Plant Heritage Sustainability Statement

Our positive contribution to sustainability

Sustainability is at the core of Plant Heritage’s work.

Our charity was founded in 1978 to conserve and cherish garden plants for the future. Today, our work is more important than ever. Conservation of a diverse range of plants underpins our resilience to a changing world, including the challenges of environmental and climate change, pests and diseases and biodiversity loss. Our conservation work is carried out in line with our five-year strategy with four aims:

  1. to increase the number of cultivated plants conserved through the National Plant Collections® and the Plant Guardians® scheme, with a focus on rare and endangered plants through our Threatened Plants Programme;
  2. to develop and maintain good standards of curation;
  3. to inform and engage others with our conservation work;
  4. to influence global thinking on issues around plant conservation.

Reducing and removing any negative impact: We are committed to reducing and, where possible, eliminating any negative environmental impact from our activities. Our work is delivered through a small team of staff working with our network of members, including volunteers, local groups and National Collection® holders and Plant Guardians.

Growing and conserving plants: We will encourage all our members to adopt sustainable growing practices. Many already do, and some are involved in groundbreaking research (e.g. alternatives to peat for special plants and harnessing the genetic information in National Plant Collections to help inform plans for adaptation to climate change). Some advice on plant conservation, including avoiding the spread of pests, is available here. We will discourage use of pesticides, and encouraging other sustainable practices like rainwater harvesting. We support the transition to sustainable growing media, with a limited exemption for use of peat with specialist plants grown for conservation and research until proven alternatives are available (more information on our Peat Statement are available here). We have provided workshops and talks for Collection Holders and members on alternatives to peat, including with the RHS and Melcourt Industries (more information on the Responsible Sourcing Scheme for Growing Media are available here)

Office: Our small office is rented from the RHS Wisley, who have an ambitious sustainability strategy for the site, including to improve public transport options and energy efficiency. We will continue to reduce our paper usage and favour recycled paper from certified sustainable sources. We also recycle as much of our waste as possible, including food waste.

Events (e.g. plant fairs, workshops, talks):  Some of these events take place online, some in-person and some adopt a hybrid approach. We will encourage staff and members to make use of public transport for travel to events where possible, and to minimise waste by adopting the reduce/reuse/recycle approach, especially to plastic waste like plant pots and labels. We will share best practice across groups to encourage wider take-up.

eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.