The Hebridean Isle of Mull might have only 3,000 inhabitants, but its temperamental climate and rich landscape make it an oasis of renewable resources. A Scottish couple bakes that renewable energy into tea biscuits along with organically sourced ingredients at their small factory on the island.
“When we started making biscuits, we wanted them to be something we can be proud of, and that means ingredients that are organic,” says Joe Reade, one of the founders of Island Bakery Organics.
This was the start of their new mission after expanding from their small local bakery in Tobermory. The next step was to change up their energy use.
The particular climate of the Isles provides an assortment of nature-powered energy sources. Scotland is a leader in renewable energy, and on the remote islands of the Hebrides, power for electricity rides in on every thunderstorm.
The Reades use three main local sources of renewable energy to bake their cookies: rain, wind, and wood.
They strive to be a low-carbon business. All their electricity comes from a hydroelectric turbine in the local river and a wind turbine on a hill above the baking facility. In addition, they’ve sourced leftover wood chips from commercial conifer plants on the island to heat their ovens. The plant grows the trees on a carbon-neutral cycle.
But they could do better, says Reade. Some of their ingredients come from as far away as China and South America, and all their transportation relies highly on fossil fuels. It’s something we’d like to change one day, he says.
If you want to think long-term as a business, Reade says, you have to be sustainable in a way that is sympathetic to the environment.