Top 10: Companies in the UK communicating on sustainability

April 2024

What do the experts think...

Trace has unveiled its list of the best sustainable companies in the UK communicating their sustainability journey in a way that’s transparent, backed by data and above all inspiring to other organisations.

These 10 UK companies exemplify best practices in communicating their carbon reduction plans, setting a positive example for businesses across industries. By prioritising transparency, accountability, and engagement, they not only drive meaningful change within their organisations but also inspire their customers and community to join them on the journey towards a more sustainable future.

In order to make the list, these companies, including  Resift, Innocent Drinks and Abel & Cole needed to fall under the SME category, have a rigorous carbon reduction plan, transparent climate change adaption strategies, have published a sustainability or impact report; and to have displayed and communicated the plan or report in a way that is easy to understand, displays leadership and most importantly demonstrates a reduction in emissions.

So, who are the best communicators when it comes to sustainability and climate reporting in the UK? In no particular order:

  1. Red Sift 

Founded in 2016, Red Sift is an application suite that helps security teams understand and remediate cybersecurity risk before an incident happens. Its purpose is to democratise access to cyber security. 

In its 2023 Sustainability Report Red Sift clearly lists all the elements of the business that contribute to its carbon footprint, it acknowledges the footprint has grown as the business has grown, but it also clearly identifies opportunities for reduction by business category. It has a decarbonisation plan in place that prioritises reducing its emissions - not surprisingly IT generates the biggest footprint. It also acknowledges marketing and advertising, events and flights for business travel are opportunities to reduce emissions.

Image: Transparency: Red Sift clearly illustrates it’s decarbonisation in real time

  1. Abel & Cole

Abel & Cole is a UK-based organic fruit and vegetable delivery company focussed on reducing pointless plastic use and paying farmers fairly. For every grocery box ordered, a donation of fresh fruit and veg is made to a partnered charity. It has a dedicated sustainability section on its website including its latest (and second consecutive) sustainability report that highlights data including 20 tonnes of flexible plastic saved from landfill, 103 tonnes of food donated to those in need and 7,939 fewer tonnes of carbon emitted.

Image: Abel & Cole highlight key carbon reductions via simple graphics 

Abel & Cole clearly splits its reporting into the categories of planet, people and product with a clear mission statement at the beginning that incorporates its B Corp status.

  1. Telford Homes

Telford Homes is a London based developer with a focus on designing and constructing high quality Build to Rent (BtR) developments within the city and its surrounds. It describes its mission as building sustainable communities, and through its latest sustainability report communicates its sustainability highlights which includes 99% of waste diverted from landfill, 16% reduction of water use in new homes and a 41% reduction in CO2 intensity on site. 

Telford’s sustainability journey is clearly defined via publicly available sustainability reports commencing in 2018, following on consecutively each year. It clearly maps its journey so far, goals to 2030, and then provides the pathway to achieving these goals.

Image caption: Telford Homes introduces its 2023 sustainability report with a snapshot of key data

  1. Olio

Olio is a UK based second hand item sharing app, allowing users to search for pre-loved items in their local area, which includes leftover household food. A certified B Corp, Olio’s purpose is to fight waste and empower communities to come together and take a stand for the planet. In addition to displaying its latest B Corp Impact report as a downloadable PDF on its website, its website features an Impact section with key impact data, including 7 million Olio users worldwide, 159 million portions of food shared and 1.1 million household items shared.

  1. Innocent Drinks

Established in 1999, as the name suggests Innocent Drinks is a healthy drinks company which donates 10 per cent of its profits to charity. It’s been a certified B Corp since 2018, has a sustainable drinks factory and is a great example of communicating all its good work in a simple and easy to understand way. Innocent Drinks clearly accounts for its carbon emissions via graphics and imagery. It then goes into detail of how they are working towards reducing those emissions, via a plan approved by Science Based Target Initiative. 

Image caption: Innocent Drinks clearly illustrates where its carbon emissions come from 

  1. Celonis

A recurring theme amongst this list of UK companies communicating their carbon reduction plan well is not only transparency, but visibility of the plan on the company website. Celonis, which is a process mining technology, features its sustainability credentials in the navigation of its website. Their comprehensive approach to climate communications involves utilising data analytics to identify inefficiencies and optimise processes, thereby reducing carbon footprint across their operations. Celonis transparently communicates their progress through regular updates, demonstrating a commitment to accountability and continuous improvement. It also includes a link to its methodology.

  1. Medicycle

Medicycle exists to tackle medicines waste in the UK. According to Medicycle, medicine deadstock is one of the largest overhead pharmacy contractors experience – accounting for thousands of pounds of yearly losses. This is in addition to the fact that medicines production is one of the most energy-intensive and carbon-intensive industries, ranking third in terms of CO2 emissions from healthcare-related activities. 

Medicycle helps to connect pharmacies and their inventories in order to share medicines required for prescriptions, and therefore reduce waste. As a company, Medicycle is committed to net zero emissions and working towards a carbon-neutral future. It’s a great example of an SME with sustainability woven into every fabric of its existence, with an easy to find Sustainability section in the top navigation bar of its website.

Image description: Medicycle exists to reduce the waste associated with medicines in the UK, it uses simple graphics and communications to illustrate its impact.

  1. The Cheeky Panda

The Cheeky Panda is a certified B Corp that makes 100 per cent bamboo toilet paper. The family owned company highlights its impact clearly by identifying three clear areas it measures its sustainability on, which are: reducing deforestation via being made from a renewable source (bamboo), limiting plastic in its packaging, and adhering to the B Corp framework. Each year it publishes an Impact report, which according to the company website is designed to be as transparent as possible, championing sustainability and social responsibility as the driver of everything they do.

Image caption: The Cheeky Panda’s annual Impact Report uses graphics to not only explain the benefits of bamboo but give a transparent view of its supply chain.

  1. Green Tomato Cars

Operating a zero emissions passenger car service in London, Green Tomato Cars has grown from the first hybrid car service company in London in 2006, to the current day where it ‘double offsets’ its emissions and provides links to the high integrity projects it invests in to do so.

Green Tomato Cars calls itself an ethical business, and then backs up this claim on its website explaining what that means, with evidence such as the fact it is ISO 14001 certified. It’s a great example of a company clearly communicating its purpose and its impact. 

Image caption: Green Tomato Cars displays its environmental impact on the website homepage 

  1. Brew Dog, UK

As the name suggests, Brew Dog is a boutique beer brewing company which manages to communicate its sustainability ethos while maintaining its existing brand identity. It publishes annual reports containing all its emissions data, acknowledging there is still a ways to go for it as a company. 

It states its focus to be energy efficiency, recycling, waste reduction and rationalisation of its operation to reduce emissions. However it also goes into detail about how its operation impacts people and the community. It’s another example of transparent communications carried out via publicly available annual reports.

Image caption: Brew Dog, UK documents its carbon reduction journey via an annual report 

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