In this age of corporate responsibility, every business needs to make big changes to cater for the critical needs of the planet. In the midst of COP26, sustainability should be at the forefront of the minds of all forward-thinking enterprises.

Johnstons of Elgin, a world-renowned Scottish business specialising in premium cashmere and lambswool, has been pursuing a very active programme of sustainability for a number of years. By the end of 2019, Johnstons had achieved its objective to operate its woollen mills with 100% renewable energy. Its other commitments to sustainability include projects to recapture energy from hot water and methods of reducing the temperature of the water used in its processes. Furthermore, Johnstons has committed to continuing to operate locally as much as possible, meaning that dyeing, blending, finishing and folding is carried out in one location without clocking up lots of air, ship and road miles.

In what has been described as a ‘360-degree approach’, Johnstons' efforts to improve its manufacturing processes, and ethical working practices have justly been recognised and rewarded. In a ceremony at the Elgin mill’s own Garvald Gardens, the Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Major General the Honourable Seymour Monro CBE LVO, presented the Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainability to the brand. This is the fourth time Johnstons has received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise - previously awarded for Export Achievements.

Among other things, Johnstons received the award for its commitments to:

  • the elimination of all hazardous chemicals in its production processes
  • the implementation of a sustainable grassland management training programme
  • co-founding a non-profit Sustainable Fibre Alliance to regenerate the land and support the welfare of animals in cashmere-producing regions
  • reducing waste materials by 97%

MacRoberts is very proud and delighted to congratulate one of our long-standing clients on its tremendous work, commitment and action to make sustainable thinking and sustainability a reality in its business. Johnstons of Elgin epitomises the essential mantra of COP26 – ‘Action, not just words’.

This article was co-written by Jamie McGowan, Trainee Solicitor.