Aldomak is a family business, based in Glasgow, with 80 years of experience in the confectionary industry. Whether tablet, fudge or macaroon, their range is responsibly sourced and they look after their local environment by proving a home for bees and by recycling 100% of their waste.
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I’m Dario Riccomini, the managing director of Aldomak. We are a confectionery and snack manufacturer, who do contract manufacturing for other companies. We generally produce traditional Scottish confectionery and Oats-based products.
Why is sustainability so important to you and to the business?
Well, that has always been pretty close to my heart. We do only have one planet after all, and it is important that we take care of it!
What is Aldomack doing to improve or to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability as a business?
We were one of the first to go for 100% recycling before it became legislation in the UK or Scotland. There are lots of small, practical things that you can do, like consolidating deliveries, buying larger amounts and creating fewer food miles. Making sensible choices on the materials that you purchase, considering where they are coming from. Looking at the sources and making sure that they are as sustainable as they can be. The reduction of food miles is crucial for the industry because transportation is such a big issue.
How easy was that to implement?
It was quite easy to do, but you need to have sufficient storage space. Lots of manufacturing principles say you should be ordering ‘just-in-time’ so you don’t have a lot of money tied up in inventory. We don’t really subscribe to that. It’s good for cash flow, but not so good for food miles.
We prefer to order much larger runs of boxes and packaging, for example, to see through three to six months that we don’t have a truck turning up once a week. We’ve got it turning up once a quarter instead. So small practical steps like that. You need to actually have a bit of cash in your business to be able to do that.
How affordable was achieving a 100% recycling target and did you work with anyone in particular to achieve it?
It’s pretty affordable. We looked at different options, like whether we should be bailing all of our cardboard and selling it – but actually, our volume wasn’t high enough. Eventually, we went for the easy option, using a company that that does all of the recycling for us. We separate out the waste into a variety of different bins and then they take it away for processing. It only costs a little bit more than general waste collection, about £15 to £20 per uplift!
Could you tell us about your beehives on site project and what you were trying to achieve?
Biodiversity is pretty important to us. As David Attenborough said, if we didn’t have bees we would be in very serious trouble. And, having local pollinators around is critically important, as is trying to support bees as much as possible for the overall food chain. Plus, we’ve got a little bit of green space around the factory and after the beehives, the flora around us is much improved. Everything is being pollinated.
How affordable has the process of keeping bees been?
We have a company managing it for us and we have a local beekeeper who works for us too. If you don’t have a beekeeper on site (they’re quite rare) then you can employ a company to do it on your behalf as an easy option. And in terms of costs, it costs us £1,500 per year to manage the hives – and you get a few jars of honey back at the back end!
Although obviously, it’s not about the honey, it’s about improving the environment around us. The plants flower much more frequently than they did before. We’re also a very small industrial area, so as bees travel about 5-7 miles, we’ve got the added benefit of being able to pollinate everybody’s gardens around the area as well!
Our team are very much involved. Every time one of the beekeeper’s visit, someone will go out and have a look around and learn something about the bees. We are considering partnering up with a local primary school, explaining why we are doing it and educating them on why we should be protecting the bees.
Finally, what advice would you offer other small business, who are at the start of their climate change journey?
You should do it. Look for a local beekeeper and they should be able to sort you out with hives and getting a queen and to get a colony going. And you will see the benefit of it.
And likewise, with the food miles issue, have a think about what you’re doing and if there is a better way of doing it.
And cash in the bank doesn’t earn you any interest now. So, you know, why you would want to keep it?
Plan Bee has helped businesses from a variety of sectors to make their organisation as environmentally friendly as possible. The hives allow businesses to display a clear commitment to sustainability and their local community, and provide a unique brand of “Return on Involvement” with increased customers and customer loyalty as a result of the positive exposure. Find out more.
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