In 2017, for the first time, our team was able to map our carbon footprint, breaking down our total carbon output from 'crop to cup'. Now we're using this data to inform science-based carbon reduction targets which we’ll submit to the Science-Based Targets initiative, setting targets to join global efforts to limit warming to less than two degrees.
This new data was able to confirm our predictions, that our biggest carbon impact (49% of our total carbon footprint) is Pukka tea drinkers boiling their kettles.
Last year, over 500 million cups of Pukka tea were boiled across the world. On average, people boil twice as much water as they need. This adds up to over 7,800 tonnes of carbon; the equivalent of 2,200 car journeys around the world.
Boiling what you need for a cup of tea
The simplest solution to reduce the amount of energy used to boil the kettle is to only boil what you need for a cup of tea. Which is why we've teamed up with DoNation, a social enterprise inspiring people to make pledges towards more sustainable ways of living. By making a pledge to only boil the water you need - we can all help to reduce our collective carbon footprint.
What’s more, our friends at Do Nation have worked out that collectively, UK tea drinkers could save nearly £1 million a day in electricity savings by only boiling what’s needed.
Working with growers
Our agricultural supply chain is another focus area in the report, as it makes up 11% of our total carbon footprint. To begin to address this we’ve mapped our most carbon-intensive crops and identified potential low-carbon farming practices. Ploughing, for example, releases carbon from the soil into the air, so ploughing less, or not at all makes carbon sense.
Our team is also working with growers to promote agroforestry practices. Agroforestry incorporates the cultivation of trees into agriculture, and has many beneﬁts: 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. This year, we plan to launch a fund to support carbon reduction and climate resilience in our supply chain. We aim to pilot these practices where needed and track progress.
Walking the talk at Pukka
To help make every Pukka person carbon-savvy as we prepared to set our Science-Based Target, we launched a company-wide campaign with DoNation to pledge to make carbon reductions in our daily lives. We’ll continue to put effort into reducing our operational footprint, as this is the area we have the most control over and includes lighting and heating for our offices and warehouse, commuting and business travel. However, we now know this represents less than 3% of our total carbon footprint from ‘crop to cup’.
We also choose sustainable suppliers and partners. For example, our packing partners Infusion use 100% renewable electricity and send zero waste to landﬁll. This means our teas are made in the UK using green energy. They also offset their carbon emissions through local tree planting projects with schools. The Organic Herb Trading Company are our herb sourcing partners in the UK. They generate some of their own electricity on-site through a 20kW solar array. They also carefully reuse their milling waste for compost for their own herb gardens, sending the rest to local farms and for anaerobic digestion.