Bord na Móna has revealed plans to significantly increase its focus in the UK retail market over the next year as it readies for Brexit with the opening of a new distribution site in Cambridge. The news follows the company’s recent restructure as it decarbonises its business in Ireland and moves away from peat harvesting for energy and towards ‘greener’, more environmentally friendly alternatives.
The Irish company, which manufactures peat-free and peat-reduced composts and other growing media, currently exports its own-label and branded products to over 30 countries worldwide, with recent developments opening up new opportunities throughout the UK.
Steve Harper, head of commercial and marketing for Bord na Móna UK, said: “Our Irish roots will always remain at the core of the business, but with the reduction in peat usage and the uncertainty of Brexit looming it’s only sensible that we look to up-weight our trading focus in the UK – a market that has brought positive sales growth for us in recent years.”
In 2017, Bord na Móna acquired White Moss Horticulture, one of the largest green waste composting companies in the UK. The acquisition was the company’s first step towards mitigating the risks of Brexit, enabling a highly-improved logistics structure while further investing in the UK’s most modern growing media facility, all to meet with rising demand from British stockists.
Steve Harper added: “Bringing White Moss on board allowed us to strengthen our position with new supply chain, manufacturing, storage and distribution sites. This year will see the upsizing of White Moss which, together with the addition of our new distribution site, will help to facilitate increased volumes of production and distribution across the UK.”
Bord na Móna has already moved significant volumes of stock over to the UK to ensure continued control and complete confidence in its service, whatever the outcome of Brexit.
Whilst 2018 was a relatively flat year for growing media according to GfK data, Bord na Móna has said it has experienced double digit growth supported by its purchase of White Moss. The business is now accelerating its investment programme in the UK to maximise its opportunities whilst aligning itself with government strategy to use less peat.