Savour Your Morning Moment with Chia Sisters

Sustainability

Sustainability is one of our three core values. 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 in this space.

 Solar Panels installed on the Chia Sisters Juicery: November 2018

By putting sustainability at the core of our business we are successfully having a positive impact on the environment and the community in which we operate.

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 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. However, being in the food and beverage industry, and our location being Nelson, New Zealand, we choose to focus on these four core areas. A snapshot of each is below, or if you would like to read Chia Sisters Impact Report you can do so here. 

Sustainable Development Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

In 2018 we lined our juicery with 32 solar panels. Collectively these can harness up to 16,000 watts of energy per hour. We are still connected to the grid, this means when the sun is shining we bring in more KW than we can use so we sell the excess back to the grid and when it is raining we can still bottle our juice and keep our chillers going throughout the night. We launched Bottled by the Sun fresh pressed juice to celebrate the shift to solar power and six months later it won best drink in New Zealand at the Outstanding Food Producer Awards.

Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action 

In 2019 we achieved Zero Carbon and Climate Positive status. We did this in five steps.

Firstly, we measured our emissions, with the help of Ekos, a local non-profit enterprise that measures carbon emissions and develops innovative approaches to financing a sustainable future.

Secondly, after we understood where our emissions were coming from, we reduced our carbon emissions to 22.55 tonne of CO2, equivalent to just 0.00003 per cent of overall CO2 emissions for the food processing industry in New Zealand. We did this through:

  • minimising waste
  • harnessing approximately 1200 kilowatts of energy monthly through the installation of 32 solar panels and insulation.
  • using electric vehicles
  • transferring air freight to sea freight, saving over 6 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Please find Chia Sisters full carbon footprint here.

The next step was to offset the remaining 22.55 tonnes of CO2 by contributing to native and sustainable planting in the Rameka Forest, a Certified Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme Carbon Sink. We pay for the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of this section of the forest and decided to go one step further to offset 120% of our carbon emissions to become a Climate Positive business. 
Fourthly, we incorporate this into our financial balance sheet: for every dollar we spend, going forward, 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.

 

Finally, we have encouraged others, particularly the businesses that are the biggest contributors of carbon emissions, to join us on the path towards Zero Carbon. We have engaged in workshops with Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and currently, we have encouraged over 100 businesses to start the Zero Carbon journey. We invite any business or person interested in reducing their carbon emissions to be in touch to learn more about the process: hello@chia.co.nz. 

Rameka Forest Carbon Sink where Chia Sisters offsets 120% of carbon emissions

Sustainable Development Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing

Producing high-nutrition products with no added sugar and no artificial ingredients. For this we have won the Health Category at the National Food Awards and ‘Best Drink in New Zealand’ at the Outstanding Food Producer Awards. 

The Chia Sisters range consists of:

  • CHIA beverages, rich in protein, calcium, natural electrolytes, selenium, antioxidants, magnesium, omega 3, 6 and 9, and fibre.
  • Sparkling coconut water, rich in natural electrolytes, magnesium and potassium.
  • Bottled by the Sun fresh-pressed fruit, rich in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants.
  • Hemp smoothies, rich in protein, calcium, manganese, omega 3, 6 and 9.
  • Chia seeds, rich in protein, calcium, natural electrolytes, selenium, magnesium, omega 3, 6 and 9, and fibre.
  • Hemp seeds, rich in protein, calcium, manganese omega 3, 6 and 9.

Chia Sisters beverages have no added sugar and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. All are made entirely from plants. In a sector where an ‘energy’ drink has, on average, six teaspoons of sugar, we are proud to be one of the exceptions in contributing to a healthier planet.

Sustainable Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

Our team is our most important asset. One way we value them is by paying each employee above Living Wage. This is the amount needed to provide workers and their families with basic necessities and to live and participate as active citizens in society. We decided to become accredited with Living Wage Aotearoa, an organisation that tackles poverty and inequality. In making this shift, we have paid tens of thousands of dollars in excess to our employees. We believe they are more than worth it.

This means our team has more money to spend on creating a quality lifestyle. We know that the majority of this excess is spent in Nelson, helping our community to thrive. It also means they have less financial stress and feel more committed as valued members of Chia Sisters.

An Interconnected World

We also 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 inspired by others who are also working on their impact on the planet.

Please be in touch if you would like to piggy-back off our ideas, give feedback or are interested in our commitments to sustainability: hello@chia.co.nz.

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. 

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