Innocent Drinks: Make sustainability fun, or fail

By John Parnell

Make sustainability fun!

That’s the simple yet challenging message from Innocent Drinks product planning manager Lucy Barks, whose company markets itself heavily on a clean and green image.

But as many businesses have discovered, it’s not as easy as it sounds, especially if employees feel they are being treated like schoolkids with another layer of rules.

Barks says employees will be more likely to take part and contribute ideas if they don’t feel like measures to reduce waste and energy use are simply another layer of regulations being handed down from the top.

“It’s important not to go about sustainability with a really po-faced attitude, telling people ‘we must do this for the environment’ and instead saying of course this important but its easy and has great benefits for the business,” she told RTCC.

“It should be fun and engaging, not a case of people thinking, well I’m going to get shouted at if I don’t do this.

Another happy Innocent customer. (Source: Innocent)

“People like to help and they want to be better to do things better and to solve problems with you. We ask people for their ideas. We ask people to bring in ideas that they do at home.

“Everyone recycles at home so why wouldn’t you do that at work. Anyone can choose to do this,” she told RTCC at the Rushlight Show in London.

The company made its name selling all-natural fruit smoothies and this link with nature is a key element of the brand, says Barks.

“It’s non-negotiable when you work for Innocent, it’s who we are and its part of our culture.”

Innocent targets energy and resource savings from its farm suppliers to post consumption.

The company uses one third recycled plastic in its bottles and halved the CO2 emissions of its bulk packaging by switching from cardboard boxes to plastic trays and shrink wrap.

Innocent also helps its farmers to save water and use less fertilisers and helped some of its Indian mango suppliers undertake a climate adaptation project to buffer them from rising temperatures and unpredictable rainfall.

Last year these projects won the company a Footprint Award for Sustainable Sourcing.

RTCC Video: Lucy Barks on Innocent’s sustainability culture 

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