Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Greenhushing to Greenrinsing: Your guide to post-greenwashing terminology, and the scoop on Beau's Gelato's work with Planet Mark.
Featuring Beau's Gelato, BELU, Alpkit, NEOM and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: Greenhushing / Greenlabelling / Greenrinsing: Your guide to the murky waters of post-greenwashing terminology.
Brand Spotlight: The Scoop on Beau’s Gelato, and their work with Planet Mark.
In case you missed it: 🌱 Trick or Treat? The Green Claims Code and Bantu Chocolate.
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> Good News Last Week
🎯 BELU announced they’re highlighting World Water Day and raising funds for WaterAid by partnering with award winning Mancunian artist Venessa Scott, who will paint live in Borough Yards, London, from 20-22nd March. This piece will then be auctioned, and donations will also be collected for WaterAid alongside Venessa.
🎯 Alpkit announced their partnership with Circular Flow to make it easier than ever to recycle your wetsuit. Circular Flow have spent 6 years developing a way to recycle neoprene, aiming to save an estimated 8,380 tonnes of the material from ending up in landfill every year. Alpkit have also developed options to reuse, repair and repurpose your old wetsuit too.
⭐️ Waitrose announced they’re pledging £1 million to support farmers and workers within their supply chain, as part of a new ‘Climate Resilience Programme’. This Waitrose Foundation programme will focus on farmers in Africa and South America, providing tools and guidance on how to respond to the impacts of climate change, the implementation of sustainable farming techniques, renewable energy and knowledge sharing.
⭐️ Co-op announced it is expanding its partnership with Spring, a tech recirculation startup, from 30 stores to 75. Customers can drop off their electrical items in exchange for money. The expansion has come in part due to Spring’s new Spring Post programme, which involves reusable pouches customers can use to send back their unwanted devices too.
⭐️ Budweiser unveiled plans to develop a green hydrogen plant near its Lancashire brewery by 2025. The energy created would cover heating and transport, potentially saving up to 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. This is in partnership with energy firm Protium, and would transform the site into a net zero facility, supporting Budweiser’s planned hydrogen fuel cell vehicles too.
⭐️ Unilever’s Hellmann’s announced it’s testing a ‘Smart Jar’ that will indicate fridge temperature. Utilising temperature-sensitive ink, the jar design changes below 5°C to reveal a hidden layer. This aims to reduce food waste, and some foods last approximately three days longer in a fridge set below 5°C compared to 7°C.
⚡️ Too Good To Go announced they’ve saved 200 million meals from going to waste, via their community of FMCG partners, retailers and users.
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> Quick Take
Greenhushing / Greenlabelling / Greenrinsing: Your guide to the murky waters of post-greenwashing terminology.
Ever heard of ‘greenwashing’? The answer is most likely a resounding yes. Greenwashing is when companies spend more on looking the part, with the nice green backgrounds and noncommittal claims, than actually really doing anything. Nowadays, the concept is widely recognised - despite one study finding that almost 40% of businesses misleading customers online - and we’re getting better at calling businesses out.
Just when the industry is getting increasingly savvy about greenwashing, businesses are finally gaining confidence to talk about progress and consumers are gaining confidence to support and purchase consciously, in rolls a new term (or ten) to throw a spanner in the works…
The list goes on…
So what do these terms actually mean? Do we in the industry need to be concerned? What can we do to navigate these waters, whilst not getting distracted from the work that really needs to be done (read: working to reduce emissions, fast)?
Let’s break down the terms.
Whether or not you feel like new terms are distractions or useful communication tools, it’s useful to understand how they fit together in the wider greenwashing bracket.
Is greenhushing really that bad?
This is a bit of a hit or miss. On one hand, if a business is not transparently reporting because they have nothing positive to report on (or often, are not reporting because they’ve increased emissions, missed targets or pulled budget), yes greenhushing really is that bad (because we are quite literally on a tight deadline to save the world). One recent study from SouthPole found that 25% of “heavy-emitting” companies are “keeping quiet” about their science-based climate goals.
However, if companies are not reporting for fear of lobbyists or backlash, then you could argue that this new term is causing more harm than good - Tier, Innocent and Oatly are among the purpose-driven brands who have come under fire in recent years.
So as a business, should I be worried about these different terms?
Now whilst the terms highlight different ways companies can mislead (*cough cough* greenwash), as it stands companies will only be investigated by the CMA, the ASA or other Trading Standards under the umbrella term of ‘greenwashing’, or if they break the Green Claims Code.
Our advice for businesses concerned about these terms and making claims is simple: if the claim adheres to the six core principles of the green claims code, the claim is valid. Beyond that, we wouldn’t spend too much time worrying.
Instead of pushing companies into a navigational terminology nightmare, we need to reframe marketing's role and function to ensure marketeers feel supported and confident of claims - rather than scared of them. A thorough cross-departmental claims review process, regular education and training sessions, and internal feedback opportunities may be a good place to start*. Have thoughts on this topic? We’d love to hear them!
*as always, please refer to government advice and seek professional support if needed. We’re not legal experts, we just work for FMCG brands and have a real passion for this sort of thing.
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> Brand Spotlight
The Scoop on Beau’s Gelato, and their work with Planet Mark.
“We put quality and sustainability over and above profit making”
Beau’s Gelato founder Amber Fox-Eyre’s words exemplify a monumental transformation in what businesses consider success. No longer are business models built solely around the bottom line. Instead, consumer goods brands are focusing on the ‘Triple Bottom Line’: Profit, People, Planet (the ‘three p’s). Vegan ice cream brand Beau’s Gelato is at the forefront of this exciting change.
Beau’s Gelato has grown exponentially in the last 7 years. What started with a small trial in the Isle of Wight in 2016 has now become a nationwide business, sold in Selfridges, Daylesford Organic, and even on Deliveroo. A lot has happened since that first scoop - Beau’s has won multiple great taste awards, launched an innovative subscription service (who wouldn’t want a constant supply of gelato?) and achieved Food Matters Live’s coveted Plant-based Product of the Year. Perhaps highest on their list of achievements? Becoming Planet Mark certified in 2021. Here’s how, with a little help from Planet Mark, Beau’s is nailing those three P’s.
Hold on - who are Planet Mark?
Planet Mark is a certification recognising credibility and continuous improvement in ESG and Net Zero strategies. Planet Mark’s record speaks for itself, with certified businesses cutting 12% from carbon emissions year-on-year, and a 16% annual carbon saving per employee. With members ranging from FMCG favourites like Dash Water and TENZING to internationally famous charity The Eden Project, Planet Mark has an incredible influence when it comes to organisational decarbonisation.
Let’s dig in - how are Beau’s making their (planet) mark, and achieving the ‘three ps’ of a triple bottom line?
People: Beau’s focuses on people. Plant-based gelato predominantly uses cocoa and cashews, both all-too-easily sourced from exploitative supply chains. Currently, hundreds of thousands of cocoa farmers make <$1/day, well under the poverty line, and only 3% of cashews can be certified as Fairtrade. Painfully aware of this, Beau’s has prioritised careful oversight of this area. Cocoa is sourced from Equal Exchange, which pays above-market premiums to its farmers, members of cooperatives in the Dominican Republic. A partnership with Liberation, Fairtrade UK-based suppliers, sees cashews sourced from Coprolef and Fairtrade Alliance Kerala (FTAK), both heavily focused on worker rights. Crucially, these organisations use farming techniques designed to preserve the land they’re working off. After all, social and financial sustainability fundamentally relies on environmental sustainability. Never is this more clear than when a community's livelihood is completely dependent on their local environment, as is the case with the Ashaninka people of Peru. Through Planet Mark, Beau’s have partnered with Cool Earth to support the Ashaninka people directly, funding local rainforest restoration schemes.
Planet: Beau’s Gelato further minimises its impact on the planet by striving to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. You can find Beau’s Planet Mark certification here, detailing its emissions and commitments. An important factor for certification was facing up to the challenges of frozen food packaging, often rife with plastic. All packaging is either recyclable or compostable, and there are some real nuggets of innovation in their materials. Instead of a plastic lining, for example, Beau’s uses 100% recycled denim cotton lining. Equally importantly, they’re completely transparent about the work left to do, and they’ve even provided a comprehensive, recycling guide for consumers.
Profit: While we can’t give you Beau Gelato’s profit margins, the business is clearly going from strength to strength. Through their commitment to people and planet, Beau’s have supported financial sustainability for their partners and suppliers. By Amber Fox-Eyre’s own standards, that’s a real mark of success. With a £400,000 investment from vegan VC giants Dismatrix to expand even further, we can’t wait to see what Beau’s Gelato will do next.
Take a closer look at Beau’s Gelato:
> In case you missed it
🌱 Trick or Treat? The Green Claims Code and Bantu Chocolate.
Featuring Bantu Chocolate, Abel & Cole, Ekonoke, King Arthur and more...
> Follow up with…
Platform: Sustainable Marketing Compass