Winners of the Waitrose & Partners Sustainability Awards announced

This month marked the 7th annual Waitrose & Partners Sustainability Awards, which this year saw 100 businesses enter the application process.

The Sustainability awards celebrate businesses that work in collaboration with Waitrose across own brand and branded categories. Specifically, it honours those businesses that have found innovative solutions to combat some of the extreme environmental and social challenges of our time, including climate change, plastic pollution, modern slavery and inequality.

Tor Harris, Head of CSR at Waitrose & Partners, comments: “We work with some truly remarkable businesses and these awards give us a platform to celebrate their work, as well as put the spotlight on some of the most important issues we face globally today. We were blown away by the standard of entries this year and are looking forward to continuing our work with these fantastic businesses in the future.”

The winner of the own brand category is…

  • Who: Saladworks, Södra and Huhtamaki, who claimed the top prize for their groundbreaking innovation in packaging design.

  • What: Under the banner of “Project Fresh”, the trio joined forces to develop the world’s first fibre-based home compostable ready meal tray. An alternative to black plastic, the tray is made of tree pulp with a bio-laminate texture that’s reminiscent of cardboard, which is both home compostable and widely recyclable.

  • Impact: This innovation has ensured the removal of 56 tonnes of hard to recycle black plastic from the Waitrose & Partners supply chain per year. The fibre-based packaging is also 10% lighter than conventional trays and creates a 50% saving in Co2 emissions, with the materials sourced from Forest Stewardship Council certified areas.

Andy Clarke, Sales Director at Samworth Ready Meals, commented: 

“We are very grateful to have been recognised as part of the collaborative supply chain working together to tackle plastic waste, we hope we can continue the great work started in 2019.” 

Businesses that were highly commended in the branded category included Blue Skies, Ardo, Winterbotham Darby.

The winner of the branded category is…

  • Who: Tony’s Chocolonely for its outstanding product and brand mission to end slavery in the chocolate industry.

  • What: Established in 2005 to address the inequalities in the cocoa industry, Tony’s Chocolonely is already the number one chocolate brand in the Netherlands, something it has achieved through its great tasting chocolate and brand mission to only use the most ethical Fairtrade sourced cocoa available. With its strikingly colourful packaging, ethical business credentials and delicious chocolate, Tony’s Chocolonely has quickly become a firm favourite among Waitrose & Partners customers.

  • Impact: Tony’s Chocolonely has traded 16k tonnes of traceable cocoa since introducing its sourcing principles in 2012, paying $7 million in premiums to ensure its 5,021 farmers earn a living wage. It has also achieved great successes at a governmental level, lobbying the Dutch senate to pass an Initiative Act for Child Labour Duty to prevent child labour in the cocoa industry.

Waitrose & Partners stocks three varieties of Tony’s Chocolonely, including:

Ben Greensmith, Country Manager of Tony’s Chocolonely UK, comments:

“We’re really chuffed to receive this award given we’re so new to the UK. Unfortunately, due to poverty from low prices, there are still 2.1million children working illegally on farms in West Africa. Tony’s Chocolonely exists to change that by showing that there’s a different way to make delicious chocolate. 

“Awareness of these issues is vital to change and this recognition from Waitrose will only help our cause. Thank you for the support over the past year it means a lot to everyone working to make the cocoa industry fairer.”

Businesses that were highly commended in the own brand category included Rubies in the Rubble, Ritter Sport and Pukka Herbs.

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