For Onion Collective, a renewable energy supply is a business essential

We hear from the social enterprise about why Good Energy was the right fit for them.

Onion Collective is a female-led social enterprise concerned with demonstrating a better economy in action; one that connects people with place and with each other to create strong communities and tackle the social and environmental problems facing society. Good Energy supplies their offices and a groundbreaking biomanufacturing facility, among other sites.

Formed in 2013 in Watchet, Somerset, the collective works closely with the community to deliver sustainable developments with tangible benefits for the town. Whether that’s through providing local jobs and community spaces, boosting tourism, or developing a new green manufacturing facility that brings the town’s proud industrial heritage into a new era.

A green industrial revolution

When Watchet’s 250-year-old paper mill closed in 2015, hundreds of local people lost their jobs – and the town lost a core part of its identity. Onion Collective spent 18 months finding a replacement industry that was right for the town and its industrial history while being truly sustainable. They landed on biomanufacturing; a developing strand of the green economy that can combat waste and cut carbon emissions.

In a joint venture with biomanufacturing company Biohm, Onion Collective leased part of the papermill site to develop Biomill Watchet. The Biomill uses industrial and farm waste from nearby businesses as a feedstock for growing mycelium, which is then used to make natural, highly efficient insulation panels. The insulation will be sold on to building developments in the region.

By turning refuse into resources that benefit the local community, Biomill Watchet is an example of circular, regenerative thinking in action.

Why Good Energy was a natural partner

Good Energy supplies Onion Collective’s offices, as well as projects including the Boat Museum and Visitor Centre and Biomill Watchet. Sally Lowndes is one of the team of Directors of Onion Collective and explains that the organisation has “always known about Good Energy”. Our way of sourcing energy and supporting independent generators reflects their own commitment to creating a greener world.

“We are part of the movement for a circular economy, so having a renewable energy supply is an essential part of that package. We want to support better systems that will enable us to thrive on this planet, which is why we’re delighted that companies like Good Energy exist”.

Sally Lowndes, Director at Onion Collective

Big picture thinking

As awareness of the need to cut carbon emissions to tackle the climate crisis grows, organisations have found their sustainability practices placed under greater scrutiny. Onion Collective’s sustainable processes – including their commitment to renewable energy and emission reduction targets – are a frequent focus when applying for project funding.

Onion Collective also look beyond the boundaries of their internal operations to make sure that every project they deliver is as low-impact as possible – which includes the sustainable practices of companies in their supply chain. 

“We consider social and environmental impact at every stage of a product’s life cycle, from manufacture to disposal. So we would definitely consider whether a company is powered by renewable energy when deciding whether to work with them”.

Sally Lowndes, Director at Onion Collective

How Good Energy helps the Onion Collective with their sustainability goals:

  • 100% renewable electricity supply for office spaces, cultural developments and green manufacturing site.
  • Enabling Onion Collective to save over 10.5 tonnes in carbon emissions since joining Good Energy in 2014.
  • A strong component of their sustainable procurement policy, which supports them to apply for project funding and be part of sustainable supply chains.

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