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Tea company set to cut carbon and increase production

Published: 30/11/2023

A manufacturing company in Lochaber has embarked on a £113,300 project to reduce its carbon footprint while increasing production and creating jobs.

Rachael Robertson of the West Highland Tea Company (image courtesy of WHTC)

A manufacturing company in Lochaber has embarked on a £113,300 project to reduce its carbon footprint while increasing production and creating jobs.

The West Highland Tea Company (WHTC) has secured a £56,600 investment in the project from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The company has seen steady growth since it was established in 2020 as an online retailer offering speciality teas including a range hand blended in Mallaig. It now supplies shops, cafes and hotels in the Highlands and beyond.

Business owner Rachael Robertson is keen to improve the energy efficiency and footprint of the company’s newly leased premises in Mallaig, through renovation works and equipment renewal.

Works will include replacing windows, upgrading insulation, and replacing ceiling tiles with plasterboard. The water heater, heating system, ventilation / extraction, hand drier, refrigeration units and two toilets will also be replaced with new more efficient appliances.

There will be a dedicated visible packing and blending space. Visitors and customers will be able to watch through a windowed partition as the tea is blended and packaged, after which it will be available to taste and buy.

Two new seasonal jobs are expected to be created; one full time and one part time. The business is also forecasting a 1.57 tonne reduction in annual carbon and almost 70% increase in productivity.

Elaine Jones, senior development manager with HIE’s Skye, Lochaber and Wester Ross team, said:

“More and more businesses are recognising the benefits of taking measures to reduce their carbon emissions, particularly as they increase production capacity. This is increasingly important as we transition to a net zero economy.

“This latest project by the West Highland Tea Company will make many improvements to the business, mainly carbon and cost reduction, but also enhanced production capacity, job creation and enhance brand visibility. It will also add to the visitor offering in the Mallaig area, giving visitors more reason to stay in the area longer.

“I’m very please we have been able to support the project and look forward to continuing to work with the company as they implement the plans.”

The increased production capacity will enable WHTC to explore the potential to expand its customer base to European, U.S. and Canadian markets.

Business owner Rachael Robertson said:

“I am delighted to receive this funding support from highlands and Islands Enterprise. As the West Highland Tea Company grows and develops it is vital that we minimise our carbon footprint, and this grant is key to us achieving that aim.

“This is an exciting project for us, and I look forward to being able to showcase our tea blending process to customers in the new space in Mallaig.”

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