Eco Warrior or Ethical Entrepreneur?

Emma Brophy talks to Andreas Georghiou about green trading on the Terrace

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We meet one of Chiswick's food heroes Andreas Georghiou

Andreas Georghiou


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Eco Warrior or Ethical Entrepreneur? Andreas Georghiou would claim he’s neither even though his environmentally friendly business ethos has been in operation long before the recent influx of like minded retailers.

“We became aware of the need for change about two and a half years ago,” says Andreas “There were various issues that arose like the fact that the food industry is the world’s second biggest polluter after oil. And I’m of that age when I’ve got three young children so we began to look at what can be done.”

Andreas began by labelling the food sold in the shop with how far it travelled and introduced a new fleet of delivery vans powered by LPG. “All our deliveries are carbon free and energy efficient. Everything is recycled, even my mum uses our leftover veg for compost and her rabbits.”

“We’ve got rid of all non-essential packaging and have given many of our customers hessian bags which by the way cost twice price to produce because I insisted they were made in England. All the other bags we use are recycled or recyclable.”

A bit of the eco warrior in him after all? “We’ve done our bit that’s all. I don’t want to been seen as a campaigner, I just want to do what a food company should do and what’s relevant for today.”

“We’re talented and still growing which is amazing in this climate,” he continues without arrogance, “I’ve got 12 members of staff and I’m responsible for them so I see all this not as a sales tool but as an investment for the future.”

The mention of the future brings us on to the difficulties of trading on Turnham Green Terrace. “The Terrace cannot function with these ludicrous parking restrictions. Without sensible dialogue there will be no independents left and the Terrace will become lifeless within ten years.” he says “This is one of only two areas left in London with traditional food stores but you have to ask how long can this continue?”

“There seems to be a common misconception that we’re all doing well here. The irony is I’m doing everything right to give me and my kids a better life but costs are exploding. I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to carry on supporting the local charities and this is a direct result of the all the parking problems, higher council tax, refuse collection and now £800 per year for pavement licence which I have no guarantee of getting but still have to reduce my display by at least a third to stand any chance. I even had my business parking permit which cost £500 per year taken away from me because the van was apparently too big to park on the Terrace. I’m now being charged £10 per day to park exactly the same van in exactly the same space. Customers can’t park, I can’t display what can I do?”

Although left in no doubt of his frustration, Andreas is without self pity. A Chiswick man born and bred, he remembers how vibrant and diverse this area once was. It's this memory which fuels his determination to retain as much of the unique character that remains. “It’s frightening all the good over the years is being completely washed away by central and local government. We’ll survive but only if there is real dialogue between council and traders.”

February 21, 2008