Great progress has been made within the food and drink sector over the past few years in terms of sustainability and education around the urgent threats to natural resources such as water. Awareness of the actions we collectively need to take to reverse the effects of modern living has increased, but to truly make an impact, steps need to be made to help consumers make better, more informed choices at the tills.
The packaged water industry garners a lot of attention when it comes to its environmental impact. It’s usually the first to face fire, but this needn’t be the case. Llanllyr Source has been a carbon neutral company since 2008. We’re always pushing our boundaries to achieve more, with a goal of becoming carbon negative by 2025. We urge others in our industry and beyond to do the same.
I believe every company can, and should, be carbon neutral, but it is only now that some of the larger soft drinks companies are starting to seriously consider the impact they have on the environment. The fluffy greenwashing statements have to stop. The time to act is now.
To help, more needs to be done to give these polluters the push that they need to reduce their footprint and commit to a carbon-free future.
Carbon labelling is a great initiative to help consumers make better choices, but doesn’t go far enough. Firstly, it is an optional scheme that will likely only be employed by companies that are already committed to sustainability. Secondly, the current labelling relies on mass awareness and understanding of the scheme, and consumers taking the time to find and read the relevant label before buying.
I strongly believe that in order to have a real impact, the government needs to increase the pressure. A carbon tax for companies on individual products may be the solution, or perhaps tax breaks for companies who are carbon neutral.
This needs to be enforced not just for soft drink companies, but all industries nationwide. I’m not saying this will be an easy step. As a company we can have some difficulties measuring and assessing the carbon footprint of our packaging and ingredient materials, as suppliers are not always able to disclose the required information. We would love to ensure that all of our suppliers are carbon neutral, but this comes with the risk of a cost incursion and if price goes up, consumers may be less likely to buy the product.
A carbon tax would level the playing field. When faced with two choices, one more expensive due to its carbon footprint, and one cheaper, carbon-neutral product, the difference would be clear.
Our view is that in a post Covid-19 world there will be an even greater focus and appreciation of business practices that are more socially and environmentally focused and sympathetic towards human interaction with the natural world, especially in both the water, greater drinks and consumer goods sectors. Therefore any measures to reduce our carbon impact will be of even greater importance and come under a higher level of scrutiny than before the crisis.