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Case Study

Fieldfisher advises Riverford Organic Farmers Limited on its transition to employee ownership


United Kingdom

Guy Watson established the Riverford business 31 years ago. The business, now a household name, delivers around 55,000 boxes of organic fruit and vegetables per week to homes around the UK and has grown into the country’s largest organic veg box business. 

In the summer of 2018, Guy delivered on his ambition to transfer a controlling interest in Riverford to an employee ownership trust. Guy was motivated by a desire to give his staff a stake in the business, recognising their contribution and realising that the objectives should not just be the growth of the business but the personal growth of the staff.

Guy Watson, who retains a 26% shareholding, sees employee trust ownership as a way to "protect our values – forever", "ensure independence and a long-term view" and ensure "the best people for the job".
The BBC sent a camera crew to Riverford's Devon farm on 8 June 2018 to witness its 600+ staff becoming employee owners.  

Riverford has posted record profits since the transfer of ownership to the staff, and is going from strength to strength.

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