IT is the biggest producer and supplier of natural source bottled water in the UK, and Highland Spring hugely benefits from the fact that it makes a product which is seen as being as clean and fresh as the Highland air itself.

The company is very aware of its need to be viewed as a champion of the environment and is reacting to the current war on plastic and the climate emergency with significant announcements made yesterday.

Highland Spring Group, which is based in Perthshire, says it is continuing to invest in both its operational and environmental strategy and has secured a £55.5 million funding package from HSBC UK to do so.

The financial backing includes asset-based lending and debt refinance.

A portion of the funding will be used to reduce the amount of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic in the manufacture and production of Highland Spring products.

This will help the business meet its goal of decreasing its use of PET plastic by 20% and increasing the recycled PET plastic content of Highland Spring bottles to 50%.

The group is also investing in a new railway siding adjacent to the main bottling plant, which will enable it to transport goods in a more environmentally sustainable way.

This will reduce the carbon footprint of the business by significantly reducing its road miles as part of its environmental commitments.

Highland Spring Group employs approximately 470 people at four sites across the country.

From the group’s head office site in Perthshire, Scotland, the business will bottle around 400m litres of natural source water this year.

Mark Steven, chief operating officer of Highland Spring Group, said: “HSBC UK’s funding has been instrumental in enabling the Highland Spring Group to continue to develop and implement innovative projects which support both our operational strategy and our environmental ambitions.

“As a responsible company, we are committed to investing in solutions which will make positive changes across our business and advance our focus on providing healthy hydration in an environmentally sustainable way.”

HSBC UK has around 14.5 million customers across the UK, with 32,000 staff. HSBC also serves customers worldwide from offices in 65 countries.

Ross Keenan, relationship director at HSBC UK, said: “We are proud to support businesses in the UK that are developing innovative new ways of better serving the environment and Highland Spring Group are a fantastic example of a business that is committed to developing a truly circular plastic economy in the UK and reducing its carbon footprint.”