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Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development 2020
Since 1966, The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise have been awarded to British businesses and organisations to recognise their outstanding achievement in International Trade, Innovation, Sustainable Development and Promoting Opportunity through social mobility.
We are proud to announce that we have been honoured with The Queen's Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development, which comes as we celebrate the beginning of our third decade of commitment to crafting organic beds and mattresses from sustainable and renewable materials—all still by hand and all still on the same family boatyard by a bird sanctuary along the banks of the River Exe in Devon.
With our beginnings in the marine and nursery industries, we set about our mission to create a healthier sleep environment not only for the health and well-being of those using the products, but also a greener supply, manufacture and disposal process to benefit the wider environment.
Since the inception of Naturalmat back in 1999 every single element used in the manufacture and packaging of our mattresses has been very conscientiously chosen for its being either biodegradable, recyclable, renewable, certified organic where possible and, most importantly, not having the need for chemicals or organophosphates usually necessary to pass the UK’s FR regulations.
What makes our business sustainable?
In the West Country we have a lot of wool!
This material is the core of our business and we support our local farmers by buying direct from farms within a 50-mile radius of our HQ—all across Devon, Cornwall and Somerset that are either Soil Association or Organic Farmers and Growers Certified.
We also manage the scouring, washing and processing of all the lambswool ourselves, and so have complete control of a local resource going into a local product, made by local craftsmen.
We’re nuts about coconuts!
Every part of the tree is utilised—kernel, shell, husk, trunk, leaves to the roots—and as the husk is taken from ripe nuts, this fibre is never harvested prematurely and is almost endlessly renewable.
This brilliantly sturdy material is our second key ingredient. After picking and de-husking the coconut for food or copra, the precious by-product of husk fibres (otherwise known as coir) is what we use in place of, or alongside, metal springs to provide ventilation and bounce to a mattress.
We buy direct from a Fair Trade, certified organic plantation in Sri Lanka, and have the coir pads teased and set in natural latex to our specifications.
We all love a good pair, but a lot of waste also comes out of the manufacture of that favourite pair of denims.
In our hunt for 100% cotton pads that we need for some of our products, instead of weaving new cotton we’ve looked to upcycling offcuts from the clothing industry by shredding and matting them into a wonderfully soft filling, and the result is as comfortable as a good old pair of jeans.
The after-life of mattresses in the UK has long been a huge environmental issue with approximately 80% going to landfill which equates to 167,000 tonnes of waste per year— if you consider the bulk that a mattress represents, that means a very deep hole in the ground!
All of our nursery products are packaged in compostable potato starch wrapping, and we proactively recycle all of the necessary protective covering we use to deliver our larger items.
Our bedding and bed linen are packed plastic-free, and delivered in cotton bags or recyclable kraft boxes.
Recent developments have enabled us to be the first UK manufacturer to offer a closed loop manufacturing system for our mattresses. As all their materials are biodegradable or recyclable, we can now break them down into their original component parts and upcycle them into new products.
Since 2012 the bedworks has been powered by a solar PV generating system that provides all of the electricity required to run our site.
This, coupled with local sourcing, has enabled us to produce a mattress that has the lowest carbon footprint in the UK.