Our Commitment to Sustainability – Update Sept 2023
You may have seen on social media and in our newsletters that over the past couple of years that Accent Fresh has been making industry-leading strides in sustainability, re-evaluating all aspects of our business with an aim to make things greener and to reduce our Greenhouse Gas(GHG) Emissions.
- Introduction of returnable blue plastic crates –As a starting point in 2019 we invested more than £60,000 in new returnable food safe plastic crates and eliminated the use of new cardboard boxes. This reduced our packaging carbon footprint by over 70% but this does rely on you returning the crates to us. They are infinitely reusable and ultimately recyclable so have negligible carbon footprint. We wash these on a regular cycle but they should only be used for our products to be delivered to you in and then returned. We always have a supply of other types of plastic crates which we can supply to you for kitchen storage, free of charge – just call us and ask and we will arrange to get some to you.
- Reduction of plastic picking bags: We continue to strive to reduce the use of single use plastic picking bags by sending more products to you loose but for those products which still need bagging to make them safe such as allergen product. Unfortunately biodegradable and compostable plastics often aren’t suitable for food use or cannot be recycled so disrupt the recycling chain and surprisingly paper bags have a very high carbon footprint but we continually look for the best options available in the market.
- Recycled paper: you may have noticed that the paper your invoices and delivery notes are printed on looks a little different. We have switched to 100% recycled paper in our printers which can be recycled again as normal.
- Zero waste to landfill goal: We work with two local food banks who collect produce we cannot sell to help feed those less fortunate than ourselves. Waste produce which is not suitable for this alongside the peelings from our prepared factory is then given to local farmers for animal feed to help stop waste produce ending up in landfill. Furthermore all of our cardboard, paper and polythene waste is baled and sent for recycling.
- Our suppliers: Where possible we use LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming) accredited suppliers who are environmentally aware and follow agricultural practices that reflect a commitment to sustainability, the environment and the maintenance of natural habitats and biodiversity. Our supplier assessment now includes environmental approval as well as food safety and quality consideration and we continue to seek out innovative packaging to further reduce plastic in the supply chain and reduce its carbon footprint further.
- GHG and Carbon Reduction. In July 2022 we worked closely with The University of East London to measure our GHG emissions and devise a plan to begin to reduce these and work towards a net zero position. This has resulting in making investments in technology that ultimately reduces our green house gas emissions. In Nov 2022 we extended our existing Solar PV to completely cover our roof space. This has reduced our electricity demand from the grid by over 50%. We are currently looking at investing in the newest battery technology to further increase our efficiency. Any power that we do buy from the grid is now on a net zero tarrif.
We have also worked on our fleet with the purchase of an electric van in Spring 2022 and a switch over to fully EV or Hybrid company cars in May 2023. We will look to invest further in EVs as the technology improves as we see this as the area in which we can make the largest reductions in our GHG emissions.
- Commitment to efficiency: As always it is our priority that your order arrives on time and in good condition at the lowest possible cost to the world around us and while we may be a year or so away from a fully electric refrigerated delivery fleet we are constantly investigating ways to make our vehicles more environmentally friendly. In the mean time we are making sure our fleet is maintained, driven and routed as efficiently as possible.
- The Future: In the coming months we intend to work towards a recognised environmental accreditation and to fully embrace this as a benchmark from which our business can work towards our goal of Net Zero.
We hope you are as excited about and committed to these changes as we are but ultimately they need to work for you, our customers. We ask you to please continue to support our efforts and in particular in returning the crates to us but with any feedback or ideas you have or just to find out more about what we are doing please give us a call on 01366 386633.
The Accent Fresh Team