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Green upstairs, downstairs and outside

Winton House, the corporate events and weddings venue near Pencaitland in East Lothian, has won the best micro-business award at this year's VIBES (Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland) in recognition of its work in local sourcing, waste-cutting, recycling and promotion of biodiversity.

Currently gearing up for its programme of corporate Christmas events, the stately home, parts of which date from the 15th century, is owned by Sir Francis Ogilvy, 14th Baronet of Inverquarit, employs 25 people and has a turnover of around £400,000.

While the "exclusive use" heritage property market suffered from the slashing of corporate entertainment budgets following the banking crash of 2008, Ogilvy says that Winton has made a steady recovery in 2012, attracting around 70 corporate events along with a limited programme of private events. Says Ogilvy: "We don't like to have too many weddings, as we don't want to go down the road of being a wedding factory."

Responding to the VIBES award, he added: "We were doing sustainable management before it became sexy, because it makes sense to source things locally.

"We try to minimise our waste, recycle where we can and encourage biodiversity across the estate. Our new biomass heating system is going live in the next few days, burning wood chips made from low-grade timber from the estate and heating Winton House and five other houses.

"I feel very strongly that the countryside, including Scotland's wealth of heritage properties, have a more crucial and constructive part to play in the Scottish economy than many people realise."

VIBES is a strategic partnership between: Scottish Water, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Zero Waste Scotland, Carbon Trust, CBI Scotland, Co-operative Development Scotland, Green Business Partnership, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Government and Energy Saving Trust, Scotland.

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