The founders and owners of Japanese knotweed firm Environet UK have transferred ownership of the 25-year-old company to their employees in the form of an Employee Ownership Trust.
All staff will be beneficiaries of the Trust, which owns 100% of the company, with Nic Seal remaining as Managing Director for the foreseeable future and the existing senior management structure strengthened with the promotion of Emily Grant and Mathew Day to Directors.
Environet follows in the path of Richer Sounds, Riverford Organic Farmers, Arup Group and more than 450 other companies that have adopted the Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) model, which enables business owners to realise over time the equity value built up in the company, while empowering the business to maintain its ethos and continue to grow and prosper under its own steam.
Founder Nic Seal said: “My wife Bertie and I have grown Environet organically from a start up in 1996 to become the UK’s foremost authority on Japanese knotweed and other invasive plants.
“We took the decision to transfer ownership of the company primarily to strengthen the team and reward our employees for all their hard work and contributions.
“With an indirect stake in the business, I’m confident our staff will be more committed and engaged than ever, so that Environet continues to fly the flag for sustainability and eco-innovation – and remains the ‘go to’ company for Japanese knotweed and other invasive weed removal over the next 25 years and beyond.”
Introduced in 2014, Employee Ownership Trusts (EOTs) are an indirect form of employee ownership in which a trust holds a controlling stake in a company on behalf of its employees.
According to the Employee Ownership Association, the employee-owned business sector adds to the diversity of Britain’s economy, boosting productivity and performance. Companies that are employee-owned now contribute £30 billion annually to GDP.
Converting to employee ownership also helps to root a business in the local area, supporting jobs and the local economy.
Deb Oxley, Chief Executive of the Employee Ownership Association, said: “We congratulate Environet on its move to employee ownership – sustaining its values and independence for the longer term.
“Businesses that give employees a stake and a say build trust and shared responsibility, therefore uniting leaders and employees behind a common purpose. This leaves the business in a better position to flex and adapt – key qualities needed to help the UK Build Back Better.”