The Queen's Awards for Enterprise is the most prestigious business awards programme in the world, so securing a coveted Queen's Award title is not easy, but it is hugely rewarding. We are proud to add this feather to our cap.
Flying the flag for sustainability
The Lakes Free Range Egg Co (The Lakes) produces free range and organic eggs, packed to the highest standards and adhering to leading animal welfare, ethical and environmental principles. We are the UK’s largest, specialist free range egg producer/packer, achieving this with our network of small family farm producers and by developing a model of farming that is profitable, sustainable and replicable.
From inception we have always believed planting trees improves the welfare of free range hens. When we started, no industry standards existed, so we led the way.
For the last 21 years we have been planting trees and have 600+acres planted with 157,000 native trees and shrubs. These habitats optimise biodiversity potential and have resulted in endangered species returning to our land. We insist ALL our producers follow the same model and it proves successful for them too.
We’re pleased to be working with small family farms – 50% of our producers are farming disadvantaged land and are now make a living. They are also seeing indigenous wildlife returning to their farms.
In 2013, we achieved zero waste to landfill, 50 percent reduction in water consumption and 100 percent on site energy generation. Our packing station achieved carbon neutrality in 2016 – an industry first. We are always looking for ways to make more improvement to our sustainability.
We are proud to be an industry benchmark, proving environment and commercial benefits can go hand in hand. We also share best practice with internationally recognised bodies/organisations as well as our producers.
We have been told that it is our outstanding sector leadership and influence that led to us receiving a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development. We have won numerous awards for sustainability but see the Queens Awards for Enterprise as the very pinnacle of recognition.
Be in it to win it
Preparing the application for the Queen's Awards was straightforward. It does require planning and time to complete, but the process is simple and benefits from being an online application. It was also useful that more than one person could fill in the form – it was a team effort and enabled us all to own the application.
Our advice would be start early and collate your statistics. You can come back to the form as many times as you like, and it can be refined. Collecting data and making it easy to understand in advance helped avoiding last minute deadlines and we had a chance to find the right imagery to bring our story to life.
We were ecstatic when we found out we had won but keeping it under wraps until 21st of April was hard. It was a beneficial time though, as it gave us a chance to prepare – how to tell staff, customers, stakeholders, our industry and our local community.
This award is so special because there are only a few businesses each year that achieve a Queen's Award in Sustainable Development. This year there were only 8 winners across the UK.
As we write this, we are waiting to find out when we will receive a visit from the Lord Lieutenant but are already planning ideas for an event - or three!
Time to Celebrate
As we shared the news with our staff they were delighted too – achieving this award is a real team effort. That’s why we are planning several special events for our staff, our producers and our customers and will be able to combine this award celebration with our 21st birthday.
We are immensely proud and looking forward to our visit from the Lord Lieutenant. And it is such an honour to be invited to the reception at the Buckingham Palace.
Flying the Flag
We will literally be able to fly the flag for sustainability with the Queens Awards for Enterprise. And as the award lasts for five years we have lots of time to make the most of future opportunities.
It is a real boost for our company and the early feedback from clients has been amazing.
If you are considering an application our advice would be to have a go. You can only win if you take part and if not successful the first time, the feedback will be invaluable when you enter again.