Gristwood and Toms, the UK’s largest and most capable provider of professional arboricultural services, has scooped two industry awards at the inaugural Pro Landscaper Business Awards Event, held at the exclusive East Wintergarden venue in Canary Wharf, London.
Gristwood and Toms, in partnership with Bristol City Council, was selected as the winner of the ‘Industry Partnership’ category, chosen by an expert panel of independent judges from the landscaping and business world. Matt Loader, Area Manager for Gristwood and Toms, and Rod Pooley from Bristol City Council collected the award on behalf of both organisations.
Gristwood and Toms then went on to beat off all the other category winners to be named ‘Supreme Winner’. Giles Heap, Managing Director of CED Stone, Headline Sponsor of the 2018 Business Awards said, “Gristwood and Toms and Bristol City Council showed what great things can be achieved when two very different businesses work together to create something that is in the best interest of the community, rather than just being focused on the short-term and the bottom line”.
The partnership between Gristwood and Toms (G&T) and Bristol City Council commenced in 2014 when G&T was awarded a five-year contract to provide arboricultural services. From the outset, both organisations saw an opportunity to challenge the traditional ‘client-contractor’ model and form a mutually beneficial partnering relationship, operating as one collaborative team.
Particularly successful initiatives, developed by the partnership that went above and beyond the core purpose of the contract, included developing a commercially viable and award-winning regional wood fuel station, planting one tree for every child in Bristol (over 39,000 trees planted), and enabling community days to engage local people and raise environmental awareness. These included a community watering day during prolonged drought in summer 2017, for which G&T provided labour and equipment at no cost.
At the time G&T became involved, Bristol’s Blaise Plant Nursery was consuming over 80,000L of LPG and oil each year to heat their greenhouses, costing £19,000 in energy bills, and producing over 100t of CO2 annually.
G&T had the benefit of experience, having previously secured a Defra grant to establish the official North London Wood Fuel Station, converting wood ‘waste’ into a high-grade chip suitable for biomass boilers. Today, Blaise Nursery is home to the south west’s first wood fuel station, processing woodchip for biomass boilers installed by the Council. The station uses wood ‘waste’ supplied by G&T, generated by the tree work as its fuel source. G&T provides some of the major plant to process trunks into chip and supplies a special tipping trailer to deliver woodchip to council sites with wood-boilers, including schools, colleges, leisure centres and community halls. The first biomass boiler installation, at Blaise Nursery, won the Regen SW Green Energy Award for ‘Best Renewable Energy Project in the South West’.
Gristwood and Toms have extended access to other stakeholders, including local housing associations, providing a free source of waste disposal and helping these organisations meet their CO2 reduction targets.
Darren Kilby, Head of Sales and Marketing at Gristwood and Toms said, “This is a fantastic achievement, and we are both honoured and delighted to be recognised in this way by our industry peers. A huge thank you must go to the whole team at Pro Landscaper for laying on a fantastic awards celebration and congratulations to all the other shortlisted companies and winners. Also, thanks to all the judges, sponsors and staff at the Wintergarden.”