The Grove of Narberth, an award-winning boutique hotel in Pembrokeshire, is challenging the Welsh tourism industry to take its lead and redirect a proportion of its supply chain spend in 2019 into businesses which deliver social impact.
This follows the announcement that the Grove of Narberth has signed an agreement with Welsh social enterprise, The Good Wash Company, to exclusively stock their ethical wash and lifestyle brand within each of its individually and luxuriously designed hotel bathroom suites.
The luxury Michelin recommended 4 star hotel has been using the same private supplier for the last few years but has decided to revise its purchasing strategy following a meeting last year with social entrepreneur and co-founder of The Good Wash Company, Mandy Powell.
Zoe Kedward, director at The Grove said:
“We have made the decision to move to a higher quality Welsh product with a social ethos because it fits with our brand and has more sense of place than our previous product, as well as supporting my own personal drive to reduce single plastic usage, protecting the planet and supporting worthwhile causes.
“We have already found in the short time of the partnership, sales of Good Wash products have exceeded our previous supplier, generating greater profits, 50% of which are being donated to our local animal rescue in Pembrokeshire, Greenacres.
“The move to partnering with Good Wash, is part of our long term Green strategy. We have built our business trying to minimise our impact on the planets resources. Having already installed water filtering with glass bottles for guests, in the last two years our focus has been on reducing single use plastic in our businesses, we no longer use plastic straws, plastic backed drink mats, plastic stirrers, and have looked at solutions for reducing other plastic consumables.
“Mandy came up with a great idea the “Bobbin Bowl” to remove plastic encased sewing kits from rooms. Between us, we have come up with a solution for reducing the number of small plastic amenity bottles utilised. We hope that by reducing the amount of single use bottles taken from hotel rooms, we balance the increased cost of moving to a superior Welsh niche product, that our guests love.”
Glenn Bowen, Director for Enterprise at the Wales Co-operative Centre, said:
“This deal between the Grove and Good Wash shows there is a real willingness from the private sector to be inclusive and look beyond the traditional routes of procurement. However, this type of trading isn’t happening regularly enough between the two sectors and a lot of it comes down to perception.
“As the leading development agency for the sector in Wales, we will be working hard over the next 12 months with private companies and public bodies to show them the value of trading with social businesses and supporting them with any barriers they face with their procurement processes.”
The Good Wash Company began trading in October 2017 with the support of the Social Business Wales project funded by the European Regional development Fund and welsh Government. To date, the enterprise has generated enough income to fund a youth homeless helpline for day; a maternity unit at a homeless rescue centre for dogs and created volunteering opportunities for over 30 people.
Mandy Powell, Co-founder of The Good Wash Company, said:
“We wanted to create a line of wash products that had a social conscience but did not compromise luxury and quality. The partnership with the Grove of Narberth is a real game changer for us because they choose us on a pure business merit. They wanted a product which would support the Seren Collection ethos, ethically sourced, natural ingredients and products that would improve their customer experience. We would love other businesses to afford us the same luxury – which is to believe in social enterprises in terms of quality, delivery and to compete on a level playing field.”
The Social Business Wales project provides targeted support to co-operatives and social enterprises to enable them to grow. Around 370 new jobs have been created since the project’s inception, with a third of those individuals being previously unemployed.