Pukka's Social Responsibility Policy
Pukka Herbs is a global herbal health and wellbeing company, established in 2001 by ethical entrepreneur Tim Westwell and practicing herbalist Sebastian Pole. We exist to nurture healthier, happier lives through powerful organic plants. Pukka’s organic teas and supplements are expertly formulated using the highest quality herbs, that are fairly and sustainably sourced from around the world. Traditional wisdom is combined with scientific research to lovingly create each unique herbal blend, bringing you the very best of nature’s power.
This Social Responsibility Policy is our commitment to benefitting people, plants and planet as part of doing business. We recognise that our business has a direct and powerful impact on the:
Wellbeing of our employees and others who work for and with us from time to time.
Lifestyle and wellbeing of our customers and consumers.
Livelihood and environment of our suppliers, especially our farming and wild harvesting communities all over the world.
Wider communities in Bristol and other places our business touches.
Health of our beautiful and inspirational planet earth.
Business and political systems around the world.
Pukka is committed to being a socially responsible business which works to benefit people, plants and planet through its own transformative practices and influencing the actions of others. The word ‘pukka’ means ‘genuine and authentic’ and it’s at the heart of everything we do. From certified organic herbs, carefully sourced from over 40 countries worldwide, to the fact that all our teas are Fair for Life certified. We bring our core business values to life through our ‘Wisdom Seeds’.
Our Social Responsibility Policy is inspired by the Hindi proverb ‘help your brother’s boat across and your own will reach the shore’. Pukka is growing fast and we want to make sure we grow together with the people we work with and who work for us, positively improving the environments we touch and as a force for good. We work to continuously improve the way everyone in our value chain, or as we say, ‘from crop to compost’, benefits from the power of plants and working with us. For us, it’s about using business as a force for positive social and environmental change. As part of our Social Responsibility Policy, we’ve actively committed to have a demonstrable positive impact on people, plants and planet.
This Policy, in association with our Wisdom Seeds and company purpose, is our guiding light for how we treat our employees and workers, support our planet and interact with any community we come into contact with.
Our People and Community
We commit to be a socially responsible employer, caring about the individual, the environment, the community and the planet. We demonstrate our commitment by being For Life and B Corp certified. Both of which mean we take our responsibility to comply with, and better, national labour laws and be continuously improving seriously. We also actively review how we’re doing by running annual employee engagement surveys (Life at Pukka) and participating in external benchmarking such as B Corp. These tools, amongst others, act as our compass for determining where further improvements can be made.
In practice this means we all (leaders and employees) have rights and responsibilities in the following areas:
Basic workers' rights and conditions of employment
We go far beyond basic rights and conditions of employment for our workers, believing these are the foundation of a truly inspiring working environment and culture. The details of which are enshrined in our contracts of employment and People Policies. Everyone receives detailed terms before they join and are introduced to all our approaches through a comprehensive induction and onboarding program. And, our Wisdom Seeds enable us to hold each other to account daily – because of this we rarely call on more formal approaches such as disciplinary and grievance, although when needed concerns and difficulties are taken incredibly seriously.
We encourage everyone to understand their rights and responsibilities and expect we will use appropriate forums when things are worth celebrating or when things are unacceptable or could be enhanced. Our Wellbeing and Dignity at Work Policies detail how those mechanisms work and in what circumstances you might call on them and if in any doubt our leaders and People team are on hand to advise.
Examples of how our practice goes far beyond statutory obligations include:
Extending our commitment to paying Real Living Wage by becoming a RLW employer in 2022.
Placements, interns and assignments where work is actively undertaken are always paid.
Our generous Family Friendly provision.
Our Pukka Friends, who are Mental Health First Aider trained.
We believe a genuinely flexible and inclusive approach to how we work will bring benefits to Pukka, to its people, to the environment and the wider community. True flexibility means we can continually evolve to meet the levels of pace and the demands of our growth, and there are numerous ways this is supported through our Flexible Engagement Policy. Through 2021 and 2022 we've evolved our approach and continue to trial Blended Working which celebrates the connection and collaboration of being together in the Herb House balanced with time spent working from home.
True inclusivity means we go further than meeting our demands and our Inclusion and Diversity Policy sets out our approach.
We believe that inclusion is as much of a priority as diversity, and only when we have a truly inclusive culture at Pukka can our diversity be celebrated. Driven forward by our internal inclusion and diversity group Team Inclusion, which is a passionate team of Pukka employees sponsored by our CEO. We are always working hard to take positive steps towards a truly inclusive culture where everyone feels comfortable to bring their authentic selves to work and do this in several different ways.
Examples of how we are raising awareness, educating and celebrating I&D at Pukka;
We facilitate a voluntary annual diversity and inclusion survey to track our progress and identify areas for further improvement set against a 5 year plan.
We launched a number of online learning opportunities for our people on topics such as Unconscious Bias and Anti-racism, and ran interactive workshops for everyone on Anti-Racism which continued our journey.
We pledged to become an Anti-Racist organisation by challenging ourselves, our influence, and our voice.
Internal activations including making pledges, creating a short Inclusion Film and hosting external speakers marking occasions such as International Women’s Day, Pride, Black History Month and International Day of Disabilities.
We ran a programme of talks from UNBOXD which has a focus on LGBTQIA+ diversity, with insight on trans inclusion.
We’ve recently joined the Halo collective, and became a ‘Disability Confident Committed’ Employer by completing stage 1 of the scheme.
Our people’s wellbeing is of fundamental importance, without wellness in all aspects of life we cannot expect full engagement, high performance or flexible, agile and creative ways of working. We go beyond provision of basic services and offer a flexible, wellbeing oriented culture which enables individuals to bring their authentic selves to work. Our Wellbeing and Flexible Engagement policies detail our broad approach and a few examples are listed below:
Spend £300 on activity which nurtures your wellbeing (Wellbeing Fund) and Pukka reimburses 75%.
Nourish Lunch – free lunch provided every Wednesday, regularly accompanied by an opportunity to nourish our minds too with external speakers and Herbal education.
Two-way communication tools to encourage questions, ideas sharing, etc., like The Vine, Pukka Pulse, Flash, our annual Life at Pukka surveys.
Our now, annual, Wellbeing Festival offers activities which support emotional, physical and financial health, promoting our belief in the holistic nature of wellbeing.
Occupational health and safety (also see Health and Safety policy)
Keeping our people safe: We will without question meet the legal requirements set out in the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. As employers we commit to protecting the health, safety and welfare at work of all our employees, including temporary workers, self-employed, visitors and general public. We will manage occupational health and safety with the intention to go beyond everyday compliance. The Management of Health and Safety at Works Regulations 1999 provides framework to put in place arrangements to control health and safety risks. Our people will always be provided with information about the risks and how they are protected.
Beyond traditional health and safety requirements we offer our team (and their families) a comprehensive, proactive and entirely confidential Employee Assistance Program and on site our Pukka Friends (all trained Mental Health First Aiders) are easily available to anyone for a chat or further advice. This team also actively promote awareness and prompt conversation in this area and each year we improve our provision and build understanding.
Developing our people: “If you plant people in an environment they like they will flourish, and they will bring you their best properties’. Our people are our strength and we invest, support and develop them on their journey at Pukka through our bespoke Learning & Development approach. There are 4 component parts that make up our learning DNA:
Skills & Personal Development
Each of these is brought to life in a uniquely Pukka way, using a combination of online resources, face to face sessions, externally provided courses, in-nature events, many of which are identified for people through their My Journey development conversations.
Example events and activities include Learn over Lunch herbal training sessions, Chrysalis and Chrysalis Evolves in-nature personal and cultural development learning and Feel your Super Powers (building resilience in participants). This year widened our Mentoring scheme, partnering with fellow B Corps; Ella’s Kitchen, Lily’s Kitchen and Cook to give our people a wider and more diverse network to be matched with.
From late 2021 into early 2022 we launched our evolved Wisdom Seeds, Pukka’s values, in response to feedback from our employee engagement surveys. We collaborated and consulted with focus groups of employees and People Leaders (around 50% of Pukka), gathering their feedback during the 8 iterations of development. The evolved Wisdom Seeds have been communicated with Pukka people at Flashes and Pukka Life Days and are being embedded into everyday life through:
An updated induction session.
Words of Wisdom booklet shared providing more information .
Updating our Pukka Loves appreciation process.
We have just updated the tried and tested Wisdom Seeds elements of our recruitment process.
Feedback in our 2022 Life at Pukka Survey showed great results in relation to the evolved Wisdom Seeds, 93% Agreed or Strongly agreed with the statement “I understand the Wisdom Seeds” and 85% Agreed or Strongly agreed with the statement “I am inspired by our Wisdom Seeds. Work continues to embed the evolved Wisdom Seeds and bring them to life at Pukka.
Every year we further develop and extend our people leader training to ensure all leaders can build their knowledge and approach, we keep our sessions fresh and relevant and adjust content and delivery based on feedback from participants. Through 2022, we've evolved our LEAD program by improving existing Basic and Foundation elements and launching a new Power Play module (Leading Coaching Conversations). 2023 will see us introduce Inclusive Leadership and Mental Health Awareness for leaders.
Beyond this our people may also choose to learn and grow outside of Pukka and we offer everyone the opportunity to spend £300 on learning activity for their own personal pleasure or need and have 75% reimbursed (Development Fund).
Pukka people in the community: We actively encourage people to use their 4 paid volunteering days to support causes in our community that align with our mission to benefit people, plants and planet. Individuals may volunteer at places of their choice and we organise Mission Day activities too for everyone to join in with.
This year we also welcomed our first Women’s Work Lab placement to support in an effort to support women in the South West into meaningful employment. Our Consumers
We commit to helping people discover a healthier, happier life through experiencing our teas and supplements and by sharing our herbal expertise. Our herbs are expertly blended using the wisdom of India’s ancient health system, Ayurveda. This means that every Pukka herbal blend is created with its associated health benefits in mind. Our products will always be safe, and we commit any resource needed to ensure this.
Inherent in Pukka’s values, we also commit to transparency, honesty and clarity in all our communications and information we provide to our customers and consumers. It is important to us that our consumers understand what we already do well, and what we (and they) think we could do better, and how we aspire to achieve that. We achieve this in many ways, including through our Consumer Care teams, social media, annual impact report and the articles and FAQ sections on our website.
We take consumer complaints and feedback seriously and use this information to improve our products and make other changes, as well as providing generous recompense where appropriate, such as with product complaints. In all our responses to our consumers we treat them with respect and we take a trusting approach.
(See also Sourcing Policy, Supplier Relationship Policy, Sustainable Packaging Policy)
All activities related to sourcing of herbs for Pukka’s teas and supplements are guided by the four principles of organic farming: health, ecology, fairness and care.
The health and safety of suppliers, staff and customers are ensured through rigorous quality assurance systems, including organic certification and testing the quality of batch of every ingredient.
We commit to using fair certified ingredients where the need of the community along with the quality and availability are appropriate. Fair certification provides a framework to ensure social responsibility across the supply chain. Where fair certification is not available or appropriate we will always engage fairly with our suppliers.
We maintain a culture of transparency, trust and integrity. All supplier relationships are based on Pukka’s principles of partnership with emphasis on supporting indigenous people, farm workers and women with fair prices and long-term commitments.
We believe the health of the individual is inseparable from the health of the environment. We are working to reduce carbon emissions, minimise waste and conserve resources, and to help farming and collection communities build resilience and adapt to the challenges of climate change.
Pukka is committed to eliminating all human rights abuses within our supply chain. We conduct risk assessments of our supply chain and partner with external consultants to manage areas of high risk within our supply chain.
Best Practice Organic
Pukka’s Best Practice Organic programme builds on the foundations of organic farming and is Pukka’s approach to sourcing and the way in which we support and encourage our farmers. Importantly, the programme supports those who need it most to build resilience to climate change and ensures that social and environmental outcomes are not separated. There are six key aims of the programme:
Mitigation, adaptation and building resilience to climate change.
Empowering the next generation.
Increased water security.
Improved farmer livelihoods.
Protecting and improving biodiversity and soil health.
We work with farmers and growers all over the world to source the best organic herbs for our herbal creations. We always seek to partner with those who are growing plants in a sustainable, organic way - protecting the environment, people and the wildlife around them. Our vision is to build a truly sustainable organic value chain. To work closely with our farmers and growers to find effective, natural, low-carbon, nature friendly ways to boost yields in a changing climate. We focus our effort on collaboration – working to find solutions that work for everyone, streamlining our asks of suppliers and growers and pooling resources to create the biggest impact.
We use third-party certifications to ensure that all the ingredients used in our herbal creations meet the absolute highest social and environmental standards.
In 2017, we established our baseline carbon footprint and were the first herbal tea brand to have an approved 1.5˚C science-based target. We declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2019 and committed to being carbon net zero by 2030. In line with global best practice, our primary focus is on reducing our emissions and we are working hard to identify and implement reduction projects to help us reach this target.
Packaging remains one of the top priority areas for Pukka as we still have work to do to meet our goal of making all packaging recyclable, reusable or certified compostable in practice globally by 2025. In 2020 we launched our packaging policy and are now finding new ways to embed it from the very beginning of our new product development process. As part of this, we are ensuring that all Pukka packaging carries clear recycling guidance by the end of 2022.
Business as a force for good
Pukka believes that business can be commercially successful whilst having a positive social and environmental impact on the world.
We want to inspire people to make conscious and sustainable choices in their daily lives – that goes for individuals and businesses alike.
There are four key areas to this work:
As a certified B Corp and For Life certified business, we truly believe business can be a force for good – and we’re always challenging ourselves to do more.
Our environmental giving increases as we grow by giving 1% to the Planet.
We continue to build an inclusive culture.
Inspiring consumers and businesses. We report annually on progress in our annual Impact Report.
We commit to communicating this policy and its values to our team members, suppliers and other stakeholders and publicly via our website. We will review this policy annually as part of our ‘For Life’ certification process, in conjunction with our CSR Action Plan process. ‘For Life’ is a third-party verification that Pukka is a socially responsible business throughout our entire supply chain.