Richard Clothier, Managing Director and Third Generation Family Member of UK based Cheddar cheese makers Wyke Farms tells the European Business Awards how winning the 2015/16 Award for Environmental & Sustainability benefited his business
1. What does it mean to you to win the European Business Award?
The European Business Awards, sponsored by RSM, are Europe’s largest business excellence awards, so we were absolutely delighted to be crowned as UK Champion and the overall European Winner for Environmental and Corporate Sustainability. To be selected as winner from a pool of businesses with extraordinary entrepreneurialism, innovation, leadership and business acumen in such challenging market conditions, is an honour. It’s great recognition for all the hard work the team have put in to our 100% Green business, ensuring our cheese-making and farming operations are leading the field in sustainability.
2. Has it changed anything for your business - will it change anything in the future?
We have had a lot of great coverage from being crowned UK Champion. We are extremely proud to be selling our cheese in over 160 countries around the world, and the fact that we’ve been recognised by the prestigious European Business Awards as a UK and European leader for sustainable working, means we can communicate to our customers that we don’t just make award-winning Cheddar, but that it’s produced in the greenest way possible. Winning the award has also helped to motivate the team – it’s a great thing for everyone to know that they are being recognised internationally for their work.
3. What did you gain from going through the Awards process? For example, did writing the application focus you on your business strategy?
We are always communicating our 100% Green Initiative through everything we do. It’s a huge part of our business. Being able to tell even more people about our family-business through the awards application process encouraged us all to focus on our success to date and how we can continue to better what we are doing. It’s nice to sit down and be able to stop for a minute to focus on everything that we have achieved so far.
4. Would you recommend other businesses in Europe to apply? If yes why?
Definitely! The exposure that you get on a European level is fantastic. Whether a winner or not, just being involved gives a business the opportunity to communicate their successes and feel proud of all that they have achieved.
5. What top tips would you give to a new company regarding:
- the entry form: Include the whole team.
Working together means you can produce an entry which is rounded and reflects the working business.
- the video:
Use the entry form to create a script, we found that it helped us to remember everything we had written about in the first phase. Use cutaways over a voiceover to really show-off your business. For us it was about showing our passion for the countryside so we spent a lot of the video outside in the heart of the Somerset countryside, showing how we make our cheese through our full farm to fork story.
- the public vote: Reach out to people across all channels – email, social media, press etc. Make sure to leverage the EBA platforms because there are so many contacts which could be of use.
6. Why do you think the European Business Awards are important?
Awards like the EBA’s which recognise companies that have gone above and beyond to put social, cultural, economic and environmental issues at the heart of their business operations, can only add value and motivate those involved – two factors which are essential to running a successful business.
About Wyke Farms
Wyke Farms is a family run company based in the heart of the Somerset Cheddar-making region, in the United Kingdom. The art of traditional cheese making will never be lost on the Somerset farm where the Clothier family have been making Cheddar in Somerset since 1861. Today, Wyke Farms is one of the largest independent cheese makers and milk processors in the UK producing over 13,000 tonnes of Cheddar per year to the same award winning 150-year-old recipe.
The Wyke Farms brand exports to over 160 different countries worldwide and is one of the largest family run independent cheese-makers and milk processors in the UK. Wyke Farms are committed to sustainable farming and are proud to be the UK’s first national Cheddar brand to become 100% self-sufficient in green energy. Wyke Farms sources all of its electricity and gas from both solar and biogas, generated from the farm and dairy waste. Its sustainable working practices save Wyke Farms over 20 million kilos of carbon dioxide per annum. For more information, see: wykefarms.com
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