Creating natural and tasty smoothies and juices, while trying your best to take good care of the world. With this week’s Positive Impact Creator, we offer a look behind the scenes at Innocent Drinks. The well-known brand that you can find in almost every food store. How does a commercial brand like this creates positive impact in our world? We asked them about their focus and activities, about the steps and roadblocks in their journey from smoothie-maker to sustainable inspirator…
The balance between good and commercial
For Innocent it’s all about finding the right balance between taking care of our planet and being commercial at the same time. This believe goes hand in hand in their ‘sourced sustainability’ promise. It is about a business commitment to sustainability. Daring to take a first step, even if your work is not ‘perfect’. While Innocent is creating natural products, they are thinking ahead, about the impact they create and how they can turn this into something positive. But how do they do it?
It started with donations
After the brand started selling smoothies and juices, the Innocent Foundation was founded. With this foundation, Innocent wants to show that you can make money out of good and fair products and contribute to the world at the same time. With the foundation, they started donating (at least) 10% of their profits to charitable foundations. This was an integrated part of Innocent’s identity. With their foundation, the brand supports global projects to help the world’s hungry.
Also, Innocent’s Big Knit Campaign is returning every winter. For this campaign, Innocent encourages people to knit small hats that are put on the smoothie bottles in the stores. For every ‘behatted’ bottle that gets sold, a donation is made to organizations that help the elderly. Every year, thousands of little hats are knitted, so that Innocent can help older people with vital services like befriending visits, warm meals and emergency cold weather support.
Growing in a meaningful way
Innocent states that it is their core values and ‘simple human behaviors’ that guide them through their mission of creating a better world. In this, they are continuously reaching for milestones. The behaviours and attitudes are passed on from person to person to keep growing in a meaningful way. Within the Innocent team people enable each other to identify the right sort of people to hire and to pass on the values and right attitude.
Putting the core values and team central is working out really well for them. “This June we became Europe’s favourite little healthy drink company, which is a big milestone”. With their team, Innocent is constantly working on improving her current products. In 2016 the brand received the Guardian Sustainability award for their strawberry project, which calculated the amount of water needed to grow the strawberries. In that way, wasting water gets prevented and this saved more than 1.7 billion liters of water in 2015. Such milestones are part of the sustainability journey. They create positive spirit and motivate brands to keep up the work and activities that generate positive impact.
Not just social impact
Innocent want to be a business that they and others can be proud of. They aim to be and stay a positive impact creator for the rest of their life. However, being responsible and helping people in need by means of donations are not the only things that matter. This is why Innocent is now also increasingly focussed on their environmental consciousness. They want to increase their impact by working on the full sustainability package.
To us, sustainability also means striving to do business in a more enlightened way.
Innocent’s sustainability strategy covers the whole scope of the supply chain, from the farms all the way to the consumers and all steps in between. Their ‘sourced sustainability’ promise, refers to the business commitment to sustainability: in which there’s a balance between being responsible and being commercial.
We can’t do any good if we’re not a business at all, so we have to think about the money-side of things too.
From challenge to innovation
The brand for example uses bottles of 50% recycled plastic (rPET). “This used to be 100%, but with plastic of all sorts of different things and colours, it’s hard to make the bottles completely clear”. These kinds of issues pop-up every other day. That’s why Innocent mentions that they are on a journey, a never-ending journey, to leave things better than they’ll find them. As long as you’re taking responsibility for the impact of your business. Aiming to move this impact from negative to neutral or – even better – positive impact is the right way to start. There’s always room to develop further from there and taking things to the next level.
We’re constantly keeping an eye on wider influences of corporate sustainability.
With global challenges being top of mind, new developments are key for shaping the business landscape in the coming decade. As responsible brand, they’re in the process of reviewing their sustainability strategy. A never-ending story that’s always in line with the bigger mission. “Even though everyone will tell you that your idea won’t work, for a million different reasons, you should stick to what you truly believe anyway. You are the only one who can make it happen: fight and focus”.
Just like Innocent, many other brands will recognize the fact that the sustainability journey has highlights as well as roadblocks on the way. Aiming for a world, in which you’ll leave things better than you’ll find them, is a good state of mind to start with. Rainbow Collection supports companies in this journey: we provide strategic and creative guidance in taking the first steps, help solve your challenges and realize world-changing innovations. Find all impact blogs on our socials too and the Dutch versions on TGTHR!
Big Knit Campaign, food, Guardian Sustainability award, innovation, meaningful brand, natural drinks, positive impact, production chain, sustainability