July's Positive Corporate News

July's Positive Corporate News

Fairtrade farmers experienced a $41m boost in their local communities in 2019 ALL from UK citizens!

Farmers in the global South reaped a $41m boost in their local communities… all from Fairtrade products purchased by UK citizens in 2019!! Yes, shouts out to us for being so caring!

If you need a little reminder: The Fairtrade certification focuses on livelihoods and aims to ensure minimum prices are paid to farmers, with buyers paying a premium of 20% more than market price. However, there are issues with the Fairtrade certification: the price to get certified outweighs the economic benefits of participating in the system.  

The Fairtrade Foundation has said that UK shoppers “care more than ever” about the sustainability of products they buy. I mean take a look at wherefrom and how many users we’ve had… and you can already see that sustainability is definitely an important consideration for many of us.

So going back to the $41m for local communities: that money has gone directly to Fairtrade farmers and workers, supporting investment in farmer-led projects that help local economies, combat climate impacts and improve community services in developing countries.

New groundbreaking decarbonisation plan has just been signed by 20 UK retailers!

A new ground-breaking decarbonisation plan led by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) for UK retailers, which includes supermarkets, food chains, pharmacies and booksellers, has just been declared. They’ve signed the BRC’s Climate Statement which says that they are working on a plan to guide the whole industry on necessary steps to accelerate Net Zero UK, ahead of the Government’s 2050 target.

It’s particularly important, not only because the signatories include massive brands like Boots, Aldi, Ikea, Amazon, and M&S, but also because it is unique insofar as it includes a roadmap to reduce emissions from suppliers.

They will be focusing their efforts on three key areas:

  • Decarbonising shops, distribution centres and logistics operations;
  • Reducing emissions in supply chains; and
  • Guiding consumers toward drastically reducing their own carbon footprints.  

Their roadmap will be published along with further commitments in the run-up to the UN COP26 in Glasgow, with the help of key stakeholders and external environmental specialists.

A major crop trader from China has announced full traceability of soybeans bought from Brazil by 2023!

Cofco International Ltd., a massive Chinese crop trader (think oilseeds, wheat, rice, biofuels, etc.), has vowed FULL traceability for all the soybeans it buys directly from farmers in Brazil by 2023. This is the first robust environmental action seen from a major crop trader.

The traceability would identify the origins of where the soy came from. This would include supporting documents to prove that the soy was not from farmland recently deforested from natural vegetation.

All of this information was found in its 2019 Sustainability Report which indicates that in 2019 the company was already able to map and assess more than 5.2million hectares. They were also able to achieve 100% soy traceability for all direct sourcing in 25 priority municipalities in Brazil’s Cerrado. They have a supplier policy in place which looks at social, environmental and deforestation risks, plus the company uses satellite mapping of all pre-financed farms, and farms located in high-risk regions of Brazil, to verify compliance.

Nice one Cofco.

Aldi to halve all plastic it uses in the UK by 2025!

Aldi has really stepped up its game. The retailer (one of the 10 biggest supermarkets in the UK) has pledged to halve the volume of plastic it uses in the UK by 2025. This will eliminate 74,000 tonnes of plastic packaging.

Interestingly, only 8 months ago Greenpeace had ranked Aldi as one of the UK supermarkets lagging behind in terms of plastic policies. However, now the company has taken a “brilliant step forward” (Nina Schrank, Greenpeace).

All remaining plastic will either be recyclable or made from recycled inputs wherever possible.

This is really important considering last year supermarkets created 900,000 tonnes of plastic waste, with most of it impossible or difficult to recycle.

Nandos to reduce carbon footprint of chicken feedstocks!

Nandos is looking into its supply chain and has committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the feedstock for its chickens. This is part of its new climate goals.

The chain will be working with its poultry suppliers and other experts to do so, as well as to invest in sustainable chicken feed research. Furthermore, the company is now going to join the Better Chicken Initiative to improve animal welfare. This will also include partnerships with Compassion in World Farming, FAI Farms and the Soil Association in order to implement higher standards of chicken welfare by 2026. Nandos has also pledged to change chicken breed to one that is naturally stronger, more active and slower-growing as well as give them more space to roam.

Also, for vegetarian and vegan friends, the company is expanding its plant-based menu and deepening partnerships with the Sustainable Restaurant Association (remember them from a few newsletters ago?), Future Planet and UK Round Table on Sustainable Soy.

Cathedral City has announced a recycling scheme for its notoriously difficult to recycle packaging!

Since the packaging has many different layers to ensure freshness, it is impossible to recycle through normal streams.

The brand has now partnered with TerraCycle to launch the first cheese packaging recycling scheme of its industry. That means that ANY cheese packaging will be recycled, not only Cathedral City’s. Consumers must bring the packaging to one of the dozen drop-off points in the UK. For those without drop-off points, people can request to become one themselves from their own homes… Not so sure how that’s going to work out but hopefully sustainably-minded consumers will take that step if necessary.

The recycling scheme will convert the packaging into reusable raw materials that can form durable products like outdoor furniture or waste bins. Obviously it would be great if Cathedral City could change its packaging into something home compostable, but for various feasibility and freshness reasons, this scheme seems to be the most positive and viable step that the company can take.

Once more it seems like it is up to us individuals to act in the right way. Understanding that companies have a large impact and responsibility to act can also go hand in hand with understanding that us individuals also have a responsibility to help as much as we can.