Meet edie’s Sustainability Team of the Year 2019: Innocent Drinks

With entries now open for edie's Sustainability Leaders Awards 2020, this new feature series showcases the achievements of the 2019 winners and reveals their secrets to success. Up next: our Sustainability Team of 2019 from Innocent Drinks.

Meet edie’s Sustainability Team of the Year 2019: Innocent Drinks

(L-R) Presenter Azhar Zaman

The judging panel found it commendable that Innocent’s team of six sustainability professionals have pushed the topic out of departmental confines and embedded it within each worker representing the company. The outfit consists of head of sustainability & nutrition Rozanne Davis, sustainability leader and head of the circular economy Lou Stevens, sustainability manager Simon Reid, sustainable ingredients officer Ben Summers, sustainability manager Katie Leggett and sustainable ingredients officer Atha Mandis.

Each one of these dedicated professionals brings their own unique strengths and skills to complement the overall ambitions of the team. Since joining the team early last year, head of sustainability Rozanne, for example, has pushed the team to go further and faster than before. This culminated in innocent realising its ambition to become a B-Corp, which has further increased the reach of the sustainability message the team is embedding at the company.

Meanwhile, the team’s “Dame Plastics” Lou Stevens has driven work across the key area of resource efficiency that has seen Innocent launch an industry-first bottle combining recycled and plant-based plastic, while also committing to having all of its bottles made from 100% renewable material by 2022.

Sustainability manager Simon has worked tirelessly with the team to commit the firm to a science-based target for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and has helped deliver a 5% reduction in emissions per bottle over a two-year period. This has been achieved in partnership with innocent’s supply chain – notably through a “hero supplier programme” introduced by the team.

But Innocent’s supply chain isn’t just important for the packaging it uses, but also the fruit that is used for its drink products. A long and complex supply chain spans to Africa, and the team has gone to great lengths to ensure the fruit is sourced in a sustainable manner that doesn’t negatively impact the environment or workers along the supply chain.

Sustainability manager Katie spearheads the human rights focus, including a 10-pillar policy that the company adheres to, alongside a Modern Slavery statement. Closer to the ground, Ben and Atha have engaged suppliers to put Innocent ahead of its target to improve sustainable practices and ensure that suppliers are accredited to Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) bronze level. Notable projects have been rolled out to farmers in Zimbabwe and Nicaragua to improve the resiliency and sustainability of the supply chain.

Internally, Katie has led an engagement framework that has seen every single employee at innocent have a formal working objective linked to sustainability. This approach has created a virtual army of sustainability workers within the company – expanding the reach and focus of the team to near-immeasurable levels. However, momentum and motivation can be fleeting, and Innocent’s sustainability team realises that actions orientated towards sustainability need to become a discipline. Alongside the specific working objectives for each worker, the team has hosted various internal events to keep sustainability and climate change as a focal point within the company. A mock Paris Agreement climate ceremony, for example, saw numerous staff publicly commit to hitting their own team targets. 

The team is rightly convinced that this all-encompassing approach is working, and it seems to be reflective of consumer and industry views. Last year, innocent was voted the 3rd best company to work for in the UK by the Sunday Times.

Innocent’s B Corp accreditation, science-based targets and ongoing plastics revolution have created public goals and ambitions that will help the team drive sustainability to even greater heights in the coming years, with the personnel perfectly set up to deliver. The team combines deep-seated passion, unprecedented business and worker knowledge, technical climate change skills and exceptional engagement abilities to create a unit that works tirelessly for one another. This ultimately acts as a catalyst for change and ambition.

“It’s a real privilege to win this award – especially amongst such stiff competition,” Simon told edie. “It’s truly inspiring to be amongst so many amazing companies and to have won an award is a true privilege.”  

What the judges said: “Innocent has a highly engaged and collaborative team that is innovating not just internally but across a wider spectrum. They are the embodiment of a
values-based team, with the entry showing extensive evidence of delivery and impact.” 

edie’s 2020 Sustainability Leaders Awards

Now entering their 13th year for 2020, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards are sure to be one of the biggest nights of the year in the sustainability and energy space, with some exciting new categories added to recognise excellence across the spectrum of sustainable business.   

The 2020 Sustainability Leaders are now OPEN for entries. The entry deadline is Friday 27 September 2019. The Awards will then take place on the night of 5 February 2020 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


edie Staff 

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