Lessons from Innocent: Profitability and Sustainability can go hand in hand...
Attending Destination Growth 09 at Duxford easier this week was a real learning maze – diverse speakers on diverse topics and each provided lots of stimulus for taking back to your own business.
I was lucky enough to spend 30 minutes listening to Jessica Sanson – the Sustainability Manager at Innocent. From Oz originally Jessica is very passionate about the whole sustainability agenda, but also has a very commercial mind. She was able to give a compelling talk about the benefits of having a clear environmental strategy. Jessica was a strong believer that CSR [corporate and social responsibility] now needing to be central to the corporate agenda rather than sitting on the sidelines.
What were the Environmental lessons from Innocent that I took away?
- Do a Carbon Audit to at least understand where your major areas are……contra to belief distribution accounts for less than 10% at Innocent. They now do an annual audit.
- Challenge-Challenge-Challenge……..Innocent challenge the notion of recycled content for their plastic bottles and now have a 100% recycled content in their plastic bottles….something that they had been told by their suppliers just wasn’t possible.
- Energy savings in manufacturing have delivered massive savings to the bottom line – eg waste, water, electricity
- You don’t need to be a large company to leadin the sustainability arena! Jessica told a great story about continually challenging TetraPak to take material out of their cartons. Innocent are a very small customer for Tetrapak, but being small proved to be just the right size to lead a trial. The paper reduction realised in the gable top cartons is now being rolled ‘up’ to much bigger customers.
Overall Innocent seem to have a very dynamic approach to challenging the status quo………Jessica described it as ‘continually munching away on the pie’. At the end of the day Innocent seem to be as good as their word, puting 10% of profits back to the Innocent Foundation to fund agricultural projects.
Environmental issues have always been in mind with Breckland Orchard since it was set up. We bottle in glass which is fully recyclable. Our outer packaging is cardboard, rather than shrink wrap as that is also easier on the environment….in our own small way we hope we are playing our part. But hearing Jessica was a great reminder to keep pushing harder – to keep muching away at the Breckland Orchard pie too!