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Thoughts from category: sustainability

jasper's sustainability round-up

Jasper is our office superman. That means he does all of the tricky practical jobs that crop up around Fruit Towers and generally keeps everything ship shape. Since the start of the year, he’s been working on a project to make the office as sustainable as it can possibly be. We thought some of his successes were worth shouting about, so here are a few of the highlights:

 

The gas we use to power the boilers will soon be super green and we will be using 100% biogas from 1 August. This is a major win as most gas contracts only offer a 10% biogas rate. The biomethane we will be using is generated from smelly stuff like organic matter and manure. However, it is essentially scrubbed and cleaned before being put back into the national grid so don’t worry - we won’t have any farm smells coming from our boilers just yet.

From 1 August we will also start a new electricity contract and will be able to choose exactly which renewable suppliers give us our energy, be it a wind turbine in the Quantocks or a hydroplant in Wales. The 100% renewable energy we use can therefore be tracked and we can even create an energy trail, working out exactly how far our electricity has travelled to get to us.

From the beginning of May we will have LED lighting in the front and back staircases and the loos. This is one of the most ecological systems we can use and reduces our energy use and costs.

We’ve replaced our courier service with Green Couriers, a sustainable and ultra-green company. All of the bright green vehicles that Green Courier use are at the very least low-emission, but will often be ultra-low emission hybrids and 100% electric vehicles.

The Bugrassi Veyron, our new little grassy van, is running on the latest Euro 6 engine with significantly reduced emissions. We are working on the rest.

 

We have been working with the Goldfinger Factory, a community furniture workshop based underneath the Trellick Tower (just down the road from Fruit Towers) that have been recently involved with designing a range with Tom Dixon. Jasper has been using them to reuse and up-cycle old furniture, our old benches went to a vocational school in Fulham and they built our second Big Knit crate out of re-used plywood.

Our waste collections are now managed by First Mile, a company with the capacity to recycle 99% of our office waste. They have been turning our food waste and compost into renewable energy and fertiliser and taking our mixed recycling to a state of the art facility in Bow where it is then sorted and sent on to be turned into brand new shiny things. Even our general waste is sorted and then incinerated to produce energy and heat. Nothing goes to landfill so we are leaving no trace behind us.

 

Additionally they have the ability to send us reports letting us know our exact recycling rate, how many tonnes of CO2 we have saved and even how many trees we have saved through our recycling efforts. They are currently also doing magical things like turning our coffee grounds into biomass pellets and briquettes.

 

Some of our new chairs are made by a company called Solidwool. Each chair is made from the sustainably produced wool of one Herdwick Sheep and is combined with a bio-resin made of 30% renewable content. Solidwool have pioneered a material that champions the beauty of British wool, unfortunately a product with barely any demand. By combining the wool with wood from Somerset and fabricating the chairs in their Devon workshop they have created a truly British product which also just happens to look rather nice in our meeting rooms.

Jasper has definitely been keeping our office green, and he assures us he has even more sustainable plans up his banana covered sleeve for the future. Cheers, Jasper. For this, and for agreeing to climb into a bin for a photo opportunity.

less waste in the world

Like most people, we don’t like to waste stuff. Whether we’re whipping up something fancy out of our Sunday roast leftovers or folding our wrapping paper instead of scrunching it, we’re big fans of never chucking things away without making the most of them.

When it comes to our drinks, we’re just as keen to make sure that any excess doesn’t go to waste. To help deliver any leftover juice and smoothies to people who really need them, we started working with a charity called FareShare when we started the business back in 1999. FareShare save good food and drink destined for waste and send it to charities and community groups who transform it into nutritious meals for vulnerable people across the UK.

We deliver our drinks to sixteen of FareShare’s Regional Centres located across the UK so that they can be distributed to vulnerable people from Bristol all the way up to Edinburgh. The extra drinks directly benefit 2,233 charities and community groups, 24% of which are serving children, 18% serving people experiencing homelessness and 7% serving older people at centres such as lunch clubs.

We’re chuffed to say that we’ve just a hit a milestone with FareShare and have now provided over a million portions of fruit to people who need it.

We’re really proud of everything we’ve achieved with FareShare, and are excited to see how many more drinks we can send their way next year. Now, excuse us while we rip the sellotape off this wrapping paper really carefully. 

this film is bananas

Whether you love them or hate them, bananas are the unsung heroes of the smoothie-making game. We've been adding bananas into our smoothies since 1999, and we get through absolutely loads of them every year. To protect the farmers and the local environment where they're grown, we only use bananas from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. We've made a short video about why we think it's really important for the planet, and you can watch it right here:

we'd like to thank the academy

A couple of weeks back we told you we’d been nominated for a Guardian Sustainable Business Award for a project to reduce the amount of water used to grow our strawberries. This little film explains what the project was about:

We had our gracious loser face down to a fine art by the time we made our way to the ceremony, but, to our complete shock, we actually went and won the thing. No award is complete without an acceptance speech, so we’ve asked Jess, who leads our sustainability team, to say a few words:

“We are beyond thrilled to have won this award. We have been working with our Spanish farmers and the University of Cordoba for six and a half years to reduce the amount of water used in strawberry growing and, in doing so, protect the wetlands of the Doñana National Park. Our little project has grown from working with just four farmers, to now influencing the water management of 87% of all the strawberry farms (even though we only buy 1% of the strawberries grown on them.)  It proves that even if your idea starts small, if you find the right solution, and get everyone involved, you can make a big difference.  We are now sharing what we’ve learned with our berry farmers in Poland, and will see if we can use it with other fruits in the future too.”

The award itself is pretty special, and has taken pride of place on our Reception desk here in Fruit Towers:

 

As a business we’ve always wanted to leave things a bit better than we found them, so we’re really proud to be recognised for making a difference. We know there’s loads more we could do though, and we still have a long way to go before everything we do is award-worthy. We’ve got lots of exciting plans to get even greener in the next few years, so watch this space.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to the after party.

and the award goes to...maybe us

You shouldn’t really brag about awards you’ve been nominated for. If Hollywood film stars have taught us anything, it’s that when you get nominated for something you’re supposed to say things like, “I’m just in shock right now,” and “this is so unexpected,” and “it’s an honour just to be nominated.”

But as a business we’ve always wanted to leave things a bit better than we found them, so we’re going to put our modesty aside and proudly announce that we’ve been nominated for a Guardian Sustainable Business Award. We’ve been recognised for a project we’ve been working on to reduce the amount of water used to grow our strawberries in Spain. This little film explains what we’ve been up to:

All we have to do now is find something presentable to wear and head to the awards ceremony on the 26th May. We have no idea if we’re going to win, but we’ll be sure to let you know either way. And, whatever happens, we’re just in shock right now, this is so unexpected and it’s an honour just to be nominated.