Sustainability Spotlight: The Bull Inn, Totnes

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Food Drink Devon
Posted on
21 Nov 2022

In December our Sustainability Spotlight is shining on the very first winner of the Food Drink Devon Sustainability Pioneer Award for Hospitality – The Bull Inn, Totnes.

We launched the Sustainability Pioneer Award in association with the Met Office in 2022 to recognise strong and effective sustainable activities being practised by food and drink businesses across Devon.

We looked for three key things 1. new initiatives and innovations 2. commitment to sustainability running through the business, and 3. how these initiatives are communicated and shared within and beyond the business in order to inspire others?

The Bull Inn opened its doors in Rotherfold Square in December 2019. Owner Geetie Singh-Watson, Managing Director, Phillipa Hughes and Head Chef Johnny Tillbrook together developed the Bull’s business model and Philosophies to create a truly excellent organic, ethical pub.

We spoke to Phillipa about their ethos and their No Bull Rules!

What have you done to make your business more environmentally friendly? 

We started the business determined from Day 1 to operate it in the most radically ethical way possible, so we are constantly improving and refining the way we do things, whether its the products we buy, the systems we use or the companies we work with. We have a triumvirate of ‘No Bull Rules’ which we operate the business by and they are exactly that, rules, which cover how we trade, dine and work. So no greenwash!

(Their No Bull Rules are worth a read HERE:
No Bull Rules to Dine By, No Bull Rules to Trade By and the No Bull Rules to Work By)

These rules range from choosing certified first when purchasing goods (food, wine, bed linen etc) to only using green energy suppliers and not buying from tax dodgers. They are about embedding really thought-through behaviours and principles into every aspect of our business.

We also think about the Triple Bottom Line a lot, sometimes called People, Planet, Profit. That’s a good way to approach your business if you really want to make a positive impact.

There is so much more to being genuinely environmentally and socially ethical than just recycling.

What would you like to change in the future to improve your sustainability credentials further?

From a ‘credentials’ point of view, I think that becoming a BCorp would help those not familiar with us, to immediately understand how committed we are to operating in the best way for both people and planet.

It’s the most well known ethical independent audit and accrediation, so that is our next natural step when it comes to credentials.

What tips do you have for other businesses that would like to become more sustainable?

  • Question how you do business.
  • Ask yourself whether you are making the best possible choices you can make, and if you’re not, find ways to make better ones if you can.
  • One thing I would say is that sometimes it’s much simpler to make a bold choice than fiddle about at the edges.

Our top tips would be…

  • Choose a green energy supplier.
  • Be rigourous in your procurement.
  • Speak to your team. They are always going to be one of your biggest sources of ideas of how to make your business more efficient and more sustainable on a day-to-day basis.
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