Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Seeds of change: Pukka Herbs and Energy Garden are powering a green London, together.
Featuring Graze, Pukka Herbs, Pasta Garofalo, Patagonia and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: Seeds of change: Energy Garden’s planting a green future for communities in London, and how your brand can get involved.
Brand Spotlight: Pukka's Perfect Blend: 3 Steps to Building a ‘Best in the World’ Business.
In case you missed it: 🌱 Carbon Handprints: How IKEA are flicking the switch on renewable energy.
> Good News Last Week
🎯 Kaffe Bueno launched their latest upcycled personal care ingredient, KAFFAGE™, created from coffee by-products. This is the latest addition to their ‘Find Beauty in Coffee’ line.
⭐️ Pasta Garofalo introduced the first mono-material pasta packaging in the market, containing 30% of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.
⭐️ Greggs published its latest sustainability report – The Greggs Pledge, sharing progress towards its 2025 goals. Since launching the pledge in 2021, Greggs has opened 789 Breakfast Clubs, feeding more than 49,000 children every school day, reduced manufacturing food waste by 10% and opened its first Eco-Shop (to name but a few wins).
⭐️ Weetabix announced it’s making 100% of its packaging recyclable, reaching the milestone two years ahead of the 2025 target set out in Wrap’s UK Plastics Pact.
⭐️ Puma announced plans to invite four young environmentalists to collaborate on its sustainability strategy. Puma hopes that this consultancy format will help identify impact areas of improvement and ensure its strategy resonates with the next generation.
⭐️ Tesco announced that it has started recycling used plastic food trays back into packaging. Tesco has partnered with packaging manufacturer Faerch, to recover used plastic food tray packaging and recycle and convert them back into food-grade plastic trays.
⭐️ Apple announced that they will double total commitments to its Restore Fund, to advance high-quality, nature-based carbon removals projects. As part of the expansion, Apple will invest up to an additional $200 million in a new fund which Climate Asset Management will manage.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Seeds of change: Energy Garden’s planting a green future for communities in London, and how your brand can get involved.
In March, Pukka Herbs announced their partnership with Energy Garden - a Community Benefit Society that supports communities to improve biodiversity and grow food around transport infrastructure via the sale of community-owned renewable energy. Our interest was piqued, so today we’re taking a closer look…
Who are Energy Garden, and what do they do?
Energy Garden is a registered Community Benefit Society. This means they are set up to ‘facilitate social change and benefit the community they’re set up to serve’ with a strong focus on social inclusion, responsibility, education and financial empowerment.
Energy Garden was started with three key aims; to raise awareness of environmental issues, to create community infrastructure that brings inspiration and a solutions focus, and to support communities in cultivating resilience, cohesion and hope.
From these aims has sprouted various initiatives. At their core, they develop gardens on railway stations to brighten up transport corridors throughout London - producing food and improving urban biodiversity. There are huge benefits for people too - a recent TfL report (independently verified by Imperial College London) recognised that the 26 London stations with Energy Gardens consistently have the highest Customer Services Scoring. Given the sample size, with the average station in London receiving 15,000 passenger visits a day, that’s an impressive result.
With over 2.4 billion passenger journeys a year on London transport, the average station in London receives a huge 15,000 passenger visits a day. Alongside providing London Living Wage paid youth training internships, Energy Gardens also run a successful School Workshop Programme. This offers free classroom-based workshops to primary schools, encouraging children in London to learn about solar power, electricity, urban gardening and more (psst - know a teacher who’d love this for their classroom? You can email email@example.com!).
How do they power this?
With over 500 ‘members’ of the Energy Garden Community Benefit Society (who each have shares), they’ve raised over £1 million for solar development since their launch in 2011. As a result, they’ve installed rooftop solar at scale. In 2021, their first community share offer raised an incredible £177,000 from 165 investors. This supported the installation of a 231 kWp solar on a train depot in Streatham - the UK’s first community-owned energy project on the railway. 2022 saw a second share offer raising £862,134 from 383 investors, facilitating the installation of two 400kWp systems on rooftops in London. Reaching 1 MWp of generating capacity this year, they’re aiming for 20 MWp by the end of 2025.
As they’re a Community Benefit Society, revenue generated via the sale of community-owned renewable energy generated goes both back to members and to the community. For members, they provide financial returns on each members’ investment (within a ‘reasonable’ amount of time). In addition, revenue also funds the gardens, education programmes and more that Energy Garden supports and provides for the community.
This is where businesses like yours come in. Brands like Pukka Herbs and Patagonia buy their energy directly from Energy Garden, helping to fund their work in the process. Patagonia was the first FMCG brand to sign on one year ago - powering all UK stores and offices. In March, Pukka Herbs joined in. Now, they’re powering their head offices in Bristol and their warehouse with 100% renewable energy from Energy Garden, signing a two year power-purchase agreement. Pukka Herbs are also going one step further, committing to pay a ‘social premium’ (on top of the cost per kWh for electricity) each year, alongside an upfront donation. Not stopping there, they’ll also be working with Energy Garden on the creation of herbal education modules for the Energy Garden Schools Programme.
Beyond your business, there are ways for individuals to get involved too. You can become a member of the society, or volunteer at a garden near you - simply get in touch with the Energy Garden team, and they’ll be able to help you from there.
What impact has Energy Garden had?
As a society, they’ve transformed thousands of square metres of ‘trackside’ space with the help of over 300 volunteers across 130 community groups in 14 local authorities. They’ve also held 200 public consultations, led 70 sessions in 44 schools for over 2400 children as part of their School Workshop Programme and provided AQA-accredited internships for 62 young Londoners. For an organisation that’s aligned with 15 of the Sustainable Development Goals, we’re far from surprised at the impact they’ve had, but certainly impressed.
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> Brand Spotlight
Pukka's Perfect Blend: 3 Steps to Building a ‘Best in the World’ Business.
Consumers are increasingly seeking out businesses that prioritise sustainability and social responsibility with 81% of consumers feeling strongly that companies should help improve the environment. Pukka Herbs, a UK-based organic tea company, stands out as a steaming hot example of how a business can not just capture this zeitgeist, but have a genuinely positive impact on people and the planet.
Founded in 2001 with the purpose of benefiting the health of people, plants and the planet, from day one Pukka has been fiercely committed to being 100% certified organic. They don’t stop there. As the business grew and evolved they became the first herbal tea brand in the world to set a 1.5° Science-Based Target and addedFair for Life,FairWild,1% For the Planet,Soil Association Organic, andB Corps certifications into their blend too.
We dug into Pukka’s perfect brew for building a sustainable business. Here are our top three take-homes:
Create a clear, actionable strategy: Pukka concentrates efforts on a few key impact areas - the perfect example being their commitment to go even further than certified organic by developing their own Best Practice Organic Toolkit, which includes farming techniques to enable wildlife and soil to thrive. Another example is Pukka’s fennel intercropping project in Turkey. Working with their suppliers to sow nitrogen fixing legume crops under the fennel to suppress weeds and reduce irrigation needs, Pukka can enhance crop quality, yield and the soil health.
“The best thing for a business is to go where you think you can do the best job” - Sebastian Pole, Co-founder of Pukka Herbs.
Promote partnerships and collaborations: Pukka was one of the 500 pioneering B Corps that pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 in Madrid at COP2025 in 2019. The company has established an extensive network of partners spanning various sectors and industries. For instance, Pukka’s collaboration with the Nepalese government and supplier Martin Bauer Group has been instrumental in providing support to 700 smallholders with access to training and information about organic farming techniques. This initiative aims to boost yields, replenish soil, and enhance household nutrition. If you’ve read this week’s Quick Take, there are no surprises for guessing another of Pukka’s impactful partnerships.
Set up great governance structures: Pukka has a dedicated Mission Council. This group of experts on climate, supply chain and health (including the likes of Jonathon Porritt and Christina Archer) challenge and advise Pukka on organic agriculture best practice, the climate crisis and the role of business as a force for good. The council reports to the Board and meets with the Pukka leadership team for a few days each year to help them develop its impact and influence. Having strong governance structures ensures that sustainability is integrated into the company's decision-making processes, and it also makes a really interesting blueprint for other brands.
Pukka's sustainability achievements haven’t gone unnoticed, with the company being awarded the title of 'Best Sustainable Tea Brand’ in 2022 by Marie Claire and recognised as ‘Best in the World as ChangeMakers’ by B Corp in 2019 (achieving a formidable 104.1 B Corp Score). With 0.9 billion servings of Pukka products sold in 2021 alone, their impact is truly impressive.
Take a closer look at Pukka Herbs:
> In case you missed it
🌱 Carbon Handprints: How IKEA are flicking the switch on renewable energy.
Featuring Truestart Coffee, Huel, Patagonia and more...
> Follow up with…
Event: No Nature, No Food: A Crisis We Can’t Ignore - 20th April