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Employee ownership model sees turnover double at Woking’s Environet

1 March 2023
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Turnover at Woking-based invasive plant specialist Environet has doubled since it transferred ownership of the company to an Employee Ownership Trust in 2020.

During the pandemic, the firm established the Trust which now owns 100 per cent of the business, with all staff as beneficiaries.

The model is growing in popularity at the moment with Richer Sounds, Riverford Organic Farmers and Go Ape examples of the more than 1,300 UK companies to adopt the model. Across 2022, HMRC received 430 applications for Employee Ownership Trusts, up from only 19 five years before.

Environet, which specialises in Japanese knotweed, Bamboo and other invasive plants was founded in 1996 by Nic and Bertie Seal, who decided to transfer ownership of the company to its staff as a means of rewarding the team and ensuring the longevity of the company.

Read more - Connick Tree Care switches to employee ownership model

Once ownership was transferred, the senior management structure was immediately strengthened with three senior managers promoted to directors, taking responsibility for the running of the company as the founders step back over time.

Nic Seal, Founder and MD of Environet, said, “Transferring ownership of Environet to our staff is the best decision we could have made. Succession planning is never easy, but our top priority was ensuring a bright future for the company and job security for everyone who has worked so hard to make it a success.

“The culture has really shifted as employees at every level and in every department feel empowered to have a say and make things better for customers and staff. Everyone benefits jointly from Environet’s success as we’re all pulling in the same direction. To have doubled our turnover in three short years is astonishing and I take my hat off to the whole team.”

All staff who have been at the company for twelve months, as beneficiaries of the Trust, are entitled to an annual tax-free bonus of £3,600.

Project Controller Gillian Weston, who joined the company in 2017, said, “I feel much more invested in my own future since I was given a stake in the business, because I’m sharing personally in its success. It’s also reassuring to know the company will remain anchored at our offices near Woking and won’t be swallowed up by someone bigger or sold off when the founders retire.”

Read more - Corporate finance firm BCMS becomes majority employee owned


Sam is the Regional Editor of Biz News, responsible for both Hampshire and Dorset.

A new recruit to journalism, Sam started writing for the Business Magazine as a freelancer in May of 2022 after completing his degree in English at University College London. His passion for local businesses and ability to tell a story soon caught the attention of the publication’s management team and have led to his meteoric rise.

Sam, who lives in central Reading, takes a particular interest in technology, gaming and food and drink, having been a chef before starting his degree.

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