We just won a special new prize. Now, as you know, not only do we like to buy the best tasting fruit, but we also try to buy it from farms which look after both the environment and their workers. To help us do that, we work with the Rainforest Alliance, an international non-profit organisation that protects ecosystems and the people and wildlife that live within them.
Last week it was the Rainforest Alliance's 20th birthday, and at the celebrations we were lucky enough to receive their Green Globe Award for businesses that "demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to furthering sustainability by integrating environmental and social sustainability into their work."
They only gave out three such prizes worldwide, so we were honoured to win. We promise to carry on being good and doing good, even if Rich and Adam did look like scruffy b*ggers when picking up the prize.
(l-r Patrick Swayze, Gareth Gates, James Bond)
We'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Carlos Vega, the new Fruit Supply Coordinator with the Rainforest Alliance (we helped provide the funding for his role). Carlos will be helping us buy more Rainforest Alliance certified fruit, including pineapple, orange, acai and acerola.
He's Costa Rican, loves laptops with big screens, and enjoys a double can of beer before he goes to bed. He knows the fruit industry inside out and is going to be invaluable to us in our quest for more certified fruit.
We've worked out the carbon footprint of our mangoes and passion fruits smoothie.
It's part of a big project we've been working on with the Carbon Trust to measure the impact of our business from field to store.
We have a business mantra to leave the planet a little bit better than we found it, so reducing our carbon footprint is high on the priority list. And we've worked out that the footprint for our mangoes and passion fruit smoothie is 294 grams.
So what does that actually mean? Well, we did a bit of research to put it into context and found out that the average apple has a footprint of 37.5 grams and the Daily Mirror newspaper has a footprint of 174 grams. We are looking for more examples of food products and will let you know when we find them.
And we've done a load more work on our footprint results, where our business's emissions come from, how much carbon we should all use each day, and the best ways for us all to reduce our carbon footprints. So please have a look and tell us what you think. And if you have any thoughts at all on this whole area of carbon emissions, footprints and what we're doing about it...
***...please please please post a comment...***
We'd love to hear from you.
...watch this space for the footprint results for the rest of our smoothies...
Call me a latecomer, but we found this at the Design Museum the other day. Originally published in 2002 and updated last year, it's "a complete guide to beautifully conceived, ecologically sensitive and consumer-friendly furniture and objects for everyday use". In other words, it should help us kit out the office without screwing the planet.
A while ago someone asked us about our bottles. Here's the question:
"How are you getting so much recycled plastic in your bottles, because no one else appears to be doing it?"
So we finally tracked down Stu one day in the office. He's our Packaging Chief, and an elusive man to boot, always out on the road doing packaging things. This is his answer:
I guess the truthful answer is through a lot of hard work and trial and error. We have had to work hard at sourcing good quality recycled material to start with. It is not that easy to find because a lot of recycled PET is sent to places like China as low grade fillers for synthetic clothing etc.
The kinds of problems you see with the material are things like black specks and other inclusions that end up in the recycling stream so we had to come up with a way of ensuring they don't end up in our bottles.
The other problem you see is colour. PET bottles are sold in a variety of different colours so when the material is recycled you end up with a mixture. This leads to funny coloured bottles that vary from horrible yellow to a dull grey or blue. So we have had to find a way around this too.
Our bottles are made from 50% recycled PET. Stu's working on getting this up to 75% very soon. We'll let you know when it happens.
Since we started doing business, we've always tried to make sure that we don't mess up the planet while we're making our drinks. So whenever we make a business decision, we have to consider not only whether it's commercially the right thing to do, but also that it will be a sustainable decision.
By 'sustainable' we mean that we acknowledge that the Earth is a finite resource, and various bits of it are being used up pretty quickly. Too quickly.
And we know that there are loads of things we can do as a company and as individuals to make things a tiny bit better. This means understanding and taking responsibility for every social and environmental impact our small business has on the world around us, and moving each impact from being a negative impact to a neutral or, better still, a positive impact.
We've reached the stage where we need someone to come and work full-time as our Sustainability Manager; someone whose sole job it is to keep us on this well-behaved path. We've been pretty good at making sure that we do the right thing, but we need someone to concentrate on it all day every day.
So, here's the question. Could it be you? Or your best friend? Or your mum?
If you're interested, there's more here. We're deadly serious about finding someone special for this position, so if you know anyone who would fit the bill, please let them know about it. And if you help us find the right person, there's a whole load of drinks in it for you.
Last Sunday the Observer Food Monthly kindly made us part of 'the most ethical meal on earth', which was very good of them. But that got us thinking. Do we actually shop according to our ethics? Personally speaking, I think I'm alright when it comes to thinking about the consequences of my purchases, but as I sip on my tea, I'm not quite sure where it came from. I don't know if it's ethical tea. So perhaps I'm a bit rubbish.
The same goes for quite a bit of my shopping - I'm quite good at being good and considerate in some areas, but my bin bags/deodorant/bread might not be as ethical as they could be. I guess it comes down to me being a modern day hypocrite like most people - I do good stuff where I can but probably fall down in a few places.
So, a question - how ethical are you? Do you shop with a conscience? Or do you do as much as you can and then give up and buy a bag of chips? Is there such a thing as an ethical bag of chips? And are we all hypocrites?
Would be interesting to hear how far you go - if you have time, post a comment.