Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Our COP27 Calendar: Your guide to what's happening, when.
Featuring COOK, Butternut Box, Notpla, DAME and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: You may not be in Egypt, but you can still get involved with COP27. Here’s how.
Brand Spotlight: “Our culture is our competitive advantage”: How COOK’s 5 ‘Essential Ingredients’ have ranked it one of the best companies to work for 10 years in a row.
In case you missed it: 🌱 Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO): What does your brand need to do?
> Good News Last Week
🎯 Butternut Box announced their certification as a B Corp, one of the only two pet food manufacturers to do so. Through 100% renewable energy, low-carbon meat-free meals for dogs and a reduction of food waste to under 2%, Butternut Box achieved a score of 82.6.
🎯 Notpla becomes one of 15 finalists in the The Earthshot Prize 2022 for their mission to "make packaging disappear" and build a waste-free world - all with their revolutionary seaweed packaging.
🎯 Dame for Good re-certified as a B Corp their new score of 101.6, increasing by 14% from initial certification in 20g19.
🎯 Candy Kittens became the only sugar confectionary brand to certify as a B Corp with a score of 86.5. Working with ClimatePartner to calculate and reduce their carbon emissions, Candy Kittens supports projects including Plastic Bank to reduce plastic entering the oceans. The palm oil free and gelatine free brand is working with their supply supply chain to ensure responsible production.
🎯 Mindful Chef, in partnership with Soil Heroes, invested in Regenerative Farming Program as part of their Net Zero Strategy. The program will help support suppliers, including Stourgarden, to adopt soil management techniques that reduce the CO2 of their crops, enrich the soil, produce healthier crops, restore natural habitats and enhance biodiversity.
🎯 Frecycle launched a new waste management app where users can arrange a Frecycle cyclist to collect, sort and ensure their waste is recycled properly. The on-demand recycling service helps contribute to a circular economy and rewards users for their recycling efforts.
⭐️ GANNI announced their with Barbour on a limited edition Barbour Re-loved collection. The Return scheme which launched in 2019, encourages consumers to return their pre-loved Barbour jackets for upcycling or recycling. The collection with Ganni sees 50 pieces reinforced with custom patches and trims using deadstock fabrics.
⭐️ Tesco published a report with WWF to call for mandatory food waste reporting on British farms where almost 3 million tonnes of edible food is wasted annually, equivalent to 18 million meals wasted each day. The report revealed the scale of waste which accounts for 10% of the UK agriculture sector’s annual GHG emissions, as well as a roadmap for policy and industry interventions to reduce the scale of the issue.
⚡️ The RSPB’s Fair to Nature food and farming certification scheme has been relaunched and expanded for dairy, livestock, horticultural farmers and wine producers. The scheme aims to accelerate the adoption of more sustainable agricultural practices to help tackle the loss of biodiversity in the UK.
⚡️ University College London announced the findings from The Big Compost Experiment. Key findings include that home composting is not currently effective or environmentally beneficial as an end of life option for compostable or biodegradable packaging.
⚡️ United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established the REDD+ mechanism to produce sovereign credits. In opposition to popular carbon credits bought by companies as part of their carbon offsetting strategy, sovereign credits will provide forested nations with financial assets and use the investment to fun further climate resilience. Gabon and Papua New Guinea are the first to meet strict requirements including a national GHG inventory and providing forest reference level data for technical review.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
You may not be in Egypt, but you can still get involved with COP27. Here’s how.
COP27 kicked off yesterday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, after a tumultuous year since the last summit in Glasgow. To refresh your memory, COP stands for Conference of the Parties, with ‘parties’ referring to the attending countries that signed up to the original UN climate agreement in 1992. This year’s COP must build on, and far surpass, the ‘fragile’ commitments made at COP26, with some areas not fully resolved at COP26 also on the agenda for discussion (loss and damage, carbon markets, strengthening coal phase-out commitments).
COP27 will focus on three main areas:
Helping countries to prepare for and deal with climate change
Securing technical support and funding for developing countries for the above.
Unless you’re on the ground in Sharm el-Sheikh, the chances are that you’re not sure how you or your business can actually get involved in the events of the next two weeks, or how to stay up to date. Back due to popular demand, we’ve put together a live COP27 Events Schedule to make it easier than ever for you to make the most of this unique conference, from afar. We’ve picked out the most exciting events that could be relevant to your business, and available online. There are a multitude of different events happening in and around COP and it’s a great opportunity to keep up to date with the latest thinking on climate for your business decisions. We’ve marked which are free, what areas they relate to, who organises them, and where you can find them.
How our COP27 calendar works:
This calendar is live - all events that have passed will disappear, and new events that we find will be added over the coming weeks.
There are three different ways to view the events on offer (click to see each):
Looking for something in particular? ‘Filter’, ‘Group’ and ‘Sort’ the events using the tools in the top left corner.
Want to add an event? Submit one here, and we’ll share it publicly with our audience.
> Brand Spotlight
“Our culture is our competitive advantage”: How COOK’s 5 ‘Essential Ingredients’ have ranked it one of the best companies to work for 10 years in a row.
COOK’s driving force is to nourish people and the planet. They have been practising what they preach since the business was founded in 1997. As one of the founding UK B Corp members, first accredited back in 2013, COOK’s core belief is that there is and can be a better way to do business than our current norms. Lobbying MPs for the Better Business Act and as members of Business Declares, COOK uses their voice to fight for a better future.
Let’s dig into how COOK are nourishing the planet, their people and their community.
Nourishing The Planet
Net Zero Transparency
Describing the Climate Emergency as “challenging but essential”, COOK have been transparent about the difficulties they have faced balancing their carbon footprint reduction strategy with business growth. Running off renewable energy, implementing solar panels & heat recovery, installing CO2 freezers and fighting food waste by turning leftovers into meals have been balanced with refrigerant gas leaks and increased business operations. Disclosing both their carbon footprint increase of 26% and carbon intensity reduction of 15% allows COOK to debate their own progress and the need for a stronger Net Zero strategy.
COOK’s focus on their supply chain has seen them develop a strategy for Nature Friendly Farming, working with their suppliers of priority ingredients to reduce carbon emissions, reduce biodiversity loss and improve soil health. COOK even has 5 Compassion in World Farming awards, showcasing their commitment to animal welfare. 77.8% of their footprint comes from the production and transportation of their ingredients, so it’s also front and centre to their reduction strategy too.
Packaging & Waste
Reducing food waste by up to 10% in 2019, COOK sends zero waste to landfill from their main kitchen in Kent. COOK’s awareness of the plastic problem has also seen them move their entire range from black trays to 100% recyclable rPET trays, made from 85% post-consumer waste and the 15% from virgin plastics required by law. With targets for recyclable packaging and exploring closed-loop systems, COOK continues to innovate to reduce their impact.
Nourishing Their People
With Away Days, The COOK Cabin and profit share, COOK’s people are valued highly, showing that when COOK takes care of their people, and in return they help take care of COOK. COOK have been ranked as one of the ‘Top 100 Best Companies to Work For’ an incredible ten times in a row, and they were ranked as the #1 Food & Drinks Company to work for in 2021. A huge achievement, that’s been hard earned.
COOK’s workplace culture underpins their entire business, and they acknowledge this as their “competitive advantage.” Why? Because “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. So, they’ve outlined five ‘Essential Ingredients’ that build their culture:
Be Part of the Family
Churchill’s Pig (The pig was Winston Churchill’s favourite animal. He reckoned that a cat looks down on a man, a dog looks up to a man, but a pig looks a man in the eye and sees his equal. For COOK, this sums up how colleagues talk to each other and with their customers with absolute honesty and openness, looking each other in the eye as equals.)
Every quarter or so, COOK asks all employees to nominate their colleagues that put these five ‘Essential Ingredients’ into practice. In 2022, COOK saw an increase of peer-to-peer nominations, receiving 897 in total.
Being a Living Wage employer is only the beginning for COOK, their Learning & Development and Wellbeing Programmes have teams dedicated to supporting their employees in gaining new skills and reaching their potential. Taking ownership of personal development, COOK empowers their workforce to make the most of the tools & opportunities provided by the company for a more fulfilling work-life. This includes external courses, mentoring schemes and professional qualifications. One example is the COOK Academy, which has 5 stages for leadership development beginning with ‘Leading Yourself’. Another example, starting in 2013, is The Dream Academy which provides 1-2-1 coaching sessions with COOK’s Dream Manager, to “turn dreams into a goal.”
COOK is also supporting people who would otherwise struggle to find a job via their Reading and Working (RAW) programme - focusing on helping those with criminal convictions, homelessness, neurodiversity, mental health issues or refugee status. As of 2022, RAW Talent makes up 3.9% of COOK’s workforce. Even more impressive is that 64% of the 126 people who have gone through the programme have remained working at COOK. Always in pursuit of increasing their impact, COOK have helped 16 companies develop their own RAW talent programmes too.
Nourishing the Community
“Nothing brings people together more than a shared meal.” COOK’s ambition to help create communities is seen through their support of people facing financial hardship. Each of their shops distributes up to 30 free meals a week for vulnerable neighbours, and through the COOK Kindness Fund they work with FoodCycle to create meals from their leftovers. For children, the biggest barrier to education is the need to eat, so providing food security encourages school attendance and allows children the freedom to learn and play. So, with discounts for new parents and their partnership with One Feeds Two to provide a free school meal for a child in one of the world’s poorest countries, COOK are supporting children globally with every meal sold. Since this scheme began in 2012, COOK has donated over 3 million meals to children in Malawi. Additionally, COOK’s Care Card gives people going through a tough time a discount, to help provide nourishment when it is most needed.
Support COOK via their shop:
> In case you missed it
🌱 Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO): What does your brand need to do?
Featuring Kib Herbal Tea, Peregrine, Montaine, Little Freddie and more...
> Follow up with…
Resource: COP27 — Time to fix food
Event: Hiring People with Convictions A Practical Workshop with COOK, Timpsons and Greggs (Wednesday 30th November 2022). Sign up here.