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East Lothian family bakery switches to solar thanks to Royal Bank funding

Posted: 21st August 2023

A renowned Prestonpans bakery has made significant improvements to its sustainable credentials following a funding boost from Royal Bank of Scotland.

The Premium Bakery recently secured a Green Loan totalling £73,000, allowing the family-run firm to install solar panels within its factory premises. The move has enabled the Prestonpans site to harness solar-generated energy to power a portion of its operations, reducing the company’s carbon footprint while also lowering monthly energy bills.

Founded in 2007, The Premium Bakery is led by Peter Ford along with his son and daughter-in-law, Graeme Ford and Mona Hashem. The team has since grown to nearly 40 staff members and now holds contracts with some of Scotland’s largest retailers such as The Co-Operative, Scotmid and Spar.

Throughout its growth, sustainability has remained a primary focus for the business and the internal offices are now partially heated by excess power generated by the bakery ovens while the factory benefits from low emission LED lighting.

The Premium Bakery’s efforts were recently recognised at the Midlothian & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Awards, where they took home the title of The Best Environmental Impact.

Mona Hashem, Director at The Premium Bakery, said: “Since starting the business over 15 years ago, sustainability has always been a top priority for us and something we’re proud to have been ahead of the curve on.  

“We’d been looking into moving to solar power for a long time and eventually took the plunge earlier this year. It’s been an absolute game changer for us – not only is our environmental impact drastically reduced, we’ve also been able to cut our outgoings by generating our own energy on site. 

“Our industry was massively impacted by recent price hikes purely due to the volume of energy needed to power and run a bakery.  Installing solar panels has reduced the impact of this and helped give us peace of mind, meaning we can focus on continuing to grow the business. We’re very thankful to Royal Bank for helping us to make it happen.” 

Gus Johnstone, Relationship Director at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “Mona and the team are an inspiration when it comes to running a business in a sustainable way. 

“Every decision they make has their environmental impact at front of mind, and it was brilliant to see their hard work and dedication recognised at the recent Chamber of Commerce Awards.  

“The Premium Bakery has carved out a legacy within the East Lothian business community over the years – a testament to Peter, Graeme, and Mona’s focus and determination. This is an exciting new chapter for The Premium Bakery, and we’re delighted to work alongside them as they continue to grow and expand.” 

To find out more about the Green Loans offered by Royal Bank of Scotland, click here.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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