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Ground Control

31st March 2021

Ground Control is the UK’s largest privately-owned provider of landscaping and maintenance services. Headquartered in Billericay, Essex, the business helps clients to minimize their impact on the environment and achieve sustainability goals across 50,000 commercial sites in the UK.

Caring for the environment

‘Caring for the Environment’ is not simply the firm’s strapline, it runs deep within its DNA.

From the outset in 2004, co-founders Simon and Kim Morrish were determined Ground Control would accelerate the pace of change towards a sustainable world, not just within its own business operations but also within its client partners.

Sustainable approaches to business

With 700 direct members of staff, plus a further 6,000 in its field teams, Ground Control is taking purposeful steps to mitigate the environmental impact caused by its operations.

The business has removed single-use plastics from all operations and offices, and only sources certified sustainable timber and timber-based products (e.g. FSC / PEFC).

Ground Control has set itself green targets:

  • To ensure that 100% of hand tools are battery operated by 2025.
  • To expand its fleet of 100 passenger electric vehicles to include all company cars within the next two years.
  • To phase out the use of higher emission fleet vehicles as soon as possible.
  • To help every staff member who is not a company car driver to use an electric vehicle, if they want to, through the company fleet policy.

Carbon neutral grounds maintenance leader

All of this determined green action has resulted in Ground Control reaching several significant milestones, including achieving carbon neutral status in, five years ahead of the business’s 2025 target and leading the way for the grounds maintenance industry.

Science-led sustainability targets

To accelerate progress on its ‘net zero’ roadmap, Ground Control is also working with Cambridge University’s Institute for Sustainable Leadership to review its wider environmental strategy and will set out how the business will best engage with clients and the supply chain to reduce emissions and establish science-based sustainability targets.

Green investment fund

The Evergreen Fund was established in 2019 as a vehicle for Ground Control to invest five percent of its annual post-tax profit, each year, into sustainable environmental initiatives. The business will invest £5 million in the Fund by 2025. In addition, the initiative also directs £100,000 annually to fund the planting of a million new native trees, creating protected areas of biodiversity.

Ground Control grounds maintenance staff cut grass using battery powered strimmers and mowers

Ground Control is a leading carbon neutral ground maintenance business.

Helping clients achieve greener projects

Through Ground Control’s ecological education and consultation services, clients have achieved environmental successes including:

  • Tesco Sustainable Tree Planting Strategy – 100,000 trees planted in 13 sites across the UK, creating sustainable legacy woodland and providing multiple environmental benefits.
  • Cumbria Wildlife Trust & Highways England – 115 hectares of road verge transformation to rich wildflower meadow grassland in Cumbria as part of the Get Cumbria Buzzing Campaign & National Pollinator Strategy.
  • Thames Water ‘Wild Hampton Project’ – A ‘test bed’ biodiversity garden designed to encourage biodiversity, public engagement, educational opportunities and create a precedent for other sites.
  • United Utilities five-year Biodiversity Action Plan – Production and implementation the plan at the 100-acre Lingley Mere head office site, including wildflower grassland creation, aquatic habitat development, native tree and shrub planting, removal of non-native species, increased staff engagement.

Kim Morrish, Co-Founder, said: “We are extremely proud that Ground Control is leading our sector as a force of significant green change, not only within the grounds maintenance and landscaping industry but within wider industry and beyond. Since 2004, we have demonstrated how business can be a force for social and environmental sustainability. By focussing on science-based targets and evidence-based certification, we are leading by example and sharing our knowledge gained through our far-reaching initiatives to protect and improve the environment.”

Kate Willard OBE, Estuary Envoy, said: “This carbon-neutral business has not only achieved remarkable things for themselves but is helping clients across the UK give back to the environment. They are truly leaders in sustainability, and I am delighted to welcome Ground Control as an Estuary Visionary.”

Visit their website to find out more: www.ground-control.co.uk

If you would like to nominate your organisation or one you know to become a Visionary please get in touch.