The organic herbal tea and supplement specialist joins brands such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, and Coca Cola European Partners by becoming the 13th UK company to have its carbon reduction target officially recognised by the SBTi.
With a turnover of nearly £36 million, Pukka Herbs was founded in 2001 by Tim Westwell and herbalist Sebastian Pole. Sebastian’s vision was to create a business that lives in a regenerative way and it has since become one of the fastest growing organic businesses in the world, working with over 5,000 organic growers worldwide and selling its 100% certified organic herbal teas, supplements and lattes in over 40 countries.
While many companies are setting their own carbon reduction targets, only 13 in the UK including Pukka have set independent, rigorously verified targets through the SBTi and while the smallest, it joins UK-based, global organisations such as BT, Capgemini and Diageo PLC in the plight to radically reduce climate change before it’s too late.
Pukka, which was the first company to develop recyclable tea envelopes and has been an early adopter of renewable energy, says it will achieve its science-based targets via actions ranging from engaging with suppliers to tackling the emissions caused from boiling kettles – which have the greatest impact (49%) in Pukka’s value chain.
Its ‘Smart Boiling’ campaign will encourage people to adopt some simple practices to make a ‘Pukka cuppa’. Boiling only the amount of water you need and switching to renewable energy are just two of the ways it is highlighting to help boil smarter, saving consumers nearly £1 million a day in electricity by only boiling what’s needed.
Pukka also runs its buildings on renewable electricity while, in future, all its company vehicles will be electric.
With the help of Carbon Credentials, Pukka has mapped out its carbon footprint, breaking down total carbon output from ‘crop to cup’. A complex tea production supply chain, with over 90% of carbon emissions outside its direct control makes this an even more ambitious target. 25% of its carbon footprint is in the growing of its herbs and making its packaging. To address this 25% Pukka has:
- Inspired other companies in its supply chain to switch to renewable energy. For example, Infusion, Pukka’s blending and packing partner, has now switched to renewable energy.
- Started using organic farming methods which reduce emissions and store more carbon in soils.
- Started working with its most important herb growers to encourage low carbon farming techniques. Ploughing, for example, releases carbon from the soil into the air, so ploughing less, or not at all makes carbon sense. While agroforestry, has many benefits: better composting and agroforestry help to reduce carbon emissions, and help lock more water into the soil which is important in times of future drought. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air, roots firm up soil helping to prevent soil erosion, and tree nuts, fruits and bark can often provide a secondary source of income for farmers.
- Introduced pilot carbon reduction projects in collaboration with suppliers and the communities growing its specific herbs. This includes Pukka investing £45,000 in pilot projects tasked with reducing carbon impact throughout 2019, while it’s now generating more accurate data relating to its specific carbon impact in-situ (as well as monitoring carbon reduction over time), via a field-based app.