Environmental values

Our environmental commitments

Quakers in Britain have made a strong corporate commitment to become a low-carbon sustainable community and Friends House Hospitality is no exception to this environmental pledge.

At Friends House and Swarthmoor Hall, we seek to reflect this commitment by taking action to reduce our carbon emissions, cut our waste, and procure goods and services in an ethically and environmentally responsible way.

Year on year, we have followed this green agenda with some very visible results and a great impact on our business, which makes us say that we are a truly ethical and green company.

A few figures for 2018

  • In March 2017 Carbon Smart awarded us, a Gold Certification, for reducing our carbon footprint by 29 per cent since 2009
  • We were highly commended for our excellence in water resource management at the Camden Business Sustainability Awards 2017 
  • We have two beehives with two nucleus colonies at Friends House and Swarthmoor Hall (80,000 honey bees in total)
  • We maintained our zero waste to landfill policy, we reduced, reused and recycled where possible
  • We only purchased 100% renewable electricity from Good Energy and responsibly sourced biogas from Orsted.

Find out more by downloading The Company Annual Review 2018 [PDF: 1.58 mb - new window].

Our environmental achievements

Green energy

We have adopted a hierarchical approach to increase the energy efficiency of the building: initially by improving the efficiency of the building fabric, then the building services, before introducing renewable energy systems. We now use 100% renewable energy, provided by Good Energy. This energy is free from any form of fossil fuels. We have also taken action to encourage staff and visitors to the building to change their behaviour in order to create a "greener" working/meeting environment.

Carbon reduction

Since 2009, we have been working with Carbon Smart to capture our carbon footprint. By the end of 2016, we had significantly reduced our carbon footprint by 29%, compared to 2009. We are always looking for ways to reduce our carbon emissions and are Carbon Smart Gold Certified. We also one of the founding membors of the Camden Climate Change Alliance, and were given an award for reducing out carbon footprint year on year in 2019.

Conservation and ecosystem

In 2014, we set up a few beehives on our roof. Those bees contribute to the Euston area ecosystem by pollinating the flowers and trees around, beginning with our own garden. Hosting bees on our roof is more important than ever as they have just been classified as an endangered species for the first time in the US and are threatened worldwide. We have been lucky enough to get honey from the hives every year.


Beehives on Friends House rooftop

Green Awards

We are a member of the Camden Climate Change Alliance and have been working with the Camden community to make a positive impact on the environment. This led us to be recognised as a Carbon Champion by the organisation in 2015. We were also Highly Commended for our excellence in water resource management at the Camden Sustainability Awards 2017. In 2016, we took part to the Camden in Bloom Awards and our garden came second in the "Best Business Garden" category.

Friends House is committed to being a low carbon community

Zero waste to landfill policy

We have a zero waste to landfill policy and have managed year on year to maintain our zero waste objective. All our waste is recycled and treated by our supplier First Mile.

Cruelty-free food

We were one of the first venues to gain a Good Egg Award and a Good Chicken Award, given by Compassion in World Farming. These awards mean that all our eggs and poultry products served for our event catering, in our Restaurant or Café, come from farms where chickens were cage-free. Animal welfare is very important for us and we have recently partnered with Quaker Concern for Animals to raise awareness about animal rights and welfare for World Animal Day. In February 2018, we also became a CreatureKind Institution. We intend to reduce the amount of animal products (meat, dairy and eggs) we serve in our catering facilities by 20 per cent within two years.