Sustainability hub | Abel & Cole

SUSTAINABILITY HUB

Sustainability has been at the top of our agenda from the start. We truly believe that less is more, and for us, this starts with less packaging, lower food miles, and ensuring that there's absolutely nothing artificial in our boxes – just naturally nutritious food you can trust. But our work here is never done. We're committed to being transparent about sustainability, so read on to find out more about our key commitments, and how together, we’re making big changes feel bite-sized.

Abel and Cole Impact Report 2021

SUSTAINABLE SPOTLIGHT

We’re incredibly proud to have published our first Sustainability Report. This celebrates some of the amazing things we’ve achieved with the support of our green community in 2021, across the three areas of our sustainability strategy: Planet, People and Product. It also sets out our ambitious targets for 2022 and beyond, as we continue our exciting sustainability journey.

Club Zero

SENDING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC PACKING

SENDING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC PACKING

Since 1988, we’ve pioneered a low-plastic approach to life, and we estimate that our returnable cardboard boxes have saved over 65 million plastic bags. We start with only truly necessary packaging, and then make sure you can reuse, recycle or compost as much as possible, which is why we’ve set up our Recycling Collections trial. In fact, a study found that we have 77% less plastic in our organic Fruit & Veg Boxes. To make sure our packaging is as sustainable as possible, we work closely with the experts. Including ReLondon, the UK Plastics Pact and Unpackaged, who helped us launch our refillables delivery service, Club Zero.

Broadward Hall Farm

KEEPING FOOD MILES LOW

KEEPING FOOD MILES LOW

We’ve always believed in putting people and our planet first, and work with organic growers and makers who share these values. From farm-fresh spuds to spears of seasonal asparagus, handmade hot cross buns to sustainably-brewed beer, much of our organic food and drink is crafted right here in the UK, helping to keep food miles as low as possible. For anything that can’t be sourced or grown in the UK, like our organic bananas, we have a zero air-freight promise in place. Meaning that, since day one, we’ve never air-freighted a thing, and never will.

Bedlam Farm poppies

CHAMPIONING ORGANIC

CHAMPIONING ORGANIC

Organic is food as it should be. It’s food you can trust, that doesn’t cost the earth and where the animals come first. All of our organic farmers are committed to the highest animal welfare standards, and to ensuring the best possible life for the creatures in their care. Organic farming itself is a kinder, more holistic way of tending to the land, that’s not only better for us, but for our planet too. Our farmers are helping to safeguard organic soil and boost biodiversity. According to research shared by the Soil Association, organic farms are havens for wildlife, including bees, birds and butterflies, and are home to 30% more species of wildlife, on average.

Certified since 2018

BALANCING PURPOSE AND PROFIT

BALANCING PURPOSE AND PROFIT

As a certified B Corp, we’re committed to driving positive change for people and our planet, and are always striving to do more good in the world. Through our One Box: One Portion initiative, we’re fighting food poverty in our community by donating one portion of fresh, organic fruit or veg to those in need, for every Fruit & Veg Box sold. We’re also incredibly proud of our Responsible Supplier Programme: our way of measuring our makers’ environmental and social impact. And among our ethical family, you’ll find a host of fellow B Corps, as well as Fairtrade-certified growers and makers. By supporting their work, you’re helping to bring about real change.

Planet-friendly deliveries

DELIVERING SUSTAINABLY

DELIVERING SUSTAINABLY

We do deliveries differently. By only delivering to certain areas on the same day each week, and remapping our routes each morning, we can keep miles and carbon emissions as low as possible. This isn’t how everyone operates, but for us, lowering our impact is key. We even specially designed our yellow vans to be able to carry more than other delivery vans on the road, so we can make more deliveries in a single journey. And when one of our vans comes to the end of its life, we repurpose the body and pop it onto another vehicle.

Food bank volunteering

FIGHTING FOOD WASTE

FIGHTING FOOD WASTE

Reducing food waste is a powerful tool in the fight against climate change. When we waste food, we’re not only wasting the resources needed to grow it, but any food that goes to landfill releases greenhouse gases. We want to cut our food waste by 50% by 2030, and have been collaborating with WRAP to better understand and monitor our surplus. We work closely with charities like City Harvest and The Felix Project to ensure that any excess food we can’t sell finds a good home. Anything they can’t use is donated to local farmers for animal feed, or if it’s unsuitable for consumption, it’s turned into Compressed Natural Gas to power vehicles.

Packaging research

LOWERING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

LOWERING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINT

We’re incredibly proud to be the first organic food delivery company in the world to have joined the UN’s Climate Neutral Now Initiative, and to have achieved the Carbon Neutral International Standard (awarded in May 2021, based on 2019 data). We’ve been working with fellow B Corp, Green Element, to measure our scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions, and identify our carbon ‘hotspots’. Our key focus is reduction, and we’re working on a comprehensive, long-term strategy to reduce all three scopes of our emissions, aligned with the Science Based Targets Initiative. As an immediate, short-term action, we’ve also been contributing to responsible carbon offsetting projects.