Essentially our business is milling the world’s finest rice. Rice milling consists of gently rubbing away the hulls and outer bran layers of each rice grain. Everything is used: the woody outer hulls are used as a renewable source of energy; the rice bran is a nutritious ingredient used in animal feed and, although we try not to break any precious basmati grains, the broken grains are actually sold as Basmati Broken Rice, so waste is minimal.
The energy used to power the mill is electricity. Since 2000 we have worked consistently to achieve the tough energy efficiency targets set in the UK’s Climate Change Agreement.
Our rice is transported by boat. Boats are particularly energy efficient and low CO2 emitting forms of transport.
We recoup and segregate all our recyclable waste (i.e. paper, cardboard, plastic and cans) generated on site for our expert partners to recycle it.
Where facilities exist, some of our packaging can be recycled, but not all can be recycled yet. The nature of our product requires that it reach consumers just as it left the mill: clean and free from any kind of contaminants. This limits the packaging available to us, but we are committed to minimising land fill waste and investigating greener alternatives with our supply partners wherever possible.
Today our focus has moved to ensuring the sustainability of Basmati rice farming. We can advise farmers on the optimum amount of water to use and when best to start planting different Basmati varieties because of the knowledge gained on the Tilda farm. This means that in a year where water might be scarce or the monsoon arrives late, water is not wasted.
Going one step further, in 2012 we began the ‘Basmati Water Conservation Project.’ This is a 3 year partnership with the International Finance Corporation, IFC, a part of the World Bank Group). In 2013 we helped over 150 farmers across more than 500 acres in 4 districts reduce their water use through the introduction of direct-seeding. This new technique produces a better crop too.
We recognise that no farming activity is without impact on the environment, however Basmati rice farming in India, is still carried out on small-scale family-owned farms using techniques handed down for generations. Traditional Basmati farming requires that the low yielding plants are hand tended. There are no combine harvesters or mechanised threshing as this leads to too many grains being lost, so the traditional farming practices are more efficient as well as being more environmentally friendly.
Tilda has a small-scale farm in Haryana in India. Each season we look at ways to improve the quality of the Basmati and to ensure it is produced as sustainably as possible. The knowledge gained on the farm is passed on to farmers throughout the Tilda outreach programe. Farmers can also contact the service should they require assistance.
Over 30 years ago Tilda provided certified Basmati seed to farmers on a not-for-profit basis in a drive to improve the purity and quality of our Basmati. So our Tilda Pure Original Basmati has a long heritage that started with the seeds in the ground.