• Green Policy

    Green Policy

At Millbrook we’re proud to have a green policy and do what we can to be an environmentally friendly garden centre. In 2024 we were awarded with The Paul Cooling Environment & Sustainability Award, given to the UK garden centre with the most eco-friendly practices. We're the first to win this new trophy awarded for our Planet Positive approach to green sourcing, recycling, re-using rainwater and choice of environmentally conscious products. Read on to find out how we're doing our bit, and our plans for a more Planet Positive future.

Creating a Brighter Future with Planet Mark

We have partnered with Planet Mark, an internationally-recognised sustainability certification, to help us measure and reduce our carbon footprint and impact on the environment - a key step in tackling the climate crisis.

Through Planet Mark we are protecting an area of endangered rainforest thanks to Cool Earth; a charity working alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation. Our pledge through Cool Earth goes directly towards supporting the Asháninka community in Central Peru. We are also supporting the Eden Project – an educational charity building connections with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work together towards a better future.

Aiming to be Carbon neutral by 2030

Working with Planet Mark we aim to to reduce our annual CO2 emissions by at least 2.5% per year. As well as investing in greener ways to generate energy we are involving our team to set targets, identify areas for improvement and support action through our sustainability champions.

  What have we achieved so far? 

  What's next? 

  • Reduced our carbon emissions by 27.5% between 2022 and 2023.  
  • Switched to green energy provider, EDF green tariff. 
  • Replaced all lights with LED bulbs by 2020. 
  • Converted all cooking equipment at Staplehurst from gas to electric in 2022. 
  • Fitted energy saving PIR movement sensors and auto switch off plugs where appropriate.
  • Replaced 2 of 3 forklift trucks with electric versions in 2023. 
  • Added additional solar panels to Gravesend in August 2023 generating 22,156 kWh electricity in 2023. On track to produce 37% of our own energy at Gravesend in 2024
  • Trained all Millbrook drivers to drive efficiently to save fuel. Ensured new vehicles are fuel efficient and in low CO2 tax band.
  • Sharing car journeys between sites and other work locations. Encouraging staff to use public transport, bike or walk. 
  • No longer flying for buying trips to Europe, opting for train travel instead.
  • Planning application for solar panels submitted for Staplehurst - aiming to install in Summer 2024. 
  • Insulate roof at Staplehurst in Summer 2024. 
  • In Summer 2024 replace gas fired heaters and old domestic boilers at Staplehurst with energy efficient central gas boilers. This is set to be easily upgraded to Air Source Heat Pumps in future. 
  • Install further solar panels at Gravesend in 2025. 
  • Switch from gas heating or to central efficient heating at Gravesend in 2026. 
  • Review of refrigeration requirement across the business.  
  • Considering all forms of renewable energy, for instance biomass boiler, solar and wind generation. We aim to generate 25% of our energy need through renewables. 





No waste to landfill

We've already achieved this goal, but we're working hard to ensure we keep reducing and recycling as much of our waste as possible.

  What have we achieved so far?   What's next?
  • From 2022 switched waste provider to ensure no waste goes to landfill - anything not recycled is used to create energy for a local power plant. 
  • Maximise recycling - working with green champions to train and monitor the teams to ensure as much as possible is recycled. 
  • Offering customer pot recycling from 2022. 
  • Offering customer compost bag recycling from 2023. 
  • Encouraging customers to recycle by promoting composting.
  • Using fully recycled paper for all signage, photocopier and printer paper. 
  • Paper free processes in admin departments.
  • Quarterly recycling training programme with all staff. 
  • Actively choosing products with less or no packaging eg food, bird food, refillable compost from Spring 2024. 






Being water wise

We use water carefully, capturing rainfall and recycling as much as we can.

  What have we achieved so far?   What's next?
  • Replacement of all plant display benches in early 2023 to flood benches which reduce watering requirement.  
  • Removal of overhead irrigation – watering as and when needed from early 2023. 
  • Harvesting rainwater for irrigation. Rainwater recycled at Gravesend from 2016 onwards. 
  • Ensuring our irrigation systems are well maintained to minimise leaks and wastage.
  • Encouraging customers to save water by offering a range of water-saving products, ideas for their garden and advice on drought-resistant gardening.
  • Install new rainwater harvesting tanks at Staplehurst Summer 2024. 
  • Offer a wider range of water saving solutions to customers from Spring 2024. 
  • Considering water saving and capture measures in any new developments.


Selling environmentally responsible products

We promise to keep reviewing all our products, across all departments, with the aim to minimise their environmental impact.

  What have we achieved?   What's next?
  • We are accredited members of the Responsible Sourcing Scheme.
  • No peat based composts from 2023 onwards. 
  • No synthetic pesticides from 2022 onwards. 
  • No astro turf from 2022.
  • No glyphosphate based weedkiller from 2022. 
  • Offering natural and organic alternatives to fertilisers and chemicals. 
  • No single use plastic items at Christmas eg crackers, cards, decorations from 2021. 
  • Encouraging Taupe Pot usage by suppliers.
  • All Millbrook Designer Pots planted with peat-free compost from early 2023. 
  • Food and drink from over 47 local suppliers in our Food Hall, by the end of 2023. 
  • Food in our cafes that is seasonal and locally sourced. At least 50% of our food comes from local suppliers.
  • More sustainable gardening solutions in all departments from Spring 2023. 
  • Selling locally-sourced and British plants wherever possible.
  • All of our wood products are FSC or similar certified. 
  • Monthly Planet Positive communication to the Millbrook Family.  
  • Encouraging the use of re-useable bags and donating all profit to charity.
  • Review of buying guidelines and policies in Spring 2024 to set new targets focusing on reducing plastic and packaging, locally sourced, natural materials, organic and sustainable gardening practices. 
  • Continue to actively look for environmentally-friendly and ethically-sourced products. 
  • Create plant based menu and offer in cafes from Spring 2024. 
  • Switch to Fairtrade Forest Alliance coffee from Spring 2024.  
  • Reduce / remove plastic garden décor items by end 2024. 
  • Source more plants from local growers and UK growers – working towards peat-free growing in line with government targets. 
  • Promote at least one 'green' option in each product area.














Inspiring change

We believe garden centres have a huge part to play in changing behaviour and inspiring a greener approach to gardening. We aim to educate and empower staff, customers, suppliers and the wider industry to be more planet positive.

  What have we achieved so far?   What's next?
  • Through our commitment to Planet Mark we are helping the Eden Project – an educational charity building connections with each other and the living world, exploring how we can work together towards a better future.
  • Horticultural training with plant teams covering chemical and peat-free gardening.  
  • Our Planet Positive logo and green bee icon highlight more eco-friendly product options where applicable in-store.
  • Communicating our Green Policy to customers and staff via noticeboards, website and signage.
  • Monthly Planet Positive emails and messages with eco-friendly product options, tips and ideas.
  • Monthly gardening talks and workshops focusing on sustainable gardening techniques. 
  • Highlighting the benefits of gardening and plants to health, wildlife and the planet throughout our centres. 
  • Promoting the importance of wildlife by educating people on how to encourage wildlife into their gardens.
  • Encouraging greener gardening projects through customer 'how to' guides and information boards on topics such as composting and rainwater harvesting.
  • We have created an eco house in each of our centres, demonstrating how to garden in a Planet Positive way. For example, save energy, clean the air, grow your own, be water wise, care for wildlife etc.
  • Increase training with our teams to ensure sound gardening advice given to customers following the RHS hierarchy of harm.  
  • Work with local schools and groups to encourage children to garden, investing in greener gardeners of the future. 










Millbrook Garden Centres – Striving to be greener.

Updated March 2024.