Pukka Herbs posts impressive carbon cuts after setting 1.5C science-based targets

Organic herbal tea producer Pukka Herbs has recorded a 58% year-on-year reduction in its Scope 1 (direct) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, after setting approved science-based carbon targets in line with a 1.5C trajectory.

Pukka Herbs is using organic farming methods and working with growers to encourage low-carbon farming techniques

Pukka Herbs is using organic farming methods and working with growers to encourage low-carbon farming techniques

The progress was revealed this week in the company’s latest annual sustainability report and comes as Pukka Herbs is striving to cut its Scope 1 emissions to zero by 2030, down from 22.95 tonnes of CO2e in 2016, without the use of offsetting schemes.

The report also states that Pukka Herbs’ Scope 2 (power-related) emissions were 79% lower in 2018 than 2017. This progress was largely driven by investments in energy efficiency measures and the procurement of more renewable electricity. Indeed, the firm’s new HQ runs on 100% clean power and is fitted with a range of “smart” energy monitors.

Pukka Herbs’ carbon targets, which were approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) last November, also commit the business to halving its Scope 3 (indirect) GHG emissions per million units of product sold by 2030. It last measured its Scope 3 emissions in 2017 and is set to do so again later this financial year, accounting for factors such as supply chain emissions, logistics, end-of-life emissions and kettle boiling, the latter of which is estimated to account for half (49%) of its Scope 3 emissions footprint.

“As highlighted in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, ‘unprecedented changes’ are required to reduce our carbon impact, and there is now a small window of opportunity,” Pukka Herbs’ sustainability manager Vicky Murray said.

“This demands serious commitment and bold action from everyone, no matter what size their business. It is no use waiting for governments to take action, businesses have a responsibility to act as a force for good and now.”

Pukka Herbs is one of just five firms, along with Carlsberg, BT, Tesco and Carbon Credentials, to have set a science-based target in line with the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious trajectory. Carbon Credentials notably advised both Tesco and Pukka Herbs on their science-based targets and had its own goals rubber-stamped by the SBTi this week, in a bid to lead by example.

Regenerative strategy

In addition to documenting Pukka Herbs’ carbon reduction progress to date, the company’s sustainability report also lays out its new Regenerative Strategy – a three-year roadmap for achieving a net-positive environmental and social impact.

The strategy is divided into three key pillars: regenerative agriculture, the herbal health & wellbeing revolution and becoming a force for good.

Under the first pillar, Pukka Herbs, which uses 100% organic raw materials, will collaborate with farmers across the supply chain to champion agricultural methods that reduce carbon, preserve biodiversity, protect soil and boost yields. It has also committed to always paying a “fair and decent price” for harvests in order to support local economies and maintain farmer empowerment.

The ‘herbal health and wellbeing revolution’ component of the strategy, meanwhile, will see Pukka Herbs commission research into the medical benefits of using herbs as a preventive healthcare measure and into the public attitudes towards wellbeing. The company currently has a team of professionals trained in herbal and plant-based medicine which is sent to work with biomedical students at UK universities.

Lastly, the ‘becoming a force for good’ pillar outlines Pukka Herbs’ commitments as a B Corp, with net-positive targets spanning across the areas of environment, governance, community and employees.  In its latest B Corp audit, the company scored 104.1 points out of a possible 200, placing it in the organisation’s second-highest (“outstanding”) category.

“Our intention always was, and still is, about using business as a potent force for good, driving conservation through commerce to improve the health of people, plants and the planet,” Pukka Herbs’ co-founders Sebastian Pole and Tim Westwell wrote in the report.

“We know we can’t do this on our own – we need large scale, systemic change across the business community to achieve such an ambitious vision… but we have to start somewhere.”


Science-based targets and Scope 3 emissions: Your questions, answered 

Readers keen to find out more on how they can measure and manage their organisation's Scope 3 emissions on the road to setting science-based targets are encouraged to read our recent Q&A feature with experts from Carbon Credentials, CDP and Multiplex Construction Europe on this topic. You can read that piece in full here


Sarah George



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