sustainability-hub | Abel & Cole
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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.

Brixham harbour

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 65,000,000 plastic bags. We start with only truly necessary packaging, and then make sure you can reuse, recycle or compost as much as possible from your deliveries, helping you reduce how much you send to landfill. In fact, a recent study found we have 75% less plastic in our organic Fruit & Veg Boxes. Whether it be through our Club Zero refillables or by collecting flexible plastics, we’re continually challenging ourselves to provide sustainable packaging solutions. To ensure these are as eco-friendly as possible, we work with the experts, like ReLondon, the UK Plastics Pact and Unpackaged, who helped us launch our refillables service, Club Zero. But there’s always room for improvement, and we’re working hard to lower our impact even further, with lots of exciting projects in the pipeline.

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 the Soil Association, organic farms are havens for wildlife, providing homes for bees, birds and butterflies, and encouraging 50% more plant, insect and bird life than non-organic farms, 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. One of our proudest achievements so far is the creation of our Responsible Supplier Programme: our way of measuring our makers’ environmental and social impact. 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 drive the kind of change you want to see in the world.

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

CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS

CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS

We’re incredibly proud to be the first organic food delivery company in the world to achieve both the Carbon Neutral International Standard and to join the UN's Climate Neutral Now Initiative. When it comes to carbon, we’re committed to meaningful change. We want to go beyond simply offsetting, or carbon 'balancing’, to actively measure and reduce our emissions. So we’ve been working with Environmental Management Consultancy, Green Element, to measure our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This has enabled us to better understand where our carbon ‘hot spots’ are. We’ve already switched our energy supply to renewable resources and kicked off a project to assess the carbon impact of different packaging materials. But we won't be stopping there. We're also working on a long-term, comprehensive reduction strategy, aligned with the Science Based Targets Initiative, to reduce all three of our Scope emissions.

Sustainable star

SUSTAINABLE STAR OF THE WEEK - Bamboo Comb

SUSTAINABLE STAR OF THE WEEK

Send plastic packing with a planet-friendly Bamboo Comb from Panda Packaging. Each one is carefully handcrafted from sustainably-grown Moso bamboo, cultivated by a farming cooperative in Eastern China. So with every tangle tamed, you can help protect our planet from the impact of plastic pollution.