What can you do if you want to run a sustainable smoothie business, but don’t use organic or locally sourced ingredients? Innocent smoothies are absolutely the best and purest smoothies on the (UK, sorry everyone else!) market, and quite frankly probably one of the things I miss most about home. But a question has been bothering me for a while now, why can’t Innocent make organic smoothies or even use locally sourced ingredients? Their argument is that it would raise the price of their drinks to the level where it would price them out of their current market. While they are supportive of sustainability they, on balance, think it is better to get more people drinking pure and healthy fruit juice than to only get the ‘well-off’ drinking organic, pure and healthy fruit juice. We're sure they were thinking about the health of our bodies as well as the health of their profit margin! What Innocent did instead was to set up the Innocent Foundation which supports charities specifically in the countries where they source their ingredients. For example in Brazil they are working with Iracambi to promote conservation of Atlantic Rainforest. In Uganda they are working with KIDA to educate, train and fund local communities in a bee-keeping project so they can earn an income from the honey. In India they are working with Find Your Feet on agricultural initiatives for women. These projects seem like a productive way of putting something sustainable back in to the communities which are working to supply your business. It is also interesting that while their juices are very healthy, but don't seem very environmentally friendly, behind the scenes most of the projects they are involved in are in fact environmentally based. The question is does the environmental impact of their food miles outweigh their other sustainable initiatives?
Innocent use 25% recycled plastic in their bottles which apparently in ‘the most technology will allow’, but they are working towards a 100%. They also have a 'how to recycle our products' page on their website. And while they might not use local ingredients it doesn’t mean that they don’t like them. Innocent are now sponsoring local fruit and veg competitions around the country. Furthermore the company car is electric and they buy their energy from Good Energy. Innocent is renowned for its excellent business model, and their great working environment, as well a being rather witty marketeers. We think they should also be well known for finding interesting ways to be sustainable whilst running a successful business, although we still think that they might be able to introduce an organic Innocent range just for the extra fussy among us!