Our Head of Sustainability, Will Dennis, talks us through striking a balance between sustainable hospitality and retaining the character of a traditional village inn.
We set out to do something a little different with The Fox at Oddington. Reopening an important community hub with the climate crisis at the forefront of our minds, we wanted to strike a balance between sustainable hospitality and retaining the character of the traditional village inn. Our Head of Sustainability, Will Dennis, talks us through the project and our commitments to reducing our impact.
The Fox has been one of my favourite projects to watch unfold. Our build team were tasked with restoring the beautiful historic buildings using traditional methods and materials, whilst installing contemporary features to create a charming and comfortable place to eat, drink and sleep. You can read more about the restoration project here.
An important part of the thoughtful restoration of this Grade II listed property was its upgrade to modern sustainability standards. Energy use was an important consideration in the design; all lighting has been converted to LED and the thermal efficiency of the building was improved using better insulation and natural ventilation combined with new double glazing. The Fox is powered by 100% renewable energy and we encourage all of our guests to help us maintain a low consumption by switching off lights and mains electrical devices when not in use. Similarly with water, we have fitted our facilities with devices that reduce how much we use and we ask guests to help us conserve water by using it sparingly in our rooms and reusing towels. Our bed linen and towels are transported a short distance to the Daylesford laundry, where they are cleaned using resource-efficient machinery powered by renewable biomass energy. Since opening we have been tracking our energy and water use to take ownership of our business footprint and so that we can set a benchmark for future reductions.
The provenance of our food is very important to us. Our menu changes with the seasons, celebrating the best that nature has to offer at any point in the year. Ingredients are sourced based on quality and flavour, and our chefs choose suppliers that can demonstrate the highest welfare standards with the lowest environmental impact. Agroecological farming methods are our gold standard and much of our produce comes from our organic sister farm at Daylesford, just a mile down the road. We are proud to source the best quality ingredients from local suppliers, half of whom are within 15 miles of the village. Produce from further afield include our fresh fish, which is sourced from day boats on the south coast. We greatly value our relationships with our suppliers and are proud to be supporting small farmers and championing British food.
As a responsible hospitality business we are conscious about the waste that we produce from our operations. Starting from scratch, we had the opportunity to set up the pub to minimise waste, from avoiding non-recyclables or single use plastics to installing a paper-free kitchen ordering system. We work to a minimum standard of zero to landfill, partnering with suppliers who convert our waste into energy and biofuels. The latter comes from inedible food waste such as scraps from guests’ plates; we enforce a zero food waste policy that ensures we get maximum value from every ingredient. Meat bones are used to make our broths, and all edible food surplus is processed through the kitchen as specials. Our bathrooms are supplied with Bamford toiletries, made from only the highest quality natural and organic ingredients and certified COSMOS Natural. These products are packaged in fully recyclable plastic bottles made from 50% recycled content. We are partnering with Clean the World who collect all partially used soap and shampoo, recycle the bottles, and reformulate the contents into new soap bars which are sent to developing nations.
We are at the start of an exciting journey. I look forward to bringing you more stories from The Fox as we evolve; for regular updates please sign up to our newsletter.