Produce delivery organisation Riverford Organic Farmers is to launch an employee ownership trust from 8 June 2018.
The organisation’s founder and owner Guy Singh-Watson (pictured) will retain 26% of the business and continue to play an active role at Riverford Organic Farmers. The remaining 74% of the organisation will move into an employee trust, where the shares will be held in trust for Riverford Organic Farmers’ 650 employees.
Riverford Organic Farmers decided to implement an employee ownership trust in order to protect its organisational values and to guarantee its independence as a business. The organisation further felt that its employees are best placed to ensure the continued commercial success of Riverford Organic Farmers.
The organisation has additionally launched a programme of cultural and management changes in order to support the move to an employee ownership trust. This includes the production of an ethos statement to support the organisational values, which will be promoted by the organisation’s internal and external trustees. Staff will also elect an employee council in a few months.
Riverford Organic Farmers’ values are giving a fair deal to staff, suppliers, customers and the planet; having a commitment to organic produce and to the business’ farming origins; and developing a long-term relationship of trust with its growers.
Singh-Watson said: “We believe employee ownership offers a positive model for a values-driven business to secure its values and its commercial success, for the long-term benefit of all.”