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March 15, 2007


Have you considered planting a green roof? You can sit around on them, grow fruit on them and help little birds find somewhere to live.
They are also great for heat and sound insulation and reduce pollution!

What can we do to make up for that 294 grams?

... walk to the shop to buy them rather than driving?

4.4kg carbon emission for a cheeseburger is ridiculous. There ought be more campaigning about this sort of thing. You know, the fact that your average cheeseburger is shortening not only the eater's life expectancy, but also the life expectancy of the planet as we know it. Crazy...

Well done, Innocent!

Are there plans to label each of the smoothies with the carbon footprint figure?

That would be really cool!

"4.4kg carbon emission for a cheeseburger is ridiculous."

And do you know where most of that carbon emission comes from?

The cow's, er... emissions. It's the methane that the cow expels which creates over 65-70% of the carbon footprint of a cheeseburger.

It's a cool idea but it's quite hard to put it into context isn't it? i mean is that a lot or not a lot? how much carbon should i be 'allowed' in a day?? I really want to do my bit but I feel like I need someone to help me work it all out!

Congratulations to you and the Carbon Trust. We (see have been trying to do a guide for everyday use but found it hard finding any reasonably accurate numbers. Your good research with will put all of us in a better position to cope with the problems of the future.

I will be buying your products now. But when will you be selling red wine in your cartons? Our figures suggest that green glass bottles have an enormous footprint... and they are not really recycled, just ground down to make sand for motorways etc.

When can I place an order for 12 cartons of your red wine?

I don't think humans are responsible for global warming, the sun is responsible (and maybe volcanos). I make solar cells for a living and I'm hoping lots of people use them in California. If their house has an airconditioner on it I believe it should have a solar array so in the afternoon, in the summer time the human occupant of the house can be cool and also pay his bills as electricity costs rise.

Why not bottle innocent's drinks in compostable 'plastic'?

I was lucky enough to see Al Gore on his recent tour of the UK and at his conference we were given water in compostable bottles that look and feel just like plastic!

If we compost bottles we can save the energy required to recycle plastic and also reduce our use of oil to make them in the first place!

hey guys, i just spotted two of your 'grass' coated vans but i couldn't whip out the camera phone fast enough.

post some pics of them here, cause they're cool =D

i think 4.4 on a cheesburger is stoopid!
and they r disgusting anyway
people really shouldent eat them! serious who needs a cheesburger they make u fat!
and they smell, and if u get a take out they ,make the car smell 2! well u should be walking anyway on that matter, people should walk more its good 4 everyone! one good thing about ur smoothies us that u dont use to much packing stuff!, there is always to much packing u just dont need it! then it all goes to land fill anyway, have u seen the land fill its sick i think the goverment should recycle plastic because that would help so much, because it dosent break down it just stays there for millions of years like chewing gum! yuck! its really bad that it costs so much to clean up chewing gum coz they could spend the money on something better that that but unfortunatly it has to be done because silly people spit it out and dont put it in the bin!
oh and use solar power! it good!
tra x

Hello Clare. You can check out our biodergradable bottle here

The biodegradable bottles are fab and I'm composting quite a few in my compost bin now. But I often buy the huge cartons of innocent smoothies, so I'd like to know what you're working on that will make these cartons more eco-friendly?

We're going to put your questions to Jessica (our sustainability manager) and video her answers - we'll post them in the next few days.

Great to see someone looking at the carbon footprint of the entire supply chain.

Biodegradable plastic bottles - I didn't think these were home compostible?

what about your flights? they are the fastest rising source of greenhouse gas emissions

how many flights do the folk at innocent take each year?

what do they add up to in CO2 terms?

what are you doing to reduce them?

richard reed always seems to be flying all over the world in search of fruit

me again

look in today's independent ... there's an advert (looks like one of yours!) saying that flights taken by UK citizens are the equivalent of almost 20% of the UK's total CO2 emissions!

wow! that's far more than i've heard the airlines saying it is ... although that's no surprise

Not only are your business flights in search of ingredients and sales important - but did you include the air miles for any fruit that is brought in by air freight?

Locally sourcing ingredients as far as possible will reduce the footprint massively. Use rail for transport will also help especially as an alternative to short haul flights.

Use video conferencing to talk to sales guys and suppliers rather than flying to see them, will also help a lot (and save time too).

The footprint you state is all direct to the product - there is no visible contribution there for heating and lighting your offices, sales trips etc.

Hi Caroline and Jeremy. I'm jess, the sustainability manager for innocent. We share your concerns about flights, air freight and energy. That's why we only use renewable energy in our offices, try not to fly unless we have to, and offset emissions associated with flights by 120%, and refuse to ever airfreight fruit for our smoothies (we only transport fruit by sea and land). We also try to source our fruit locally when we can - with 50% of our fruit coming from Europe.

Well done! I am very impressed with your efforts and hope others follow suit quickly!

Congratulations on signing up as a good role model - I am sure it will also pay you back in increased profitability, as the market's been slow to react to consumer demand for carbon footprints.

Delighted to see this being put into practise.

Lebowski - I remember that post well. It was virtually psychic. If you can let us know who's going to win the 3.30 at Doncaster tomorrow, that would be good too.

There is a lot of discussion on this post about making the packaging more environmentally friendly which is great to hear, however people seem to be missing a slight point of the biodegradable bottles - the Glass transistion temperature (the temperature at which the plastic will degrade) is, in some cases, as high as 60degC, however the average compost heap (research conducted by the Roal Agricultural College) is 35degC or landfill which will only reach 40-50degC...meaning that it will not degrade for a substantial period of time.
As to the claims that the plastic can degrade in the same amount of time as a banana skin (as quoted in some sources), research by the Royal Agricultural College shows that banana skins can take up to 15 years to degrade (partically due to the low temperatures in composting heaps)

I'm all for recyclability, however it can be misleading for the average consumer who perhaps is not a gardening expert, to claim that one can compost the bottles effectively at home, when the conditions are far from achievable every time (well done to Claire's Dad for getting it right!!!)
Biodegradable bottles *are* better for the environment, but they are certainly not perfect

Furthermore, the use of tetra paks (for the large cartons of Innocent) far outweighs the (good) use of biodegradable bottles because of the use of 7 layer lamination, where various materials from foil to polyethylene and paper are permenantly bonded together. They are not recyclable, unless you wish to make "lovely" shredded tetra floor tiles ("an attractive alternative for your kitchen"...).

It would be far more impressive, if, as an environmentally concious company, Innocent were to remove these entirely from their ranges, rather than focusing on biodegradable bottles.

I don't want to sound all pessimistic, as I know Innocent are far exceeding the efforts of other companies, but there is still a long way to go


I've just done some sums! It looks like 1 smoothie / day (250 ml) would have an embodied carbon dioxide emission of over 110 kg CO2 / year. So for each of your 5-a-day fruit/veg we get around 55 kg/CO2 per year - based on the Innocent numbers. This is around 275 kg / year CO2 for your 5-a-day!

So how many trees planted in the UK would be required to absorbe these carbon dioxide emissions? Answer: depends on the type but its a lot more than you can plant in your garden!

I love the carbon GDA. People have responded really well to GDA for nutrition and there is no reason why it shouldn't work for carbon footprints.

My gut on this is that to get within our GDA we'll have to do something quite radical. 9% just for a small smoothie sounds like quite a lot! What would be we be at if we start including kettles, cars, washing machines etc.?

If we are serious about getting within the GDA, I imagine that small, expensive (in footprint terms) luxury items like yours might be the first to go. Just as a weightwatcher tries to get rid of mars bars first!

Is that fair? Are you inherently Mars Bars or can you become Flytes through your investment in more efficient operations?

Hi, its Jess from innocent. Some answers to your questions.

Biodegradable bottles - I agree Ellie, they are certainly not perfect. They offer a renewable alternative to oil based plastic though, and we want to use our trial to try and address the waste management issues. As you point out, Tetrapak also have waste management issues. There are lots of recycling mills in Europe that can recycle the cartons and we are working with Tetrapak to develop these options in the UK. We only want to buy cartons made with paper from certified forests, and they have a nice low carbon footprint as well. For now our focus is on fixing the weaker links in the chain for our packaging - until we find the perfect option of course!

5-a-day CO2 emissions - when we are looking at the carbon footprint of different products its important to remember that we don't need to offset all the CO2 that we are responsible for, the planet can cope with a certain amount. Our GDA idea is to show how much carbon you can 'safely' be responsible for each day, and then its up to each person as to what they use that carbon for. I definitely want to keep eating my 5-a-day, but choose to skip the gas guzzling car, and minimise energy use around my flat to keep within my GDA.

Is 9% a lot? - the 9% is of the recommended carbon associated with food and drink, if we look at our total daily allowance, then an innocent smoothie is 1.3%. It's hard to know if we are good or bad at the moment without other products to compare ourselves to, but we will definitely be reducing our smoothie footprint year on year. Don't really want to compare ourselves to chocolate (we're much healthier!!).

It's great you are trying to work out the carbon footprint of your product, but I have a question. I guess what you have come up with is a figure for the carbon content up to the time your products leave your production units. But what about all the carbon from trucking or flying them to the retailers? If you label your product when it leaves you, that won't be taken into account. Surely its the end-retailer that has to do the calculation and put the label on each batch of products to capture their full carbon footprint? Are you talking to your customers about joining up on this?

Hi Rachel - the carbon footprint includes all the carbon up to the point that the drinks are sold to our lovely drinkers in each shop. The only bit that it doesn't include is if you take it home and put it in your fridge.

And I'd like to add a PS - we don't fly our drinks anywhere.

Jess - thank you for clarifying. I had indeed misunderstood and thought that 9% meant 9% of everything. 1.3% makes much more sense.

i dont want the world to die =[ even when i die, i dont want the new ppl to die from being fried!

i try to turn all the lights off at home that dont need to be on and other things.

OH =[

Since plastics is not a sustainable and renewable material, why don't you pack the delicious natural smoothies using something more natural. i.e Carton, coming from tree and can be recycle, a total renewable resource. This should cut down on the CO2 level, especially when most of ur sales come from 250ml in comparison with the 1 Liter and 180ml.

Since plastics is not a sustainable and renewable material, why don't you pack the delicious natural smoothies using something more natural. i.e Carton, coming from tree and can be recycle, a total renewable resource. This should cut down on the CO2 level, especially when most of ur sales come from 250ml in comparison with the 1 Liter and 180ml.

Hi guys, I am currently living in Oz and recently had a 'wake up and do something moment'. I have just started researching what it all means and I am stunned how many corporates, governments and individuals fail to acknowledge and then act upon what is going on all around us. I like your drinks and think it is fantastic that you recognise the importance of doing something. Carry on doing all to reduce impact on climate and environment. One small voice and one small gesture little by little creates a ripple that does make a difference . If only more would acknowledge this


Wendy - we're working on some interesting packaging stuff that might change our relationship with plastic - watch this space...

Chucks - thanks for the kind words. You're right - every little helps. If you do something positive, that's a good thing, whatever the naysayers say.

If several of us share a carton rather than buy plastic bottles as you suggest then we will have to wash up several glasses (hot water, detergent, dishwasher even....lots of carbon emissions), or use several disposable cups. Are you sure that would really be more carbon efficient?

Hi Innocent,

Congratulations on this analysis - I can appreciate how much work was involved in calculating the carbon footprint of a smoothie.

We are inspired by Innocent and are working to one day make our eco-designed cleaning products carbon neutral. We have a good handle on our direct emissions (from energy use, freight etc.) and have started to reduce and offset these. But the emissions associated with our ingredients are harder to quantify. Are you able to share any insights on the methodology you used to assess your ingredient emissions? Are we best to contact the Carbon Trust on this?

Congratulations and thanks for the inspiration.

Jo at BEE (

Good work as ever, Innocent.

How do you heat Smoothie Towers / the bottling factory? Wood chips could be the answer!

Wood-fuel boilers are the most effective form of renewable energy (96% carbon neutral). We're trying our best to get as many people in the North East of England as possible to use them in their homes and businesses. Check out our little film:

While the idea of getting us to drink more water is great, is it not out of step with your ethical standpoint to reduce your carbon footprint when you're marketing bottled water. Processing, packaging, and transport of bottled water exceeds municipal water cost and foorprint by a mile.

I love you for being green. I want to have your babies and grow old with you and not have silly fights about not doing your share of the housework. Thank you for having a conscious and helping to stop the earth from dying.

I think that it is fantastic that you are reducing your carbon footprint. I do not feel guilty drinking your drinks, it makes me feel really glad and happy to drink your drinks. Please keep up the FANTASTIC work!

perhaps it'd be a start if you sourced the fruit from the UK when you can.

"So if our guideline daily allowance for carbon is 22 kilograms, we will use 2900 grams for carbon associated with food and drink. Not that different to the amount of food calories you’re recommended to stick to each day."

2900 calories a day sounds great! *heads for the cake*

we LOVEEE YOURR DRINKS and the little hats are tooo KAYUUTTEEE we bum them xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx love ya

What's so great about bio-degradable? If left to decompose, it produces methane, 20-25% worse for the planet than C02. You might as well burn the bottles to reduce green house gas emissions.

They can't be put into a compost heap and still take years to decompose unless you have your own industrial plastic composting plant. Bio won't degrade in landfill either, where most of them end up.

The bio-degradable element comes from materials that would otherwise be used as foodstuff. So if you increase production of bio-degradable you ramp up these as well.

Someone also said about not using oil ..... you still need oil to make the plastic so i can't see how this is useful.

Surely recycling is the best alternative, recapturing the oil used in the older bottles and turning it into new products. The material too poor to recycle can be recaptured as fuel for power plants using clean flu technology. Nothing needs to be put into landfill.

Do you still post the carbon footprint for your products - I couldn't see details on your website.

Did you calculate your PCF with the latest PAS-2050-Version where you should also integrate the "Use Phase" in the Calculation?

I'm the Sustainable Development Adviser at Dumfries and Galloway College and I am designing teaching materials to embed sustainable development education within further education in Scotland. I would like to request the use of the image above, the innocents smoothie carbon footprint one, to use in my materials if possible. If allowed it would be included in a section teaching students about carbon footprints and advising how some companies are starting to address the footprint of their products. It would be used in a positive manner advising how some companies are concerned about their green credentials and are willing to put their money where there mouth is. Please can you let me know if this would be possible.

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