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 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 use,
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 and 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 35 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 and participating in external benchmarking such as B Corp.
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 Wisdom Seeds and business essence during onboarding. We rarely call on 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 Employee Health & Wellbeing Policy, Code of Business Principles, and Complaints Procedure 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 a combination of our Homeworking, Hybrid Working & Flexible Working Request Policies.
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. We have worked 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.
2023 has heralded a new era although we’ve still taken the opportunity to raise awareness, educate and celebrate I&D at Pukka;
We facilitated a voluntary annual diversity and inclusion survey to track our progress and identify areas for further improvement
We refreshed our pledge to become an Anti-Racist organisation by challenging ourselves, our influence, and our voice
We ran a programme of talks hosted by external speakers focusing on LGBTQIA+ diversity, trans inclusion, International Women’s Day, Black History Month
We continued our participation in the Halo collective and as a ‘Disability Confident Committed’ Employer
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. 2023 has been a year of significant change and our primary concern (beyond managing the business changes) has been our people’s wellbeing. As a result, focus has been on maintaining our embedded approach and bringing in appropriate restructuring support:
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 (employee suggestion box), Pukka Pulse (employee forum), Flash, our annual employee engagement surveys
Restructuring support in the form of company wide change & resilience education, People Leader training sessions and extensive outplacement support, including upskilling funds
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.
2023 has been a year of widespread change both within Pukka & the group organization. Whilst this has not changed our philosophy: “If you plant people in an environment they like they will flourish, and they will bring you their best properties’ it has informed a different focus for a period.
Development conversations are now facilitated via a group wide Growth Pact, where each employee identifies & pursues their own personal development needs, supported by Pukka (financially & with time). Pukka-wide education for employees & managers has focused on dealing with change, resilience and Compassionate Leadership, where possible influenced and inspired by & run in nature.
The reality of this year has also meant the need for much company wide training and on job learning as we navigate new systems, processes and ways of working, including the issue of Code of Business Principles.
There has remained a foundation programme of herbal learning & team development and we’re proud that the B Corp Mentoring scheme we co-created with Ella’s Kitchen has this year expanded to even more other like minded businesses.
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.
We commit to helping people discover a healthier, happier life through experiencing our teas 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 Consumer Care, 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 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 human rights risk assessment, Fair for Life certification, 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, helps build a resilient supply chain and enables Pukka to support farmers and their communities. Importantly, the programme supports those who need it most to mitigate and adapt to climate change whilst also addressing social and other environmental outcomes. There are six key aims of the programme:
Climate mitigation and adaptation
Protecting and improving biodiversity and soil health
Increasing water security
Empowering the next generation
Improving farmer livelihoods
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 company to have an approved 1.5˚C science-based target. We declared a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2019 and after developing a detailed zero roadmap, have committed to being carbon net zero by 2039. In line with global best practice, our primary focus is 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 it makes up a large proportion of our carbon footprint. By 2023, all of Pukka’s paper, board and cellulose materials will only be sourced from certified forests and plantations, with a strong preference for FSC. All Pukka tea packaging is 100% recyclable and carries clear recycling guidance for consumers. Pukka teabags and string are certified home compostable. In 2020 we launched Pukka’s Packaging Policy and work continues to embed it from the very beginning of the product development process. In 2022, Pukka joined Canopy’s Pack4Good Initiative and we updated our Packaging Policy in Q1 2023 to capture key membership requirements.
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 our sales increase by giving 1% to the Planet.
We continue to build an inclusive culture (as described above).
We seek to inspire consumers and businesses through our annual impact report, impact communications and participation in business and sustainability events. https://www.pukkaherbs.com/us/en/wellbeing-articles/our-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.