Climate change is the biggest concern of our time. Research shows that if we don't take care of our planet, we'll lose it. Committing to sustainability is challenging, and it may be costly for some, but it's a step that we have to take to protect the only planet we have to live on.
Our featured brand today, Chia Sisters, gives importance to sustainability that it is the core of their business. This New Zealand-based brand offers high-nutrition products that have no added sugar and no artificial ingredients. Their emphasis on good health and well-being led them to win the Health Category at the National Food Awards and ‘Best Drink in New Zealand’ at the Outstanding Food Producer Awards.
Read on to know how two sisters built this brand that's dedicated to embetter your health and the world:
"I'm Florence. I make four ranges of health beverages in a solar-powered juicery in Whakatū, Nelson with my sister Chloe. We are making a stand for a new type of business where the environment and people are at the forefront."
"We started Chia Sisters because we were tired of seeing 'energy' drinks on the market that were filled with artificial colors, caffeine, and sugar when we felt that energy should be about fuelling your body to be the healthiest it can be."
"Our values are nutrition, innovation, and sustainability. Our vision is to have all New Zealanders enjoying world-class food and beverages made with these world-class values in Nelson.
Every day is a challenge when starting a business that is why I make sure that I take time to celebrate the small wins. All too often, we focus on the failures. Starting a business is a rocky road, so it is important to use the victories as motivation to get through the tough times. Ensuring my values align with my business values keep me passionate; this is what inspires and motivates me when the going gets tough."
"Sustainability is a critical part of our business because our planet depends on it. It is well documented and widely accepted that it is people who are causing changes to the conditions of our planet and the natural environment. At a time when the imbalance of wealth in the world has reached alarming proportions, humans are on-trend to use the equivalent of two planets’ worth of resources by 2030. In every business decision, sustainability is considered.
Our products our produced with solar panels that can harness up to 16,000 watts of energy per hour, and because this is twice the amount needed to fuel our factory, we sell excess energy back to the grid. In 2018, we launched our fresh-pressed juice range, Bottled by the Sun to celebrate our shift to solar power."
"If you're planning to start your own business, take as much advice as you can, and take it all with a grain of salt. Don’t be afraid to reach out and contact your idols; You will be surprised by how often they are willing to help. At the same time, keep in mind that you know your brand and business better than anyone else."
"Chia Sisters is also Zero Carbon and Climate Positive. That means the overall activity of Chia Sisters reduces carbon in the atmosphere. Emissions are offset by planting native trees in the local Rameka forest, which is regenerating farmland.
We have been through a four-step process to achieve accreditation:
1. We measured our emissions, with the help of Ekos, a local non-profit enterprise that measures carbon emissions and develops innovative approaches to financing a sustainable future.
2. After we understood where our emissions were coming from,
we reduced our carbon emissions to 22.55 tonne of CO2, equivalent to just 0.00003 per cent of overall CO2 emissions for the food processing industry in New Zealand. We did this through:
- minimizing waste
- harnessing approximately 1200 kilowatts of energy monthly through the installation of 32 solar panels and insulation.
- using electric vehicles
- transferring air freight to sea freight, saving over 6 tonnes of carbon emissions
3. We offset the remaining 22.55 tonnes of CO2 by contributing to native and sustainable planting in the Rameka Forest, a Certified Carbon Emissions Trading Scheme Carbon Sink. We also pay for the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of this section of the forest.
4. We incorporate this into our financial balance sheet: for every dollar we spend, going forward, we understand its true environmental cost including the impact on our carbon footprint. We believe that all businesses should pay for the negative impacts they are having on the environment."
"We have encouraged others, particularly the businesses that are the biggest contributors to carbon emissions, to join us on the path towards Zero Carbon. We have engaged in workshops with Bank of New Zealand, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise, and the Nelson Chamber of Commerce, and currently, we have encouraged over 100 businesses to start the Zero Carbon journey.
We are joining together to work toward two goals. The short-term goal is to have 1000 businesses in Te Tauihu region measuring and reducing carbon emissions by 2021. The long-term goal is a Zero Carbon Te Tauihu by 2025. You can learn more about this project at www.businessesforclimateaction.com
We have been working alongside the likes of Pics Peanut Butter, Proper Crisps, Little Beauties, and Yum Granola. We launched this Little Box of Sunshine, a collaboration snack box of Nelson foods from our online Local Marketplace that we home-deliver across the country. Working with other local businesses has enabled us to increase our presence and engage with a wider group of consumers that were looking to support local. It has also been a good opportunity to connect with other food producers facing similar struggles to us."
"We have muesli that is batch-made by hand, the way we like it using our Mum's recipe. Do you know when homemade muesli always tastes better? It's when it's fresh and straight out from the oven — that is exactly what we offer. No more sitting in a supermarket for weeks, no more strange moisture absorbing sachets, no more sugar disguised as syrup, no more middle monkey. Just like everything at Chia Sisters, Mum's Muesli is packed with nutrition and protein, no added sugar, and all-natural. So we wanted a piece of packaging that really represented those values. The simplicity of our brown paper bag with the compostable noissue stamp really spoke to that old school, no fuss, better for the planet, and for your way of doing things. It has really resonated with our customers too!"
"We are always looking at the most sustainable packaging options. Given the noissue ink is compostable and our wooden stamp will last a lifetime, it was a no brainer for us."
Chia Sisters Fun Facts:
What’s something you always have in your fridge?
"Our Sparkling Ginger & Tumeric for when we get home from work and want to treat ourselves with something cold."
What’s one product everyone should try of yours?
"Our Mum's Muesli! Once you try our freshly baked stuff you'll never be able to go back to supermarket muesli!"