Pukka Herbs on Reducing GHG emissions

Does your business take steps to mitigate its impact on climate change?


Yes. At Pukka we recognise that climate change is an issue requiring urgent action by everyone who is a part of the global community. We have a climate change policy and mitigation and adaptation plan that includes all scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This includes a commitment to achieving carbon neutral company status under by 2017. We have chosen this target as the strongest possible commitment to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

We currently measure all scope 1 and scope 2 emissions as well as available data for scope 3 emissions as shown in the table below. We use Defra Environmental Reporting Guidelines June 2013 to calculate our greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions are reported to the board on a monthly basis where trends are analysed, opportunities identified and decisions taken.

Greenhouse gas emissions are reported externally via Responsible100 and via an online portal to the West of England Carbon Challenge. We are a member of this network to share best practice and recently won their innovations award for our approach to mitigating our impact on climate change.

A table of our emissions sources can be viewed here.

However, most of the emissions associated with our products are in the use phase of the product lifecycle (most notably in boiling the kettle) and in the manufacturing phase (which is carried out by our co-packers). To address this, we are actively involved in promoting energy conservation and the use of renewable energy via charitable donations, campaigns and events and by providing advice to our suppliers.

Our business is designed to succeed in a low-carbon and climate-resilient economy due to the organic farming methods used by our growers and our procurement choices. We only routinely import one ingredient by air as sea freight is not technically feasible and use consolidated deliveries and carbon neutral courier services where possible. Our full container loads from Felixstowe are now transported via rail rather than road. Our processors in the UK and Germany generate their own solar electricity. We purchase appliances (e.g. fridges and dishwashers) with high energy efficiency ratings and equipment (e.g. computers and shredders) with energy saving settings and carry out regular maintenance.

All of our electricity and gas are sourced through Good Energy which ensures 100% renewable electricity as well as investment in renewable heat. The green tariff used is Good Energy’s main tariff which is certified under the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme.

We are currently undertaking a risk management exercise which will better identify climate change risks, which were previously identified informally – for example risks to our growers of extreme weather events are managed through soil management practices, including tree planting and rainwater harvesting which are financed by Pukka.

To encourage our team members to participate in greenhouse gas reductions, we carried out a whole-business climate change exercise in September 2014. A range of carbon reduction opportunities were identified and individuals have been encouraged to incorporate these into their personal development objectives which are monitored as part of the appraisal process. Our sustainability report documents these achievements.  We have signs around the offices which remind team members to turn off devices when not in use and we have a range of incentives in place to encourage sustainable travel including car sharing, public transport and cycling information, facilities and discounts.

New team members are also given a sustainability induction which includes communication of greenhouse gas reduction initiatives.

We also support emissions reductions outside of our own business through charitable donations. For example we support an Applied Environmental Research Foundation projectthat conserves forest in India and donate to renewable energy projects locally with Bristol Energy Co-operative. We also support WWF’s Living Himalayas initiative through on-pack donations to understand the impacts of climate change and develop plans to allow people and wildlife to adapt to these changes.

Answered at 11:10AM on 01 Tuesday Dec 2015

Climate change threatens the basic necessities of human life all around the world - access to water, food production, health, land, biodiversity, peace and stability. Climate change is an unprecedented issue, unique to our civilisation, and action is needed to prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human induced) interference with the climate system.

Anthropogenic climate change is mostly caused by the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has identified six key GHGs which contribute to climate change. While carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most common GHGs, all GHG emissions have impacts of varying intensities and timescales on climate change. Some GHGs trap heat in the atmosphere and the oceans for over a hundred years, while some do so for much shorter periods of times but with far greater magnitude. Methane (CH4), from leaked gas or livestock for example is such a gas.

Feedback loops, which could accelerate climate change, add further urgency for action in order to prevent pushing the climate system beyond irreversible tipping points. Scientists fear that, as temperatures increase, huge stores of GHGs could be released into the atmosphere accelerating further warming.

GHG emissions from businesses are generally classified in three different ‘scopes’, Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

  • Scope 1 emissions refer to direct emissions from sources owned or controlled by an organisation. Examples include: company owned vehicles, chemical reactions and boilers
  • Scope 2 emissions refer to indirect emissions from electricity, heat or steam purchased by an organisation. Examples include: electricity purchased by the factories or the offices of an organisation
  • Scope 3 emissions refer to all other indirect emission which are a consequence of business’ activities but are not directly controlled or owned by the business. These can be further classified as upstream or downstream:
    • ‘Upstream emissions’ are linked to the supply chain of a business. Examples include: extraction and production of purchased materials, outsourced waste treatment and other modes of employee travel
    • ‘Downstream emissions’ are linked to life of the products or services. Examples include: investments, energy use associated with products and the end of life-treatment of products.

Some businesses are not only reducing their GHG emissions to limit further climate change, they are also working to adapt to changes that have already occurred and will continue to occur. ‘Climate-smart agriculture’ is one example, where businesses may work with farmers and policymakers to strengthen irrigation systems so that the agricultural produce or livestock are better protected against droughts or floods. Such adaptions seen across various sectors and industries suggest that integrating climate change thinking may help identify associated opportunities and risks.

The UK Government states that the costs of not acting on climate change far outweigh the costs of early action. A key step almost any business can take is to monitor and evaluate its energy use, which for many businesses is the leading source of GHGs. The modern economy is primarily based on fossil fuels (coal, gas and oil), and reducing the use of these ever more costly and limited resources through energy efficiency measures can only benefit a business. Examples of energy efficiency and further steps may include:

  • Setting annual targets for reductions in energy use
  • Improving insulation in buildings used by the business
  • Implementing smart meters for comprehensive energy monitoring
  • Implementing energy efficient lighting
  • Sourcing renewable energy
  • Producing renewable energy on-site, with solar panels for example
  • Promoting behaviour changes within the organisation
  • Appointing someone in the business for energy management.

Further, some businesses may be subject to mandatory emissions reporting (e.g. in the UK all quoted companies are required to measure and report GHGs), and some businesses may report their emissions strategies voluntarily through initiatives like the CDP. The CDP (initially the Carbon Disclosure Project) invites businesses to consider their impact on climate change through its detailed questionnaire. Beyond energy efficiency, additional issues on which it invites disclosure include:

  • Ensuring responsibility for climate change impacts and risks are delegated at a high level within the organisation
  • Ensuring there are appropriate incentives for managing climate change issues
  • Engaging in activities that have a positive influence on public policy for climate change mitigation and adaptation
  • Funding research and innovation, internally or externally, on climate change issues
  • Establishing absolute and/or intensity emissions and regularly evaluate and report on progress
  • Assessing how third parties may directly or indirectly reduce GHG emissions through the use of the organisation’s goods and services
  • Engaging with various of the elements of the organisations value chain on GHG emissions and climate change strategies.

A comprehensive strategy to mitigate impacts on climate change forms a key part of an organisation’s ability to manage their environmental impact. There is no set way to mitigate an organisation’s impact on climate change and many innovative solutions continue to emerge from individual businesses, industry groups and others. Nonetheless, a company does not have to be expert or innovative to follow good practice. A company that considers sound environmental stewardship and reducing its footprint across its operations as good business practice will likely be able to cite numerous steps it takes – for example cutting down on its use of raw materials, reducing its use of transportation and considering end of life treatment – to mitigate its impact on climate change. By disclosing such steps, benefits include learning from each other, inspiring innovation and improving the business impact on the environment.

Greenhouse Gases (GHGs)

'Greenhouse gases' (GHGs) are gases in the atmosphere, both natural and anthropogenic (human induced), that absorb and emit radiation at certain wavelengths resulting in atmospheric warming known as the greenhouse effect.

The six key GHGs as identified by the UNFCCC are CO2 (Carbon dioxide), CH4 (Methane), N2O (Nitrous oxide), PFCs (Perfluorocarbons), HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) and SF6 (Sulphur hexafluoride). Other GHGs as identified by the UNFCCC are SO2 (Sulfur Dioxide), NOx (Nitric Oxide), CO (Carbon Monoxide) and NMVOC (Non-methane volatile organic compounds).

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

State the organisation’s key sources of GHG emissions

State which methodology or standard, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, has been used to calculate and/or verify emissions

State if it manages Scope 1, 2 and/or 3 GHG emissions

Describe the practices or policies in place to reduce GHG emissions

Explain how performance is monitored and evaluated

All Businesses MAY

State which level of company governance is responsible for climate change

State if it sets targets for reducing emissions, and say if these are absolute or intensity targets

Indicate where they publish their emissions data, reduction targets, practices and policies and other relevant information, and provide hyperlinks if available

Describe any activities that attempt to influence public policy on climate change

Explain how they engage with partners or suppliers on climate change issues

Explain how climate change risks on the business are evaluated and addressed

Provide examples of other climate mitigation and adaptation strategies

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

Explain why they do not or cannot take steps to mitigate their impact on climate change and list the business reasons, any mitigating circumstance or any other reasons that apply

All Businesses MAY

List any practices that are relevant, but not sufficient to answer YES

Mention any future intentions regarding climate change actions

DON'T KNOW is not a permissible answer to this question

NOT APPLICABLE is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

Tackling climate change is strategic to the organisation

Examples of policy and practice which may support the EXCELLENT statement:

  1. Clear targets are set according to recognised methodologies (may include scope 3)
  2. Actions measured and monitored
  3. Staff and other stakeholders and/or value chain highly engaged
  4. Sources only renewable energy, where available
  5. Renewable energy produced on-site
  6. Strong track record in practical ways of reducing emissions
  7. Cited as an exemplar in its sector
  8. Clear efforts are taken to offset any remaining GHG emissions
  9. Assesses climate risks at high-level management positions
  10. Publishes reports on climate action, inviting stakeholder feedback
  11. Constantly looking for ways to go beyond expectations
  12. Constantly looking for ways to reduce raw material use
To receive a score of 'Good'

The business has established clear practices for reducing its impact on climate

Examples of policy and practice which may support the GOOD statement:

  1. Undertaken audit (or similar) and set clear targets
  2. Actions measured and monitored
  3. Goes beyond any legal minimum for GHG reductions
  4. Staff and/or value chain engaged
  5. Has demonstrably achieved a great deal
  6. Sources renewable energy
  7. Has identified various climate risks
  8. Supports constructive public policy dialogue
  9. Evident it takes efforts to reduce raw material use
To receive a score of 'Okay'

The business is aware of climate change and actively aims to reduce or measurement is impractical

Examples of policy and practice which may support the OKAY statement:

  1. Identifies its climate impacts but has little influence and/or resources
  2. Developed easy ways to implement reduction across the business
  3. Has diversity of approaches
  4. Complies with minimum legal requirements and offsets its carbon footprint
  5. Explains why measurement is impractical
To receive a score of 'Poor'

The business is aware of climate change but does not really push its people to pursue policies

Examples of policy and practice which may support the POOR statement:

  1. Statement of future intent
  2. Does not apparently implement policies or measure or monitor
  3. Will only comply with minimum legal requirements

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