Our Sustainability Journey
Here at Pacific Harvest, we are fortunate to work with some of nature's most amazing products. To us seaweeds inspire awe - they are living proof of nature's ability to heal the planet. We hear stories about the positive impact our seaweeds have on our customers' health almost daily.
It seems incongruous to do anything other than strive to leave as gentle a footprint on our planet as possible. Our team has adopted a 'constant improvement' mindset, rather than trying to build Rome in a day.
Some steps have been leaps (our packaging refresh) and others are small shuffles towards something better.
Our commitment to keep ourselves accountable to each other is to record our progress publicly. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see current and future projects.
Small and Large Steps Towards a More Sustainable Offering
Implemented Carbon Clicks Climate Friendly Cart on our website to reduce the climate impact of our business . Customers can make a voluntary contribution to offset the carbon consumption of their purchases if they wish to.
Reducing paper waste - Formed a partnership with our local high school to close the loop on paper waste. We collect their shredded paper to pack parcels safely for dispatch. We reuse the plastic bag they provide us full of paper waste, so we are not contributing to further plastics consumption.
Changed Cleaning Products - we now bulk purchase Will & Able cleaning products. They are a social enterprise aimed at providing the disabled community with inclusive jobs. Handpump bottles are made from recycled milk bottles and bulk plastic jars are closed loop products that are dropped at a collection point where they are cleaned by Will & Able staff and re-filled with new product.
With packaging refresh came some retired product and refreshed recipes. We donated our remaining stock to an amazing organization called Love Soup who donate food to local food banks
Started reusing label backings, tape rolls, and various end of life cycle materials to pack parcels, adding reuse to the product to reduce waste. It may not look as pretty when you open your box but there is rhyme in our reason!
Our packaging refresh was a biggie! Read about this project here
Introduced Nespresso Recycling Scheme for Coffee Pod Recycling. Previously we were adding pods to recycling bin which cannot be recycled at council facilities. Nespresso sends our used pods to their South Auckland Recycling plant to disassemble the aluminum and recycle it and sends the coffee grounds off to turn into compost.
Upgraded 240L Council bin to 360L to avoid overfilling and accumulating recycling waste. It was well worth the 4 attempts with council to get this done!
Added a compost bin to our kitchen to avoid adding food waste to landfills.
'Paperless by 2022' strategy initiated. We worked out we were printing approximately 9,000 pages a year (equivalent to roughly one tree)! We started issuing online receipts through our accounting system and not printing paper invoices unless our customers specifically request them. We invested in a new printer which is ink, energy-efficient, and prints double-sided.
We were previously using printed courier tickets (holding thousands of dollars worth) and using paper invoices as address labels in plastic sleeves. We no longer need the 3,000 plastic labelopes we used per year. Even better, our customers now receive an improved experience as they automatically receive live tracking of their parcels. This has significantly reduced the amount of time we used to spend chasing up deliveries, processing orders and we can focus on our customers and other areas we want to improve in.
We also managed to secure cost savings through this exercise which have been passed onto our customers through reduced shipping costs.
Over morning tea we brainstormed all the different areas we could start to address and developed an action plan.
We pushed go on what was to be a massive project. Our agenda was to ensure our range was packaged in fully recyclable or reuseable materials, offered improved information to customers and also worked with the seasonal variances we can experience in seaweed volume. We met our target to reduce the plastic density by 30% and removed the zippers from each bag. We have added a resealable sticker to remind customers to keep their seaweeds sealed once opened.
Read more about this packaging refresh.
We are lucky to have our own Masters in Sustainability Student in our team who is leading our efforts! Thank you Jessie!
We were entrenched in complex excel spreadsheets and daily print outs to inform our operations and customer service areas. Implementing a digital inventory management system moved us away from mountains of paperwork into a seamlessly integrated (ok there were a few bumps along the way!!!) system. This has had a number of benefits including:
- reduced wastage of paper
- automated batch tracking to improve food safety and remove error
- flow of data from our website into our inventory management system into our accounting system has freed up time to think bigger and serve our customers more.
Ongoing and Future Projects
- Seeking packaging innovation opportunities to reduce use of plastic
- Continue to reduce wastage in operations - improve operational efficiencies
- Collect power bills, water, gas, work travel data to benchmark and set targets for next year. This will help us to identify better suppliers to work with, and achieve those small ‘wins’ to lower our emissions profile as we see the trends emerge.
- Continue to reduce product wastage in production
- Community efforts working with Sustainable Coastlines
We'd love to hear from you if you have implemented successful changes in your business and have any suggestions.