Gilda Sustainability Policy
We’re very excited to have recently reached our first anniversary. Our Gilda ethos surrounds solid values, with sustainability being at the forefront. We remain conscious of our environmental footprint and constantly review and reflect on our sustainability practices. What are our priorities, progress and future plans?
We are currently reviewing our carbon footprint and looking at ways to improve on this. We recognise that energy use is one of our most significant contributions and have consciously implemented new energy-saving actions to the bakery, as well as looking at ways in which we can reduce our consumption and offset our emissions.
Refrigeration – we’ve recently upgraded our refrigeration facilities to include new, A++-rated units. We carefully manage our stock levels to ensure they run efficiently.
Bakery Ovens – all our ovens were brand new in 2022 and are some of the most energy efficient in the world.
Lighting – all our lighting was all upgraded in 2022, we use LED energy-efficient lighting with automated sensors.
Heating and cooling – It’s essential for our sourdough products that a consistent temperature is maintained within the bakery. Fortunately, our building stays at a relatively constant temperature, which is excellent in summer. However, we are looking to improve our effective insulation, which will significantly help within the colder months when we would typically have to rely on artificial heating to ensure the quality of our product.
Keeping it Local!
We are lucky to be located in an established small community of like-minded businesses in rural Kent, just outside Canterbury.
This idyllic location encourages cyclists & dog walkers to drop into the bakery and shop/ stop at the neighbouring independent businesses. Our location encourages footfall of the low-emission kind, something that we promote.
Where possible, we work with local suppliers, which contributes to lower emissions due to distances travelled, while also supporting our local community both in terms of employment and growth.
Our local suppliers include:
Woodland Eggs – a local company producing high-quality free-range eggs.
Hinxden Dairy – a family-run, high-quality local dairy farm.
Worgans butcher – our neighbours, right next door to the bakery.
Our flour is from a little further afield – from Shipton Mill in Gloucestershire. This traditional mill produces excellent organic flour with consistency of quality, and we have chosen to work with them because of this. Their values and ethos align with ours, meaning we can produce the best quality products for our customers. We order in bulk to save on our food miles. We are talking with a local flour producer based just 6 miles away in Nonnington and are looking at ways to incorporate their flour into our products for special, smaller-batch productions.
Most of our business comes from our retail customers – about 60%, many of whom live close to the bakery. We focus on supporting the local economy, encouraging locals to visit the bakery, and selling our products at Faversham Market on Fridays and Saturdays. Because most of our business is local, we produce our bakes in small batches to not create masses of food waste while meeting the needs of our customers.
The remainder of our business comes from working with like-minded companies with the same values. We have built great relationships with Macknade, a local, family-run food hall in Faversham and Gibson’s farm shop – a family-run farm shop just 5 miles from us, and restaurants, cafes and pubs in the local area. By working with local businesses, we can meet the demand with quick and efficient delivery, while also being able to optimise our delivery routes to monitor our carbon footprint and reduce our food miles.
Our bread is made fresh on-site every day. We collate our orders and supplier deliveries weekly to meet their demand. We have chosen to work within a 15-mile radius, with Faversham being the furthest we travel to monitor our food miles. Although delivery is essential to our business, we remain conscious of our carbon footprint and how we can improve it in the future. We are looking into low-emission alternatives to replace the van we currently use.
We have been monitoring our sales over the year and can now determine how much product we will need to meet the demands of our customers. We make our bread and pastries fresh every day in small batches to ensure we don’t end up with lots of food waste. However, on the occasional day when we have food left over, we try to ensure it doesn’t go to waste. We reuse our extra sourdough to make croutons and encourage our staff to take home anything we can’t reuse. We are currently building relationships with local food banks and will soon be trialling ‘Too Good To Go’.
We’re early in our journey and open to learning as much as possible from the people who have been around a bit longer than us. We’re proud members of Produced in Kent, and we’re just in the process of signing up with the Sustainable Restaurant Association and completing their ‘Food Made Good 50’ tool to help us assess where we are and how we can make improvements in the future.
We don’t have a huge team, with less than 10 – but we recognise how vital it is to employ locally and to look after and value our extraordinary people.
We listen to ideas, value each other and work well as a family. Our products are a result of our hard work and determination but also our wider community, our customers at the bakery, partners and suppliers. Our sustainable employee culture means our employees are always engaged and can bring their creativity to the table daily.