Tong Garden Centre commits to climate and community with a new appointment

The team at a Bradford Garden Centre has pledged its commitment to a climate and community initiative with a new appointment.

Tong Garden Centre has appointed 33-year-old Steph Bates from Menston to lead an agenda that incorporates sustainability, people, nature recovery and community.

Ms Bates joins the growing garden centre as a People, Culture and Sustainability Business Partner and her role is to lead the sustainability agenda at Tong Garden Centre and to apply the strategy to future developments at Tingley (due to open in autumn 2022) and Thorp Arch  (subject to a successful planning application).

“Our aim is to be Carbon Neutral by 2026. My first focus is to create a robust sustainability roadmap and to explore the actions it will take to make sure we achieve this,” said Ms Bates.

“This year, we are dedicated to reducing the impact our waste has on the environment and we have mapped out several pledges to help achieve this, including re-educating our teams about the community benefits of being a sustainable business; continuing to re-use our food waste as biofuel; engaging with our suppliers to deliver a Circular Plastics Economy and re-using and recycling wherever possible.

“Early signs of our pledge are looking promising. We now convert all of our used oil and food waste into biofuel, and with the introduction of enhanced recycling streams, we have reduced our general waste content by 35% within the first five weeks. We are excited to introduce balers to further ensure we repurpose and recycle for good. We have also signed up to PlanetMark to measure our Carbon Footprint and have joined the Carbon Literacy Training Accreditation Process to educate the team. We’re looking forward to seeing continuous improvement as we make our way to carbon neutrality.”

Other climate and community initiatives include the creation of a Love Nature garden at Tong in partnership with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, the development of a sustainability steering group and the launch of a volunteering programme for Tong’s team of 237  that will offer over 1000 hours of paid volunteering each year so that the team can give something back to local community projects.

Ms Bates was previously Business Manager for a Mcdonald’s franchise and led the restaurant’s sustainability agenda for her franchisee. When she’s not working, she enjoys hiking and finding new places to explore with her family.

Tong Garden Centre occupies a 19-acre site in Tong village. It is one of Yorkshire’s biggest independent garden centres with 125,000 square feet of retail space and parking for up to 700 cars. It will open its second garden centre at Tingley, South Leeds in autumn 2022 and has applied to Leeds City Council for planning permission for a third site at Thorp Arch, Wetherby.

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Tong Garden Centre commits to climate and community with a new appointment