to mark the closure of their home at Bootham Crescent. This raised over £1,000 for the brain injury association, Headspace.
Living Wage Employer & ethical-sourcing
Our mantra is to treat everyone in a courteous and respectful manner.
We are a Living Wage employer – paying all our staff over and above the Living Wage.
We don't have minimum payment terms: for all small businesses, cashflow is vital, so we pay our bills as soon as they are presented.
The company who source our botanicals - Beacon Commodities - is well-known for its ethical approach to business. They source responsibly only from known suppliers, and they deal directly with growers, collectors and processors - removing the middleman.
Regular trips to meet suppliers mean they can ensure an ethical supply - they see with their own eyes the farming and employment practices being used. Their close relationships and expertise in farming methods also help to solve harvest problems that are becoming more regular with climate change.
As the manufacturer of very strong alcoholic drinks, we have a responsibility to discourage the abuse of alcohol.
So, we ensure that we do not in any way, shape or form glorify excessive drinking of alcohol.
All our gins are ultra-premium in quality - our consistent message is to choose quality over quantity:
'Don’t drink more – drink better.'
The price points of our gins ensure that they are out of reach of the demographic most likely to abuse spirits too.
Helping to reduce waste
We work with a brilliant organisation called Too Good To Go. Their mission is to cut down on food waste. The excess food from pubs, cafes, supermarkets goes into ‘Magic Bags’ sold through an app at a big discount (the contents always change depending on what is left). The food businesses recoup some of their losses, customers get to enjoy great food at a big discount - and food waste goes down. We encourage all our partners to get involved in this fantastic scheme - it really is a win, win. Big companies involved include Costa, Morrisons and Pret. We want as many as possible of the small businesses we work to join the movement. www.toogoodtogo.co.uk