Sustainability & Environment

Sustainability at Walker’s Shortbread

As a family run business for over 125 years, Walker’s has always maintained its faithful commitment to its home grown roots in the stunning Speyside region of the Scottish Highlands, ensuring a conscious concern for the food we produce, the welfare of the local workforce, working environment and its important relationships with local suppliers and businesses.

Being one of the largest employers in a small area, the Walker family have developed a social responsibility and mutual interdependency with the local community. People are at the heart of our business and it has always been natural for Walker’s to operate in a caring fashion by looking after our workforce. Many contemporary attitudes to business are practices that Walker’s have been carrying out for over 125 years.

Walker’s is continually striving to develop strong social and environmental policies that ensure the Company continues to meet the many international standards for product safety whilst simultaneously protecting the environment and their workforce.


Business Specific Achievements

  • Walker’s shortbread is baked with no genetically modified ingredients, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or hydrogenated fats.
  • The company is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, for sourcing palm oil from sustainable forests. All the Palm Oil Walkers use is certified sustainable and for this reason our products have been recognized by the Rainforest Foundation.
  • No bovine growth hormones or antibiotics are given to the free range grass fed dairy cows that produce the rich, creamy milk that becomes the butter used in our shortbread recipe.
  • Our products are suitable for vegetarians and the company is a member of the Vegetarian Society.
  • Raw ingredients sourced as locally as possible.
  • Support local trades, businesses and charities.
  • Certified to produce Organic products by the Soil Association.
  • Committed to the Ethical Trading Initiative.
  • No hardened vegetable oils are used in our chocolate.
Walkers Shortbread Factory


Walker’s Shortbread operates four factories in Aberlour and two in nearby Elgin.

An energy efficient, induction lighting program has been completed for all four factories and floodlighting at our Aberlour site.

Induction lighting uses 50% less energy than conventional lighting and produces a crisp white light, very similar to natural daylight. The bulbs also last for 20 years without replacement. This part of the program will reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by 600 tonnes per annum.

Energy efficient condensing boilers have been installed in three of our factories at Aberlour giving a 40% efficiency saving compared to traditional boilers.

The regional village bakery has been adapted as a test bakery for new product development in support of the business.

Solar Panels

As part of the on-going commitment to environmental improvement Walker’s has installed 80 solar panels on the roof of the newest factory. They are currently producing clean, green renewable energy for the site.

It is a 20 kW system and is on target to produce an average of 15,000 kWh (units) of electricity per annum. The panels will continue to produce electricity and have a life expectancy of 25 years or more.

This system of PV (photovoltaic) panels will save up to 10 tonnes of CO2e from being released into the atmosphere each year.


Solar panels
Petticoat Tails



  • The gauges for film, cardboard, tin plate and plastic have all been reduced where permissible and practicable.
  • Extensive work carried out on reductions to both primary and secondary packaging.
  • The cardboard for selected cartons is sourced through the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure sustainability.
  • Use of recycled tinplate.
  • Plastic (rPET) – includes a recycled content in excess of 50% and can be recycled.

                             Walkers Shortbread Product Range  TRIMAN - Walkers Shortbread


  • Members of the government controlled CCA (Climate Change Agreement) since inception in 1998 and all energy reduction targets have been met, allowing for a reduction on the CCL (Climate Change Levy).
  • Audited by the Carbon Trust and all targets met in full. Since 2003/2004 to date we have reduced our carbon emissions (CO2e) by 16.6% and by 3.25% over the last year, per tonne of production.
  • CRC registered (Carbon Reduction Commitment), receiving full exemption based on our Climate Change Agreement.
  • Energy use monitored every half hour to identify areas for improved efficiency.
  • Building management systems installed in our two newest factories.
  • Energy management program implemented within the factories.
  • Changed oven fuel from oil to gas reducing CO2/kWh by 25%.
  • Reduced wasted ‘heat up’ and ‘cool down’ times to achieve optimum oven temperatures only when needed for baking.
  • Fitted new inverters on conveyers and implemented soft starts for fans.
  • Fitted all air compressors with new variable speed drives
Energy panel


  • Fitted timers and spray nozzles to hand-wash stations on the factory floor.
  • Changing water arrangements has saved around 500,000 litres of water per annum.
  • Toilet-flush reduction program implemented.
  • Water use monitoring program.
  • Water meters fitted and recorded weekly.
  • Full compliance with government controlled waste water regulations.


  • 95% of total waste currently recycled.
  • Paper, cardboard, food waste, plastic, metal, aluminium, tins and wood all recycled.
  • Food waste recycled for animal feed; and fat processed for use as agricultural fertilizer.
  • Director set, annual Company objectives, to reduce and review waste.
  • Exploring other recycling options in collaboration with Zero Waste Scotland.
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant: We have recently invested in a substantial treatment plant to process wastewater collected at our Aberlour site. This is to ensure that we comply with the limits set by Scottish Water.


  • Complimentary bus travel arranged for around 600 shift employees each day, to and from work. Implement full-load deliveries and full usage of back-fill on return journeys when possible.
  • Utilization of local hauliers whenever possible.
  • Speed limit restrictors fitted on fork-lift trucks and staff crew buses.
  • Responsible driving training for staff to ensure safety and improve economy. (Driver CPC – Certificate of Professional Competence).
The Green Organisation

Green Apple Environmental Award – September 2013

Walker’s Shortbread won a Green Apple Environmental Award in the national campaign to find Scotland’s greenest companies, councils and communities. Walkers won the Gold Award for the Food & Drink sector.

The award was granted in recognition of Walkers’ commitment and progress over the last 15 years in implementing our successful environmental and energy-reduction program.

As part of a national campaign to find Scotland’s greenest companies, Walkers was awarded a much-coveted Green Apple Environmental Award in 2013, recognizing the companies’ commitment in implementing a dedicated environmental and energy-reduction program which, among other achievements, has seen the company recycle 95% of its total waste, reduce its carbon emissions by 17% and make an annual road mileage saving of over 3 million miles through a complimentary bus service for over 600 factory employees.

Walker’s competed against more than 100 other nominations in the Scottish Green Apple Awards and were presented with a trophy and certificate at a glittering presentation ceremony at Edinburgh Zoo on September 2, 2013.

The Green Apple Environment Awards were launched in 1994 by The Green Organisation and have become well established as one of the most popular environmental campaigns in the world. The awards are well established as one of the major environmental recognition schemes, both in the UK and internationally.

The Green Organisation is an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognizing, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

The Green Apple Awards are supported by the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.