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Environment & Sustainability

Environment & Sustainability

Sustainability at Walker’s Shortbread

As a family-run business for over 100 years, Walker’s has always maintained its faithful commitment to its homegrown roots in the stunning Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands, ensuring a conscious concern for the food we produce, the welfare of the local workforce, working environment and its important relationships with local suppliers and businesses.

Being one of the largest employers in a small area, the Walker family has developed a social responsibility and mutual inter-dependency with the local community. People are at the heart of our business and it has always been natural for Walker’s to operate in a caring fashion by looking after our workforce. Many contemporary attitudes to business are practices that Walker’s have been carrying out for over 100 years.

Walker’s are continually striving to develop strong social and environmental policies that ensure the Company continues to meet the many international standards for product safety whilst simultaneously protecting the environment and their workforce.


Business Specific Achievements

  • Walker’s Shortbread is baked with no genetically modified ingredients, artificial colours, flavours, preservatives or hydrogenated fats.
  • The Company is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, for sourcing palm oil from sustainable forests. All of the Palm Oil Walker’s use is certified sustainable and for this reason our products have been recognised by the Rainforest Foundation.
  • No bovine growth hormones or antibiotics are given to the free range grass fed dairy cows that produce the rich, creamy milk that becomes the butter used in our shortbread recipe.
  • 100% vegetarian; no animal fats are used in any of Walker’s recipes. The Company is also a member of the Vegetarian Society.
  • Raw ingredients sourced as locally as possible.
  • Support local trades, businesses and charities.
  • Certified to produce Organic products by the Soil Association.
  • Committed to the Ethical Trading Initiative.
  • No hardened vegetable oils are used in our chocolate.


Walker’s Shortbread operates four factories in Aberlour and two in nearby Elgin.

An energy efficient, induction lighting programme has been implemented. The LED and induction lighting uses 50% less energy than conventional lighting. LED lighting also reduces the number of lighting units required by nearly 40%, resulting in much lower energy and resource requirements to meet our lighting needs.

Energy efficient condensing boilers have been installed in three of our four factories at the Aberlour site giving a 40% energy efficiency saving compared to traditional boilers.

Continual improvement by Walker’s Shortbread means that the fourth factory is in the process of being upgraded to a modern condensing boiler.

The regional village bakery has been adapted as a test bakery for new product development in support of the business.

Solar Panels

As part of the Company’s on-going commitment to environmental improvement Walker’s have recently installed 80 solar panels on the roof of the newest factory. They are currently producing clean, green renewable energy for the site.

It is a 20 kW system and is on target to produce an average of 13,000 kWh (units) of electricity per annum. The panels will continue to produce electricity and have a life expectancy of 25 years or more.

This system of PV (photovoltaic) panels will save up to 1.4 tonnes of CO2e from being released into the atmosphere each year.



  • The gauges for film, cardboard, tin plate and plastic have all been reduced where permissible and practicable.
  • Extensive work carried out on reductions to both primary and secondary packaging.
  • The cardboard for selected cartons is sourced through the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure sustainability.
  • Use of recycled tinplate.
  • Plastic (rPET) – includes a recycled content in excess of 50% and can be recycled.


  • Members of the government controlled CCA (Climate Change Agreement) since inception in 1998 and all energy reduction targets have been met. From 2016 to 2018 reporting period we have reduced our carbon emissions (CO2e per tonne of production) by 3.8%.
  • Audited by the Carbon Trust.
  • Electricity use monitored every half hour to identify areas for improved efficiency.
  • Building management systems installed in our two newest factories.
  • Changed oven fuel from oil to gas reducing carbon emissions.
  • Reduced wasted ‘heat up’ and ‘cool down’ times to achieve optimum oven temperatures only when needed for baking.
  • Specialist oven survey has been carried out to save energy, whilst ensuring optimal performance.
  • Where possible energy efficient control systems are fitted to existing / new machinery, for example motor inverters and soft starts for fans.
  • All air compressors are fitted with new variable speed drives.
  • Heat recovery system has been integrated into the compressed air system, in one of the factories.


  • Fitted timers, auto taps and spray nozzles to hand-wash stations in processing areas.
  • Changing water arrangements has minimised as far as practically possible the volumes of water used per annum, while maintaining high hygiene standards.
  • Toilet-flush reduction programme implemented.
  • Water use monitoring programme.
  • Water readings are recorded weekly.
  • Full compliance with government controlled waste water regulations.
  • Water use is monitored weekly against production figures.


  • 95% of total waste currently recycled.
  • Paper, cardboard, food waste, plastic, metal, aluminium, tins and wood all recycled.
  • Food waste recycled for animal feed; and fat processed for use as agricultural fertiliser.
  • Director set, annual Company objectives, to reduce and review waste.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant: We have recently invested in a substantial treatment plant to process wastewater collected at our Aberlour site. This is to ensure that we comply with the limits set by Scottish Water.


  • Complimentary bus travel arranged for around 600 shift employees each day, to and from work. Implement full-load deliveries and full usage of back-fill on return journeys when possible.
  • Utilisation of local hauliers whenever possible.
  • Speed limit restrictors fitted on fork-lift trucks .
  • Responsible driving training for staff to ensure safety and improve economy. (Driver CPC – Certificate of Professional Competence).