Thoughts from November 2015

battling each other for a greater good

We like to think we’re already pretty responsible but we know we can always do better. That’s why we’ve teamed up with DoNation to find out how we can make more of a difference here in fruit towers and in our not-fruit towers homes too.

DoNation know that it’s difficult to get people to change their behaviour. If it was simple then we probably wouldn’t have to worry about climate change. So, to help make it easier, they’ve appealed to something that’s definitely going to get to us. Our sense of competition.

They’ve challenged us to lower our C02 rates by splitting us up into floors and seeing who can save the most. It’s the sort of thing we live for, to be honest. Floors, 2, 3, 4, and 5, as well as our international offices, all locked in an eternal battle to claim the crown of sustainability. Allegiances will be formed, inter-floor friendships will be tested. There can be only one winner (besides the overall well-being of the planet).

We’ve all made pledges to lower our own personal C02 contributions. Some of us are going to start cycling to work, others will cut their shower time to just four minutes. Pledges have been made to cut back on the amount of meat eaten or to change entirely to LED lights at home. Even taking the stairs rather than the lift can help. All small things that on their own wouldn’t do much good but, when combined, add up to something really significant.

On our first day we’d made 441 pledges, amounting to a massive 17,792kg of C02 saved over the course of a year. Or, to put it in fruit terms, 230,450.9 bananas worth of carbon. According to DoNation, this is the most pledges any company they’ve worked with has made on their first day. We’ve been unbearably smug about that all morning.

Over the next few months we’ll be doing our best to do what’s good for the planet and, at the same time, get the added joy of trying to beat our colleagues. It’s win-win, really. We’ll keep you posted on how it goes.

Mango go go

Our Catherine and Marta recently travelled to India to visit the people who supply our mangoes. As well as tasting the new season mangoes, this trip gave them the opportunity to see how our suppliers are getting on with our five point sustainability plan. The farmers in the region were struggling with lower mango yields so we started a project in partnership with the University of Konkan to address some of the challenges they were facing. We wanted to find sustainable ways to make the mango trees as strong and resilient as possible, so that they could still produce high mango yields despite the changing climate.

While they were out there, Catherine kept a travel log of some of things she and Marta got up to, and what they learned about our mangoes along the way:

Catherine's Log

As I’m quite new to the team, this was my first time going over to India and I was very excited to see the mango farms for myself and find out how everything worked. After an overnight flight, we landed in a very sticky but stunning Mumbai and started the long car journey to our first supplier (easily the bumpiest car ride I've ever been on). It was fascinating to drive into the country, away from the big cities, and see the real India. It was hot, hectic and just as colourful as I’d hoped it would be and the views from the window definitely made up for the bumps in the road.

When we arrived at our first supplier, we started learning about all the work they do with the farmers to improve yields and the new planting techniques they have been trying out, which they needed to implement in order to adapt to the changing climate affecting their fruit. The farms have now started experimenting with different planting, pruning and irrigation techniques. By keeping the trees smaller, the mangoes are easier to pluck and, therefore, the trees yield much more fruit.


The scenery was stunning as we drove to our next supplier – filled with lush tropical trees and greenery. When we arrived, we had a go at picking some mangoes ourselves as all of the mangoes on the farms are hand-plucked using a basket on the end of a stick. The equipment looks very simple, but is excellent at getting the job done. Here’s one of our pickers in action:


Once they've been picked, the mangoes are washed, placed into bowls, sorted, sent to be ripened and then turned into puree.

One of the most exciting moments of the trip was when we met the king of mangoes himself – the lovely Badrul, who stars in our British TV ads. He doesn’t speak English but we used a translator to tell him that we were really happy to meet him and that he was famous in the UK.


We reckon he should've been wearing this shirt when we made the ad (maybe one to consider for next time).

After visiting the suppliers, we’re chuffed to see that our sustainability plan is starting to make a real difference to the way the farmers in the region grow their fruit. We use mango in lots of our recipes (including this and this) and we really hope you think they’re as tasty as we do.