Eight Scottish businesses from a range of industries including food, tourism, forestry, horticulture and publishing have now been recognised for supporting sustainability and biodiversity in the biosphere.

Gledpark Deer Park at Borgue has become one of the latest businesses in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere to be awarded the Biosphere Certification Mark at a special ceremony hosted at the farm.

The event host Rupert Shaw, NFU Scotland regional chairman and owner of Gledpark, runs 70 breeding hinds alongside a beef herd and renewable energy production.

He said achieving the Biosphere Certification Mark for his venison reinforced his belief that commercial farming and delivering for the environment can go hand-in-hand.

"I take great pride in my venison production and I am proud of where I live and farm in Kirkcudbright – in the heart of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere.

“I have a customer base for my venison that includes cookery schools, hotels and restaurants and having this valuable certification provides them with further reassurance on the high standards of venison production and environmental protection that we deliver on our farm.”

Other newly certified businesses also included:

  • Land Energy Girvan;
  • Scottish Dark Sky Observatory;
  • Freelance Ranger;
  • Galloway Flowers;
  • Brookford B&B;
  • Curly Tale Books; and
  • Nithbank Country Estate.

Chris Miles, recently retired regional manager for Scottish Natural Heritage and former chairman of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Natural Heritage group, made the awards on Wednesday (May 22) alongside Emma Harper, MSP South Scotland.

He said: “It’s fantastic to see businesses in the region recognising the opportunities that the UNESCO Biosphere presents by promoting and enhancing their sustainability credentials.

It's particularly apt to be making these awards on International Biodiversity Day when we should all be looking at how we can change our actions to benefit the natural world.

Joan Mitchell chairman of the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Partnership said: "UNESCO’s Biospheres are the world’s only globally-recognised designation for regions demonstrating excellence in sustainable development.

"Our Biosphere can bring real value to our rural businesses and communities by leveraging the powerful UNESCO brand.

"The Biosphere Certification Mark which is for both services and product labelling is a great recognition to those businesses supporting sustainability."