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🌱 Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO): What does your brand need to do?
Featuring Kib Herbal Tea, Peregrine, Montaine, Little Freddie and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO): What does your brand need to do?
Brand Spotlight: Kib Tea’s Food Forests: ‘What grows around comes around’.
In case you missed it: 💥 #10 - Meet the Brands: Little Freddie’s big step: mono-material pouches, multi-modal transport and more.
> Good News Last Week
🎯 Wildfarmed partnered with Marks & Spencer to bring their loaves made using regenerative flour to 500 stores across the country. The flour is regenerative and fully traceable, with wheat grown in nutrient rich soil without the use of pesticides, herbicides of fungacides.
🎯 Dick Pearce & Friends launched a Limited Edition plastic-free board with Surfers Against Sewage. 15% of each board sold will be donated to the Surfers Against Sewage not-for-profit environmental charity who work to keep the UK seas safe, clean and protected.
⭐️ British knitwear brand Peregrine announced its transition to 100% regeneratively sourced wool. With 20% of their current British wool sourced from a transitional regenerative farm in Rye, East Sussex, Peregrine aims to continue grow this by 20% year-on-year to 2026.
⭐️ Barilla debuts passive cooking times and a smart device for cooking pasta with 80% less CO2e. Launching the Passive Cooker as an open-source project with design files and a list of parts to purchase, consumers can 3D print and assemble their own device.
⭐️ Kellogg’s announced the success of their paper cereal box liner trial with Tesco. The paper-based liners preserve the cereals as effectively as plastic liners and make the entire cereal carton recyclable at kerbside.
⭐️ British clothing brand Montane announced that their products which use a minimum of 50% more sustainable materials, including recycled content and organic cotton, will be featured in their ‘More Sustainable Choice’ initiative.
⭐️ Decathlon announced the change in name of 3 Belgian stores to ‘Nolhtaced.’ The reversed name promotes reverse shopping, where consumers can resell old or unused sporting goods to Decathlon for repurpose.
⚡️ B Corp released the updated standards for the B Corp Certification, with 10 topics including Circularity & Environmental Stewardship and Impact Management.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO): What does your brand need to do?
A few weeks ago, we shared our guide to the Extended Polluter Responsibility scheme and how it could, and most likely will, affect most FMCG brands in the UK. Given the feedback we received, and the shared-concerns that legislation (particularly those associated with packaging) can be a minefield to understand, we’re continuing the series. Today we’re covering Producer Responsibility Obligations (PRO).
What is PRO?
The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (say that three times fast) were first introduced in the UK in 1997 with the aim of reducing the amount of packaging that ended up in landfill, controlling the amount of heavy metals used in packaging and ensuring packaging fulfils its essential requirements under the Packaging (Essential Requirements) Regulations 2015.
The context: In provisional 2021 statistics, only 63.2% of UK packaging waste was recycled, with the highest recycling rates being 76.0% for metal, then 73.6% for glass and 70.6% for paper and cardboard.
So, companies who either own or perform relevant activity on the packaging they handle are required to comply with the Regulations, should they meet the thresholds below…
Who has to comply?
The Packaging Waste Regulations obligate companies (or a group of companies) who have a turnover of over £2 million and handle over 50 tonnes of packaging per year to:
Minimise the amount of packaging they put on to the market
Redesign the packaging so that it is less harmful to the environment
Encourage the amount of packaging potentially being recovered, reused and recycled so that the packaging flow ultimately becomes more sustainable.
With ~440,000 businesses in the UK (~16%, based on 2021 turnover size) turning over >£2 million each year, it’s likely that the number of businesses that fully qualify will be large enough to have a significant impact on the UK’s packaging waste problem.
What are the requirements?
If your business hits the thresholds above, as an obligated producer, you have to join a Producer Compliance Scheme (PCS), or register directly with the Environment Agency. Once registered, you are then legally required to fund the recycling and recovery of packaging material set at a predetermined level and the UK recycling rates via the purchase of certiﬁcates or recycling evidence, otherwise known as Packaging Waste Recovery Notes (PRNs).
To calculate how much packaging you have to account for, you will have to:
Complete an annual data submission
Calculate your obligation (e.g. how much you have to pay to ensure recyclability of your product)
Provide recycling information to consumers if packaging is supplied to end users
Meet said obligation by purchasing the correct number of PRNs.
Sounds familiar? Effectively, PRNs are to Packaging, what offsets are to Carbon. However, there is a crucial difference - the PRO regulations have absolute recycling and recovery targets that businesses have to hit. Unlike carbon offsets, which are voluntary at the moment.
Luckily, simplified procedures are available for small businesses whose turnover is between £2 million and £5 million.
If you want to know more about how the PRO might impact your business, read more here:
> Brand Spotlight
Kib Tea’s Food Forests: ‘What grows around comes around’.
‘What grows around comes around’ - Kib Herbal Tea is sowing the seeds of regenerative agriculture and more circular businesses practices across their supply chain. As part of The Perennial Foods Group, Kib (the Amharic word for ‘circle’) was born of the belief that food and drink businesses have the power to create a food system that’s healthy, sustainable and fair. How? By working closely with partners up and down their activity chain who share their goals. Let’s take a look...
Farming via ‘Food Forests’
There’s nothing worse than a disappointing cup of tea, so leaves and herbs are rightfully the core of Kib Tea’s operations. Kib practices regenerative agriculture via their ‘food forests’ - small patches of land planted with dense and diverse flora. Increased biodiversity promotes long-term soil health, and careful plant selection avoids the need for fertilisers or pesticides as the farmers feed plant waste back into the soil to act as a natural fertiliser. These food forests, by virtue of simply being allowed to thrive, act as highly effective carbon sinks too.
Incredibly, if best-practice regenerative schemes were implemented in only 5% of global arable land, we could see sequestration of 8.9 Gt of CO2 / year. That’s around 25% of annual total emissions. An incredible future-proofing strategy for the food industry, it’s no wonder business interest in regenerative agriculture has leapt 138% since 2019.
Refresh: What is ‘regenerative agriculture’? It refers to ‘any practice, process or management approach that enhances the functioning of the systems on which it relies’. To have a truly beneficial impact, however, brands need to take a considerate and context- sensitive approach.
Kib Tea’s small plot farms are provided with a reliable income stream, supporting local communities now and in the future. Growing crops via ‘Food Forests’ mean they can diversify their income and grow multiple crops at once, increasing their yield and resilience. At the same time, their sister company GreenPath Food sells organic produce from their network of smallholder farms too - helping them make the most of their land, beyond what Kib Tea buys from them.
Managing Director Jacie Jones emphasises Kib Tea’s sense of responsibility for their partners: “We exist to create sustainable supply chains, farms, and livelihoods with East African smallholder farmers. And our growing model is specifically tailored to suit the context of these small-scale growers.”
Kib Tea backs this up by taking responsibility for their entire supply chain. That means working with partners who share their commitment to fair and sustainable production: sourcing the herbs they can’t grow from Organic Herb Trading and their packaging materials from carbon-neutral InfusionGB. They’re also working with other consumer goods brands that share their vision - like their recent collaboration with Sapling Spirits. Their envelopes and boxes are also fully recyclable, and their tea bags are fully compostable too.
Want to take a (tea) leaf from Kib’s book?
Learn how it’s done ‘from seed to cup’ from Kib’s journal.
This article from the Rainforest Alliance is a great introduction to regenerative agriculture for your business.
Support Kib Herbal Tea via their shop:
> In case you missed it
💥 #10 - Meet the Brands: Little Freddie’s big step: mono-material pouches, multi-modal transport and more.
Featuring Nicola Smith, Group Senior Sustainability Manager at Little Freddie.
> Follow up with…
Article: Packaging Waste: In-depth
Knowledge Hub: UK Packaging Waste Regulations
Event: How Can Food Businesses Stay Sustainable This Winter - Foodsteps - 24th October.