We are officially carbon neutral *REBEL APPLAUSE*
For Rebel Kitchen business as usual is not an option. We are here to show that business can, and should, be a force for good. At the heart of our Purpose Manifesto is our pledge to be radically honest, so we made a commitment to be carbon neutral by 2025.
In order to do this, we knew we had to measure our carbon footprint – how on earth do you do that, right? And as if by magic, the universe connected us to Provenance, a platform that empowers brands to take steps towards transparency, and Carbon Analytics, a company that helps businesses measure their entire carbon footprint. Energised by the meeting, we joined forces. Time for the Rebel Team to embark on a journey of CO2 self-discovery. Pretty cool, eh? Check out our story here.
So, what did we find out?
When analysing your business-wide carbon footprint, everything’s out on the table. Not one item of business expenditure is left out of the carbon equation. This stretches from the obvious like purchasing ingredients, transporting goods, manufacturing etc, to the coffee cups we used at one of our trade shows (obviously we took a reusable flask!). The sustainability warriors at Carbon Analytics have a clever way to allocate carbon value to anything and everything, which saved us a lot of head-scratching!
We learnt a lot and it started to make a lot of sense: as our business has grown, so has our carbon usage. BUT our carbon intensity did not, and in 2018-2019 it actually decreased by 14%. In fact, our carbon intensity has averaged 35% lower than the Food & Beverage sector as a whole over the last 4 years. But wait! What is carbon intensity? Good question. In a nutshell, it’s a way of comparing carbon use as a percentage of revenue business-to-business and sector-by-sector. It can also be used by companies to determine if their carbon use is in line relative to their growth. In this case, less is definitely more.
Our carbon footprint for 2018/19 was 4,041.82, with a reduction in carbon intensity of -14%. To put it into more human terms, that’s the equivalent of a 747 flying non-stop for 5.32 days or driving the average car for 17.93 years 24 / 7.
It’s not always straightforward. There are complexities for SMEs, as the numbers can be deceiving if you’re looking for linear reductions. For example, if you’re always innovating new products, like we are at Rebel Kitchen, it can impact your year-on-year improvement. Say we developed a product one year, but it didn’t go to market until the next, it’s likely to affect the carbon to revenue in a way that’s not a straight decline. Our 1-litre Mylk launch came a year after its development, which likely contributed to this significant reduction. We don’t know what the next year holds, and while it’s unlikely we will top this incredible success, we can now track and analyse our carbon use on a monthly basis which we recognise as an invaluable step in the right direction for Rebel.
So to recap, so far we’ve tracked 4 years of historical data, a vital resource that we’re determined to act on. We are now certified as Carbon Aware through Carbon Analytics. But don’t just take our word for it, you can click below and investigate all our carbon claims for yourself. Go on, click through, we have nothing to hide!
So now what?
If you’re reading this, you probably already know the environmental impact of the dairy industry, but we’re using this to shine the light on our plant-based ingredients, too. Dairy alternatives are receiving negative backlash particularly when it comes to ingredient sourcing. Some other forward-thinking brands are starting to share their climate impact, including noting their carbon footprint on their packaging. We’ve taken this a step further – we’re not just stating the problem, we’re determined to solve it.
This leads us to the most electrifying part of all. What we’ve all been waiting for. The Rebel headline. Thought it would take us 5 years? Think again… it took us 6 months! We acted BIG and we acted like rebels. We offset our entire business-wide footprint for 2018-19 immediately and we have officially been certified as carbon neutral by Carbon Analytics.
The entire economic ripple required to get you our products has been offset. You can now feel confident that every pound you spend on Rebel Kitchen is netting nothing to the environment. This doesn’t include what the retailer emits of course, or the package disposal – although we’re working on these too. We are proud to be part of a growing network of businesses across the world, who all see the importance of going carbon neutral. We’re committed to going further, exploring the edge of what’s possible and challenging convention to keep on improving.
Until there is a centralised list of carbon neutral businesses we can’t know for sure, but we believe we’re the FIRST plant-based alternative brand in the UK to take such a step. If you know, please drop us a line, we’d love to connect and share some love (and Mylk) to shine a light on positive climate action. But rest assured, at the very least, next time you’re slurping some Mylk, tucking into a Mylk Yog or chugging back our Organic Coconut Water you’re safe in the knowledge that we are a carbon neutral business.
And there is even more!
We wanted to have direct connections with our carbon offsetting projects to build relationships and ensure efficacy. That’s why we’ve also partnered with two incredible Verified Carbon Standard projects in Peru (PUR Project and Ecosphere). Both organisations are working tirelessly to protect high-value Amazon rainforest under threat, to regenerate degraded ecosystems through agroforestry and to support community-driven programmes that help tens of thousands of people access basic services such as sanitation, healthcare and education. Through this work, additional income is generated, helping to improve local livelihoods. Thanks to these two projects, 423,000 ha of primary rainforest are now protected. That’s a lot of awesomeness, right?
We know some of our favourite ingredients are sourced from around the world, but you can be sure that we are determined to take ownership of our footprint and look to avoid the day that coconuts, cocoa, dates and cashews grow in UK gardens.
We still won’t settle…
We’re not in denial. We know there is a lot of work to do and off-setting isn’t everything. We know we need to re-imagine our consumer society. Next step for us is conscious packaging. While we have to use plastic, we want to ensure our packaging is not going to contribute to our climate emergency. We won’t stop until we’ve found solutions to everything in our Purpose Manifesto. We hope you’ll join us on our mission to revolutionise the food system.
Remember, there is always an alternative.