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As the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, Dobbies is committed to educating about the importance of soil health,
and delivering environmentally-friendly practices, products and sustainable solutions


We have been helping people have success with their gardens since 1865 and as part of that we make
it our priority to be responsible and care for our environment

We are working to improve our sustainable practices all the time and here are some of our
current targets and practices – this is a journey and we will update this policy ongoing

Join the conversation online with #sustainabledobbies


Terra Carta

We are proud supporters of #terracarta from HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative.
The Terra Carta provides a road map to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future



We are leading the way in the garden centre sector, having started our peat-free mission in 2018

We promote peat-free in our stores, to our 160k social media followers and 600k members

Our aim is to be 100% peat-free during 2021.

We offer peat-free compost and reduced peat compost, with more peat-free products launching in 2021

Our own-brand, peat-free compost is one of our best sellers

Dobbies has a pricing policy that makes peat-free alternatives attractive for customers

Many of our suppliers are members of the Growing Media Association (GMA), a body that works closely 
with DEFRA and is striving to meet the Government’s aim of continuing to reduce peat usage

We are continually looking for peat-free alternatives that still provide outstanding growing performance


Garden products

We will offer organic alternatives in all categories of chemicals and fertilisers, where they are available, and where we are confident that they produce good results

We promote mulching, composting, water conservation and other sustainable gardening methods

We offer biochar products from Carbon Gold – 
Carbon Gold Biochar Fertiliser and Biochar Soil Improver 
– and we were the first leading garden centre 
to stock these products



We have worked with our nursery suppliers to 
produce a roadmap towards peat free plants 
with a reduction in peat use each year

We aim to source 80% from UK nurseries

We promote British plants in order 
to reduce plant miles

We promote wildlife friendly plants, hedging and 
plants for birds, bees and butterflies and have 
supported the Butterfly Conservation with 
their spring gardening campaign



We monitor and manage water use at our garden centres

At some stores, we harvest rainwater for 
watering of the plant stock

We share information with customers on how 
to water their plants in a responsible way

We encourage sustainable watering methods in 
our press releases and social media activity


Pots & Trays

We offer a customer pot and tray 
return service, that ensures they do not 
end up in landfill

We are committed to increasing 
recyclable plant pots and reducing the 
use of single use plastics

We are moving away from black pots 
as these are not able to be collected kerbside 
for recycling

We offer a range of houseplants 
in coir pots which have been very popular 
in stores and online



We collaborate with specialist waste 
management experts to improve our on-site 
recycling and diversion from landfill

We recycle all wood, metal, plastics, 
cardboard and polyethene

A garden centre first, are launching 
compost bag recycling in 10 of our stores, 
in partnership with Evergreen Garden 
Products Ltd.

We are also launching a plastic pot recycling 
scheme in partnership with Elho


FSC timber and outdoor living

It is 100% FSC wood in our own brand outdoor 
furniture ranges

All our wooden outdoor furniture products have 
been sustainably sourced and hold legal 
certification for origin of source

We are working to drive out single use plastic 
in our protective packaging, replacing with 
suitable materials that can be recycled

Where possible, we use a mix of recycled and 
non-recycled resin in our resin wicker products

We are always researching more eco-friendly material combinations across fabrics and hard materials


Pest and weed control

We offer a safer range of pest control products, to reduce the impact on beneficial garden insects and wildlife

We do not stock weedkillers that contain glyphosate or slug killers that contain metaldehyde – we were the first in the market to remove glyphosate-based weedkillers

Rodenticides have been delisted


Carrier Bags

We only offer recyclable carrier bags

Donations from the purchase of bags are made to our National Charity Partner, Teenage Cancer Trust


Little Seedlings

We will be launching a refreshed approach for our Little Seedlings programme in 2021

For more information visit Little Seedlings


Our suppliers

We work with our supply chain to reduce environmental impact and improve ethical behaviours

We make it our responsibility to assess our suppliers and make sure they’re introducing best practices - if they’re not as green as they could be, we work with them to bring them in line with our sustainability roadmap

We have a 60% reduction in supplier road miles through our supply chain solution with Wincanton

We have recyclable packaging targets set for all suppliers; bird food is already 100%

We are aiming for 100% Sedex membership by FY22

We use environmentally-friendly packaging on all items delivered to customers


Home and gifting

100% of our own brand production in spa, textiles and décor is undertaken in Smeta or BSCI audited factories

40% of our own brand candles and room fragrance, and 50% of our textiles are manufactured in UK to reduce carbon footprint

We have increased our range growth with brands such as L’Occitane and Treat Republic who champion sustainability and ethical manufacturing

We are increasing the range of soy and natural wax candles from 9% to 60% of the range

In FY21 we will eliminate single use plastic and actively work with suppliers to reduce packaging by at least 25%


Pet and birdcare

We have transferred 100% of Dobbies own-label bird food into  recyclable packaging = 50,000 bags per annum

We have introduced sustainable products covering 5% of ranged lines

New brands have been introduced that use plant-based and ethically sourced materials and ingredients


Our stores and offices

We keep our daily energy use to a minimum by lowering our energy requirements and, where possible, generating our own renewable energy

We have LED lighting in all stores

Biofuel currently provides 50% of our heating requirement. Biofuel heating is installed as standard in the most recent generation of new-build stores, providing 50% of heat requirement with corresponding reduction in natural gas use and CO2 emissions

We have an environmental management system that gives stores an 
individual target for reducing their energy and water use

Junk mail and non-sensitive paper waste is recycled. Shredded confidential 
paperwork is also recycled

Envelopes are reused where possible for internal use

Used electrical items are recycled in accordance with the WEEE

Print cartridges are recycled

Point of Sale is produced relative to the size of each centre to ensure 
that we do not print more than is necessary



Our restaurants offer healthy light snacks, low fat or fat free products as well as vegan and vegetarian options

We offer low salt options

We endeavour to cater for all food allergies and preferences

We do not offer straws

All takeaway products are fully recyclable

We have both compostable takeaway cups and reusable cups - 
we offer 25p off all refills

Used fat is collected for recycling


Supporting charities and communities

Our National Charity Partner is Teenage Cancer Trust and we have donated over £1m to this amazing cause

We supply gardening content for the Stroke Association’s My Stroke Guide, and collaborate on their gardening campaigns

We are the official partner for Butterfly Conservation’s Nurture 
for Nature campaign 2021

We have partnered with Too Good To Go to minimise food waste

We have launched Helping Your Community Grow. For more info, click here

For more information on how we are supporting local charities and initiatives, visit Dobbies in the community


healthy soil this spring with #sustainabledobbies

Healthy soil plays a vital role in allowing your garden to flourish. Not only does soil allow plants to thrive, but it also provides a great habitat for biodiversity, attracting a whole host of wildlife to your green space.

Gardeners can also play their part in creating a more sustainable world through their soil, and natural ways of nourishment are always best. By implementing just a few simple steps you can keep your soil happy and healthy –
and your plot, and the planet, will thank you for it.

Follow our five tips to supercharge your soil at home.

1. Make your own compost

Home composting is a free and satisfying way to improve your soil. If it is sandy, compost will add bulk, and if your soil is heavy with clay, compost will help break it up. Most gardens also can accommodate a compost heap or bin. Make it up with equal parts ‘greens’, such as weeds, grass clippings and vegetable peelings, and ‘browns’ such as paper, card or twigs.

2. Preserve peat

Peat was a traditional ingredient in bags of compost, but now we are all much more aware of the damage that this does to peat habitats. When left in place, peat stores carbon and protects against climate change. We’re doing our bit to preserve peat with a range of new highly effective peat-free composts – aiming to be 90% peat-free this year, and 100% from 2022.

3. Attract worms

For soil health, worms are your friends! They eat rotting organic material and provide natural fertiliser. As they burrow, oxygen routes are created, allowing water to reach your plant roots. Mulching with manure or compost or Coco Chip will make your garden attractive to worms.

4. Grow manure

‘Green manure’ are plants that you simply chop down after they’ve grown, leave to wilt and then dig in to the soil where they release vital nutrients. Good manure plants include buckwheat, fenugreek, mustard plants and crimson clover.

5. Use organic plant feeds

Fertilisers support plants at critical times, such as during the spring when they are bursting into growth or summer when they hopefully blooming or growing at their best. They’re really essential in containers where liquid feed is best suited as well as beds and borders when pelleted feeds are easiest to apply. Read the instructions carefully to ensure that you feed the correct amounts at the right intervals.

Shopping list

Here are some products that can be found at your local Dobbies which can support your soil:

Miracle-Gro performance organics all-purpose plant food, £6.49
Coco Chip coir mulch 4.5kg, £14.99 (in store)
Organic chicken manure pellets 2.25kg, £5.99

Miracle-Gro peat-free range 40L, £6.99 or 2 for £12 (mix and match) (in store)

We are proud to support #TerraCarta from HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative. The Terra Carta provides a road map to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future.

For more information on our Sustainability Policy: www.dobbies.com/sustainability-policy

For our Sustainable Gardening podcast: www.dobbies.com/podcasts



At Dobbies, we are committed to educating about the importance of soil health and delivering environmentally-friendly practices and products, and sustainable solutions.

We have a Sustainability Policy which outlines all the work we are doing in this area – this is a journey for our team and we will add and develop this policy on an ongoing basis.

A key part of our sustainability pledge is to reduce the use of peat, plastics and pesticides in our product range. The team are on track with the commitment made in 2020 to be 90% peat free in 2021 and 100% peat-free in 2022. We have also worked with our nursery suppliers to produce a roadmap for an annual reduction in peat use.

We are launching a number of new sustainable products in store and online. This includes biochar products from Carbon Gold – Carbon Gold Biochar Fertiliser and Biochar Soil Improver - with Dobbies being the first leading garden centre to stock these products.

Carbon Gold’s biochar products are 100% peat and chemical-free and Soil Association organic approved, and are used by professionals the world over, including conventional and organic crop growers, tree care specialists and even elite sports greenkeepers.

Biochar is so high in carbon that adding it to soil permanently sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere. In fact, biochar acts like natural magic in the garden, with significant and permanent benefits proven to boost the health and vitality of plants.

A garden centre first, in the next month we will launch compost bag recycling in store, in partnership with Evergreen. This will initially launch in 10 stores, with further roll out planned in 2021. New pot recycling stations will also be installed, building on the success of the pot return scheme, as well as a commitment to increasing recyclable plant pots and single use plastics.

As part of #sustaintabledobbies, there is additional focus on the safer range of pest control products, to reduce the impact on beneficial garden insects and wildlife. We do not stock weedkillers that contain glyphosate or slug killers that contain metaldehyde, and rodenticides have been delisted.

We are also proud supporters of Terra Carta from HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Market Initiative – helping make the UK a greener place.