Making decisions that positively affect the well-being of people and the environment is in our DNA.
It is well documented and widely accepted that it is people who are causing changes to the conditions of our planet and the natural environment. At a time when the imbalance of wealth in the world has reached alarming proportions, humans are on trend to use the equivalent of two planets’ worth of resources by 2030.
Most companies are operating without including or considering the damage caused to environment and people in their balance sheets. This has led to rising inequality and environmental destruction.
Doing business sustainably is a Chia Sisters core value. We are only one small player but we want to lead by example.
We feel this is important because we are a cog in the global food system. It is now widely understood that food is the single strongest lever to optimise human health and environmental sustainability on Earth.
By putting sustainability at the core of our business, we are having a positive impact on the environment and the community in which we operate.
This page is a snapshot our how we tackle sustainability and our impact. To get the full picture, please download our 2022 Impact Report here.
Some of our proudest achievements
Becoming New Zealand’s first solar-powered juicery.
Our solar panels can harness up to 16,000 watts of energy per hour. Our juicery uses 8,000 watts of energy while running at full capacity. We are still connected to the grid, so when the sun is out we send the extra energy back for others to use. At night time or on rainy days we draw back energy as we need.
Encouraging others to join us on the Zero Carbon journey.
We lead workshops and have talked to over 1000 businesses to assist them in starting their Zero Carbon process. We have an open invitation to share our story and processes with any business interested in reducing their carbon emissions.
Achieving Zero Carbon and Climate Positive business operations status.
This means the overall activity of Chia Sisters business operations reduces carbon in the atmosphere. Emissions are offset by planting and maintaining native trees in the local Rameka forest, which is regenerating farmland.
Producing high-nutrition products with no added sugar and no artificial ingredients.
For this we have won the Health Category at the New Zealand Food Awards and ‘Best Drink in New Zealand’ at the Outstanding Food Producer Awards.
Becoming Nelson’s first Living Wage accredited employer.
The Living Wage is 20 per cent above the minimum wage and the amount needed to be an active citizen in society.
We understand that Chia Sisters’ sustainability goals cannot stand alone. They are interwoven and connected to other businesses, organisations and individuals locally, nationally and globally. Our impact is minimal unless we can impact others. For this reason, we have aligned our goals with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), keeping them front of mind in all our business decisions. Specifically, being in the food and beverage industry, and our location being Nelson, New Zealand, we choose to focus on these five core areas:
In July 2019 Chia Sisters became an accredited Ekos Zero Carbon and Climate Positive company. This means the overall activity of Chia Sisters reduces carbon in the atmosphere. We encourage others, particularly the businesses that are the biggest contributors of carbon emissions, to join us on the path towards Zero Carbon.
Our team is our most important asset. That's why we became Nelson's first accredited Living Wage Employer in 2017. We're accredited by Living Wage Aotearoa, an organisation set up to tackle poverty and inequality. Paying well means our people have more money to spend on creating a quality lifestyle.
In 2018, we lined our factory roof with 32 solar panels to become New Zealand’s first solar-powered juicery. The solar panels can harness up to 16,000 watts of energy from the sun each hour. The outcome of using solar is significant. It has been named, alongside wind power, as the best future source of energy to solve climate change.
We are proud to produce New Zealand’s most nutritious drinks. Chia Sisters’ beverages have no added sugar and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. All are made entirely from plants. Find out more about the nutritional value of our drinks.
When we launched in 2013, we decided to bottle in glass. Glass is infinitely recyclable. In 2020 we launched larger sharable bottles for a number of our smoothies and juices to further minimise our waste footprint. By 2025, our goal is to have 50 per cent of all our sales come from kegs, on tap, into refillable vessels.
Our carbon footprint
In July 2019 Chia Sisters became an accredited Ekos Zero Carbon and Climate Positive company. This means the overall activity of Chia Sisters reduces carbon in the atmosphere. In September 2021 we achieved Climate Positive Business Operations certification for the third year running.
We follow a four-step process to make this happen:
1. We measure our emissions, with the help of Ekos.
2. After measuring our carbon emissions we indentify the areas where we could have the most impact in reduction. This includes;
- • Minimising waste
- • Harnessing renewable energy through the installation of 32 solar panels and insulation
- • Using an electric vehicle
- • Transferring air freight to sea freight
- 3. After implementing a strategic plan for reducing our emissions, we offset the remaining emissions by 120% by contributing to native and sustainable planting in the Rameka Forest, a Certified Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme Carbon Sink. The income earned by the landowner is reinvested into the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of this section of the forest.
- 4. We incorporate the cost of offsetting our carbon into our financial balance sheet. Going forward, for every dollar we spend, we understand its true environmental cost including the impact on our carbon footprint. We believe that all businesses should pay for the negative impacts they are having on the environment.
Businesses For Climate Action
We encourage others, particularly the businesses that are the biggest contributors of carbon emissions, to join us on the path towards Zero Carbon. We have facilitated workshops in conjunction with Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and currently, we have assisted over 50 businesses to become Zero Carbon certified.
Our short-term goal is to have 1000 businesses in Te Tauihu region measuring and reducing carbon emissions by 2021. Our long-term goal is a Zero Carbon Te Tauihu by 2030. You can learn more about this project at businessesforclimateaction.co.nz
A message from our CEO
People are having a negative impact on the natural environment, and most of this is caused by the actions of businesses. We firmly believe it is possible for businesses to act ethically while still being profitable.
Although we are trying hard to make a difference, we also acknowledge that Chia Sisters has work to do. Given our commitments to sustainability we feel it is important to hold ourselves accountable. Transparency plays an important role in this. We recognise that it is near impossible to run a perfect business. We need to be continuously analysing our values, systems and processes in all areas, to set standards for future improvement.
Our goal is to have a waste-free company by 2025. This is an area that will require shifts in our outlook and policies over the coming months. We also know that this report is not complete, but we believe we are doing the best job we can with the resources at hand.
Please be in touch if you would like to piggy-back off our ideas, give feedback or are interested in our commitments to sustainability: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most importantly, we acknowledge that Chia Sisters is one small player in an interconnected world. Our true impact will come by sharing our stories and lessons with others, inspiring them to follow suit, and by us being inspired by others working on their impact on the planet.
To make the planet a better place, we need to work collectively.