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Why does sustainability in garden centres matter more than ever?

4 months ago by Felicity Mitchell

Environmental consciousness is becoming increasingly important, every industry is called upon to reevaluate its practices. Among these, garden centres stand out as spaces where sustainability takes on a particularly significant role. Sustainability is not just a trend, but something that needs to be taken seriously as garden centres could have a huge impact in changing practices and inspiring people to work towards a better future.

Sustainability in garden centres is not just about being that little bit more eco-friendly but I think it’s so important to recognise that these spaces have the power to not only mitigate environmental impact but to influence, teach and educate individuals including the younger generation.

At the recent GIMA conference, Mike Burks from The Gardens Group highlighted the importance of implementing sustainability in garden centres, wherever and however you can. He spoke about how The Gardens Group have already implemented guidelines for their business and where possible will follow them. Whilst it’s clear that there are massive benefits from being more sustainable such as creating a brighter future for everyone, there are also positives such as attracting the right kind of staff to your business.

I spoke to a few of my colleagues and asked them how they think garden centres could be more sustainable and the answers were very similar; no single-use plastic, solar panels, collecting rainwater for irrigation- these were just a few of their suggestions. Of course, being more sustainable will incur extra costs to businesses and in some instances, changes can’t be made overnight.

Some garden centres are embracing alternative materials for their products. For instance, a few businesses that we work with instead of traditional plastic pots, offer biodegradable options made from materials like recycled paper or plant-based plastics. These eco-friendly alternatives decompose naturally, minimising the environmental impact of discarded pots.

Water conservation is another crucial focus area for sustainable garden centres. Many are promoting water-saving techniques such as drip irrigation systems and rainwater harvesting. By demonstrating these methods to customers and offering products that facilitate water conservation, garden centres empower individuals to minimise water waste in their gardens.

Education plays a crucial role in fostering sustainable practices among customers, and garden centres are seizing the opportunity to educate and inspire. Through informative signage, workshops, and online resources, they guide on topics ranging from organic gardening techniques to eco-friendly pest control methods. By empowering customers with knowledge, garden centres encourage them to make environmentally conscious choices in their gardens.

These sustainable practices can also benefit garden centres from a marketing perspective. Embracing sustainability practices demonstrates a commitment to environmental responsibility, which can enhance the garden centre’s brand image. Customers increasingly prefer to support businesses that prioritise sustainability, leading to a positive perception of the garden centre among environmentally-conscious customers. Implementing sustainable practices can help garden centres differentiate themselves from competitors.

Ultimately, garden centres are embracing sustainability as a guiding principle in their operations. By prioritising eco-friendly practices such as responsible sourcing, water conservation, biodiversity conservation, composting, energy efficiency, and education, they are not only reducing their environmental impact but also inspiring their customers to do the same. As these green initiatives take root, garden centres are not just places to buy plants—they are becoming hubs of sustainability, nurturing both gardens and the planet.

If you would like to discuss this with me or how I can help find like-minded people for your business email or call Felicity on 01780 480 530