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11th March 2024

Announcing the newest awards of the Biosphere Certification Mark

The Galloway & Southern Ayrshire Biosphere’s trademarked Certification Mark accreditation for sustainable businesses has had its first panel meeting of 2024, and we’re thrilled to announce three new awards and three renewals for existing Certification Mark holders. 

The first of the new awardees is Zest, a restaurant and cookery school operated by Dumfries & Galloway College on their Stranraer campus. Zest provides hospitality students with the opportunity to train in a professional kitchen environment, and to develop the front-of-house and practical skills needed for a culinary career. Students learn how ingredients are sourced and grown, how to reduce food waste, and the importance of ‘slow food’ and low food miles. The commitment to training the next generation of culinary professionals in sustainable food practices is a great example of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in action and highlights the college’s ambition to maximise their green credentials. 

Joanna Campbell, D&G College Principal,said, “The college has been a Proud Supporter of Biosphere for the past five years and we are thrilled to be awarded its Certification Mark for Zest. With the college already committed to sustainable operations and processes, this seemed a natural progression, since our ethos is very much reflected in the six principles of the Biosphere’s Proud Supporter Charter.” 

Also newly Biosphere-certified is Kirkcudbright-based Laura Boswell, a printmaker who specialises in depictions of wild landscapes. Laura works with traditional artists’ linocut and woodblock materials, both of which are sustainable, as opposed to the plastics often found in printmaking today. Laura’s studio also welcomes students from across the UK and abroad, and teaches using environmentally friendly washable inks, as well as educating on the best practices to avoid wastage during the printing processes. Laura collaborates with other artists and businesses in Kirkcudbright, including via the local art map, and works with fellow Biosphere-Certified business Kirkcudbright Art Tours. 

On receiving accreditation, Laura said, “I rely on the local landscape for my source material, so supporting the work of the Biosphere and applying for the Biosphere Certification Mark made absolute sense.  This May, I will be taking part in Spring Fling (a Biosphere-accredited sustainable event), where I will be showing prints and drawings featuring our local landscape and welcoming people into my gallery and working print room. I will of course be proudly displaying my new Certification Mark and telling everyone about the scheme and what it means to me!” 

Girvan-based Ingrained Culture is also newly Biosphere-certified this year. Run by woodcarver Robert Lawrence, the business makes signs and sculptures exclusively from 100% sustainable Scottish-grown wood, certified by Scottish Working Woods. Robert has spent years mastering the art of woodwork and is committed to making the process as sustainable as possible. Any excess wood is used in a wood burner to heat his house, packaging materials are reused, and Robert is currently exploring potential for installing a small hydroelectric system to power his workshop. 

Ingrained Culture offers a bespoke design service, and has worked with a wide range of clients, from property owners looking for house signs to community groups who want sculptures or signage for public spaces. Robert’s business was recently awarded ‘Best Sustainable Eco-Signage Micro Company 2023 – UK’ in the BUILD Magazine awards and Ingrained Culture is looking forward to sharing the benefits and beauty of the Biosphere with his customers. 

The Biosphere Certification Mark scheme entails reaccreditation every three years to ensure each awardee continues to uphold the standards of the scheme. We’re delighted to announce three renewals for existing Certification Mark businesses this month: Galloway Wild Foods, Solway View Holidays and Biosphere Bikes have all successfully applied to renew their certification in this latest round.

The GSA Biosphere’s Business Development lead, Marie McNulty, says, “To date more than fifty businesses have achieved the Biosphere Certification Mark, and we’re proud to celebrate creative artists like Laura Boswell and Ingrained Culture as well as large enterprises like Zest that encompass education and skills development. Having the right support in place empowers businesses of all sizes and the GSA Biosphere Partnership’s programme, including our Certification Mark scheme, includes collaborative projects and the chance to connect with many diverse partners, from VisitScotland to South of Scotland Enterprise. The UNESCO Biosphere designation draws national and international attention and it’s wonderful to see the Certification Mark logo becoming more and more visible across the southwest as an exemplar of what sustainable business can achieve.”

Applications for the Biosphere Certification Mark are free and open all year round. Find out more about the application process here. To arrange a call to discuss applying, or any other questions related to the Certification Mark scheme, please contact our Business Engagement Officer, Jake McLaughlan, via 

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