Case Study Harlow Printing Wildlife Garden

Harlow Printing has been certified to ISO14001 Environmental Standards since 1998. For more than 20 years, we have done everything possible to achieve minimal impact and sustainability throughout our supply chain.

In 2008 we purchased a new, 35,000 square foot factory in South Shields, providing Warehousing & Distribution facilities and giving our customers the option of a full print managed service. The factory was built on two acres of land, nicely lawned, well maintained and pleasing to the eye but totally ineffective in relation to providing a habitat for flora, fauna and wildlife in decline: our vision was to create one.

With an amount of £10,000 agreed and funded by Harlow Printing, we approached Groundwork in early 2009 to help with the design, development and the technical aspects of creating a wildlife garden based on biodiversity criteria.

In addition, we put together an environmental committee, made up of employees, as part of our plan to look at our manufacturing processes which were creating a major environmental impact as well as the little things we do every day which contribute to climate change. The team were invited to work with Groundwork in the design of the wildlife garden and following several meetings, the final plan was agreed in February 2009.

Although we had committed £10,000 to the project, we believed that to be really successful we needed to double the funding. In a period of global recession, doubling the amount from our own resources would have been a big ask, so, with the assistance of Groundwork, we applied for a grant from County Durham Environmental Trust (CDENT). Following a presentation and several meetings, we were able to persuade CDENT that our project was beneficial to both the environment and the local community and, as a result, they agreed to match our funding, giving us a total of £20,000.

From the beginning, we wanted to encourage local schools and other businesses committed to environmental improvement to get involved. With this in mind we contacted Blueventure, the South Tyneside Business & Education Partnership, who liaised with schools on our behalf, and involved them in our planting programme. ITC, a local IT company, already partnering with schools, provided saplings for inclusion in our hedgerow. The planting of the larger tress were left with Groundwork.

The garden is now well established, with meadow like grass, a pond, a bridge, rustic seats, beehives and log piles, which provide a natural habitat for hedgehogs and bugs over winter.

We realise our wildlife garden won’t save the world and won’t really have a significant impact on global warming, but, if every organisation created an area in their factories dedicated to supporting indigenous flora and fauna, the cumulative impact would be beneficial to us all.