Angie Turner is a landscape designer who has extensive experience in the field of sustainable development. Above all, she’s passionate about looking after our wonderful planet and insists on working with brands that champion ethically-sourced, eco-friendly products. Here, Angie writes about her relationship with Marshalls as a designer, an educator, a project manager and a nature lover.
A business that genuinely cares about environmental sustainability is a rare thing – Marshalls is one such business. As both a protector of the Earth’s resources and someone who uses them professionally to design and create, discovering Marshalls has been an excellent experience. I believe all businesses should do their bit to make sure that the products they sell come from a supply chain that harms neither the planet, nor its people.
I first came across Marshalls in 2012 when I was an entrant in the BBC Gardener’s World Live ‘On your marks, get set, garden!’ competition. Marshalls Fairstone® sponsored the event, which I won with my ‘Peek-a-boo’ garden. From there, Marshalls lent me support as I designed a garden for the RHS Tatton Park Flower Show that would ultimately tell the story of the wonderful and vitally important stone they source and sell. My garden was called the Edible Medley – it was a vibrant mix of ornamental and edible plants, formal planting and more relaxed, laidback areas. Punctuating the garden and giving it its central structure was beautiful sandstone provided by Actual Landscapes, a registered Marshalls’ contractor. The sandstone came from an ethical quarry in Rajasthan, India, where Marshalls can guarantee with 100% certainty that child labour has not been used, workers are paid a living wage and good Health and Safety practices are observed.
Insert image of Edible Medley garden
In the UK too, the company sticks to its ethos of principles before profit. Marshalls has four quarries of its own in Yorkshire and Lancashire and, earlier this year, I was lucky enough to visit one. Rory Kendrick, Marshall’s International Natural Stone Sourcing Director (and qualified geologist) showed me around. Although one pile of raw sandstone may look much like the next, there are important variations in quality which make all the difference between standard public pavements and those which are more resilient and aesthetically appealing. Marshalls are as dedicated to providing consistently good quality as they are to monitoring their products’ carbon footprint and ethical supply chain.
The Fairstone range encapsulates the company’s unwavering dedication to suppliers, the planet and customers alike. When Marshalls joined the Ethical Trading Initiative a decade ago, they developed the Fairstone Mark to recognise imported stone that had been ethically mined without child labour.
I used Fairstone when I created my RHS Malvern Spring Show piece, The Quiet Garden. As well as simply looking fantastic and giving me the ethical assurances I need, the products are friendly to their immediate environment. Permeable paving means that flooding is much less of a risk – good news for gardeners and householders who want to protect the wildlife that shares their outdoor space.
Completely ethical, with a transparent supply chain and no compromise on the end products, Marshalls is a name I recommend again and again to contacts and colleagues. This business has proven it is possible to combine quality with sustainability, and I challenge others to do the same.
Wednesday, 13rd April 2016