Which company in the UK is run by a former new age traveller, based in Stroud, started by building one windmill, owns a League 2 football club and employs 800 staff with a turnover of around £150M? The answer is Ecotricity. I spent a fascinating morning with them last Friday, mainly at their football club, Forest Green Rovers, eating a vegan breakfast. By the way they are the first vegan football club in the UK and serve no animal products within the ground. Opposition supporters do, apparently, smuggle in sausage rolls from the local baker and delight in taking selfies eating the same! Fairly childish I agree, but probably fun for them!
Ecotricity is one of those ground-breaking businesses that is leading the way in changing the world for better. All their energy is now 100% solar, wind or landfill-generated and they are a thorn in the side of the larger electricity companies that frankly are being put to shame by their 21st century dynamic. Dale Vince, the founder, when asked about the best moment of his career with Ecotricity replied, “Our parties are legendary”! Not only being a company that is good for the environment, I heard that the people who work there are in a fun and life-generating environment. Electric cars are available for staff who want to borrow them, and indeed, on Friday I had my first ever journey in an electric car between their office and Forest Green Rovers, who incidentally won 4-1 on Saturday to virtually secure their League Two status. (A few weeks ago, I put down a deposit for my first electric car, which is not available to order until the end of this year.)
So, what was I, as the Chief Exec of a speciality food wholesaler doing at an electricity company? Well, part of our business purpose is to encourage the “greening” of our supply chain, both upstream to our suppliers and downstream to our customers. Ecotricity, being a 21st century business, are happy to work with us in partnership to do this and give attractive commercial terms to the many other businesses in our network who want to become more environmentally-friendly. Partnerships like this are, I believe essential as we in the speciality food world lead the way. We have the best-tasting products. We often have the best stories and the best-looking products. We now need to ensure that our products are best for the world too. Do not be left behind!
Now off to launch our Christmas range with our team – why does it come round so quickly?!