Scottish business shows sustainability isn’t just for COP, it’s for Christmas too

David Chalmers and Belinda Jarron. (Photo: Kirsty Anderson)

SUSTAINABILITY was the star of some of Scotland’s most recognisable Christmas displays this year as businesses, hotels and shopping centres.

Fleurtations – one of the UK’s leading plantscaping firms – saw its business return to pre-pandemic levels as it created more than 200 Christmas displays across Scotland, including at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow, the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, and Bonnie and Wild in Edinburgh’s prestigious new St James Quarter.  

Fleurtations also works with some of the UK’s best-known businesses, some of which – including MITIE and the Kimpton Charlotte Square Hotel in Edinburgh – are displaying completely plastic-free decorations this year, with baubles instead made of natural materials including wood, wicker, knitted wool and recycled satin bows.

The Fleurtations team ordered 10,000 dried oranges for use in sustainable displays, as well as 20,000 cinnamon sticks.    

 Other popular features for Christmas 2021 included selfie stands incorporating a vintage car and Santa’s sleighs.

However, following almost two years without a display, many are displaying ‘sustainability with sparkle’, instead reducing the number of single use and plastic decorations used while making use of low-energy LED lights to help the nation into the festive spirit. 

Belinda Jarron, managing partner at Fleurtations, said: “The shift towards sustainability has been a key feature of Christmas this year, and has contributed to a 33% increase in sales compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. We think there will continue to be huge demand for many of main decorations – including twig sledges, dried oranges and limes, and cinnamon sticks – for next Christmas.

“The ongoing Covid-19 situation is a consideration, and we have concerns it may impact our usual buying trips to the USA and Europe in late January. We will be keeping an eye on developments. It hasn’t impacted our plans for the business, however, which will begin with the recruitment of four full-time staff in the New Year, and then the expansion of our premises in East Lothian – which will include creating a rest room on suite using all our biophilic expertise! “

Belinda, her husband and Fleurtations creative director David Chalmers, and the team have worked tirelessly to keep the East Lothian business thriving.

Turnover is currently up 15% YOY compared to 2020, with Christmas sales back to 2019 levels. The growth has largely been attributed to additional work from existing clients. 

Highlights have included securing work from the new St James Quarter shopping centre in Edinburgh, as well as Parsley Box, which recently won an award at the Chelsea Flower Show. Fleurtations is also behind the high-profile Christmas tree at the Nissan plant in Sunderland.  

The recovery has not come without its challenges, and like many businesses Fleurtations has been affected by recruitment and supply chain issues caused by the pandemic and post Brexit. 

However, Belinda and the team have drawn on more than 30 years industry experience to ensure there is no danger of Christmas being cancelled for any of their clients. 

She said: “The pandemic has been as devastating for our business as it has for any other, but we are well through the worst, and I’m delighted to see us recover. I would never want to go through it again, but I’m incredibly proud of the way we have negotiated the challenges and the business has emerged in a strong position. 

“The supply chain issues are there – on some products lead times are anything from three weeks to 13 weeks – but we have been doing this a long time and ordered well in advance to minimise impact. As a result, all our clients will be able to have the fantastic displays they expect – I can’t ask more of our team than that.”

The latest stories