This is Carlos. You might recognise him from his guest role in our new telly ad.
Carlos is our man on the ground in Latin America. He works with the Rainforest Alliance, a charity that is pioneering a better way of growing fruit that helps protect workers, local communities, wildlife and the environment. It's a great organisation and one we're proud to help support. Currently, all our bananas come from Rainforest Alliance accredited farms. And we're working with Carlos to introduce this more enlightened way of growing to the places where our pineapples come from. Ultimately we want all fruit to be grown in this way.
Carlos' official title is quite appropriately 'Fruit Supply Coordinator' and he knows the fruit industry inside out having run his own banana plantation for 20 years previously, which makes him a very good friend for us to have.
Some other interesting facts about Carlos include:
Last week Adam, one of the founders and chief greenskeeper for method products, came over to Fruit Towers to meet our Sustainability Jess. After going home method blogged about their visit so we thought we'd blog them back. Hello method.
We think method are great - they make non-toxic cleaning products made with natural ingredients. Jess and Adam had lots to talk about - method use 100% recycled plastic for their products, just like our bottles, and do great work on carbon reduction, ethical sourcing of the ingredients for their products, and trying to have a positive impact on the world.
We swapped lots of great ideas, and promised to keep in touch in the future, after all four hands are better than two.
Ellen Macarthur came to visit us at Fruit Towers today. She is keen to learn more about sustainability and to incorporate it into all that she does so we sat down for a smoothie and a chat about what we do here at innocent and why and what we can all do to lessen our impact on the planet.
Ellen talked about the challenges of going for records on a boat and how you take the absolute minimum with you, are careful never to leave the computer screens or the lights on, and generally manage what you have down to the last drop of fuel or water because if you run out there is no way you can stop for more. We thought this was a great example for how we all need to remember how many resources we all use every day - because while we can just duck out to the shops if we run out of milk, and there is always energy when we want switch on the lights, ultimately there is a finite amount of resources on the planet and if we destroy the environment, or use them all up - it's just gone.
Joanne and Gavin were the one-hundredth thousand registrants at around mid-day on Wednesday 14th November 2007. Thanks Joanne and Gavin, we'll try and rustle up a little something for you to commemorate the occasion.
And thank you to everyone else who's registered a tree so far. As the project has been so successful we are going to extend the deadline up until December 10th, so every tree over the original 100,000 will also be planted and cared for in India or Africa.
This is the first time we've run a project like this on this scale and as it has gone so well we are thinking about doing it again next year. To make it even better we'd love to hear what you think of the project and any suggestions might you have to improve it?
Downloadable certificates for each tree planted?
Badges for your FaceBook/ MySpace/ Bebo profiles?
More room to add longer messages to each tree?
More information on the communities the trees are going to?
We're open to any idea or suggestion, please leave your comments on this blog post.
This weekend saw a piece in the Independent on Sunday questioning our trial of PLA plastics (our eco bottle) this year. The thrust of the piece was that PLA is not such a good thing. As you may have read in the blog before, we've now made the decision to move away from PLA and go for 100% recycled plastic across the range. Having looked at all the pros and cons, and talked to industry experts, we think that for our bottles it's better to stick to working with waste material (ie recycled plastic), rather than creating bottles from new materials (even though they are made from renewable resources).
We're always up for a debate and, when it comes to environmental issues, it's usually pretty complicated. Sometimes you try new things out and you don't get it quite right. It's true that the UK isn't quite ready for PLA. Lots of people don't have compost heaps yet. Councils here are just starting to do more composting. When we launched our PLA bottle WRAP (the government recycling body) said it was ok to have small amounts in with PET recycling, and supported the trial at the levels of PLA we'd use in our trial. But the recycling industry are now reporting that they are finding it hard to cope with PLA. We'd definitely checked about the use of GM corn, and knew there was no possibility of contamination from the plastic, so we opted for a scheme where they offset any GM corn with a tonne of non GM corn. If you are ordering in huge quantities, you can make suppliers change the way they behave and that was our goal in the long term. It was a trial after all, and you can't always go to trial with something that is the perfect version of itself.
All we'd really like to say to you is that we'd like to keep being allowed to try new things out. And when we do, we'd love it if you could tell us whether you think it's the right thing to do. We work hard to make decisions we are all proud of, but together we can do this better.
PS. One last thing. Claire's dad put one of our first ever bottles in his compost and it disappeared just fine. Maybe he's got special manure.
It's a very clever little gadget that tells you how much energy your home is using, both in numbers (the cost of your annual electricity bill if you were to carry on using the same amount of electricity as you are at that point in time) and in colour (if it glows red you're using a lot of electricity, blue if you're keeping things lean).
Apparently the first thing most people do is see how low they can get the number and how close to blue they can get the glow, and then keep it like this as often as possible. Hence they use less electrity, hence less CO2. It's a great step towards prevention rather than cure.
A wattson can work out positively for your bank balance as a long term investment and positively for the planet as an even longer term investment. Studies have shown both electricity bill savings and accompanying CO2 cuts of up to 15%.
I spotted it in the new howies shop on Carnaby Street last weekend. Here's Ade in his shop just before it opened.
We had this idea a while ago to plant a tree for every smoothie we sold. We thought we'd call it 'Buy One Get One Tree' and gave it a go. It seemed to work quite well, with over 16,000 trees being registered and planted. Some people got really intoit, like San here.
Then we thought we'd try it again but this time a bit bigger. We're going for 100,000 trees now. That's a lot of trees. They'd cover 200 football pitches if you planted them all next to each other.
So what do you need to do? Well, look out for any of our special 1 litre smoothies with green bits on them (as shown below), register your unique code here and Bob's your uncle. We'll make sure a tree is planted in India or Africa and then looked after for 30 years (by our friends at Carbon Clear who are very good with trees).
You can even add a message to the tree you planted in our virtual forest or donate it to a friend if you're feeling nice.