When it comes to future projections of the state of our environment, the statistics are scary. If serious action is not taken, air pollution is set to become the world’s top environmental cause of premature mortality by 2050, while global greenhouse gas emissions are projected to increase by 50%.
Every day we make choices that affect the environment and impact the planet for future generations. From what we eat to how we shop, a lot can be done to reduce our environmental impact, and many brands are blazing the trail to more purposeful and sustainable consumption.
One such brand is Faithful to Nature, South Africa’s largest ethical and natural retailer. Founded in 2006, Faithful to Nature dedicates itself to promoting healthy, conscious living. According to chief executive officer Paul Cook, the brand is deeply passionate about ethics and rights. “Every being on the planet has a right to live in a clean and toxin-free environment,” he says. “Our physical and mental wellbeing is intimately connected to the natural environment, and we promote a more conscious mindset about the effects of our purchasing decisions on the planet.”
Faithful to Nature has become the first major retailer in South Africa to offer carbon-neutral delivery to its customers as part of its journey to a more sustainable world. This means that shopping on Faithful to Nature has less climate impact than any alternative, including travelling to the store in person.
Says Cook, “Climate change is a problem that requires urgent attention and action. We’ve always been deeply focused on the impact of the products we sell, but there’s always room to improve, including the other major source of our carbon emissions: deliveries.”
Creating a positive social impact across South Africa
With help from The Green House, Faithful to Nature calculated the carbon emissions from their deliveries by the kilometre, weight and mode of transport nationwide. On behalf of their customers and in partnership with the Climate Neutral Group, the brand invests in projects that reduce emissions equal to their carbon footprint and create a positive social impact across South Africa.
Cook adds, “We are always trying to minimise our emissions by reducing vehicle kilometres travelled. Our Johannesburg warehouse was opened to minimise long-distance and air-freight from our warehouse in Cape Town. For the rest of 2021, we’ll offset our carbon through the Wonderbag Project.”
Wonderbag is a revolutionary, non-electric, heat-retention cooker with remarkable environmental, economic, social and health benefits. This includes reducing the need for communities to rely on coal-fired power plants for daily cooking, keeping a healthy carbon-reduced cycle going. Cooking with a Wonderbag significantly reduces cooking times, which leads to electricity savings and indirectly reduces emissions from power plants.
Cook also talks about Faithful to Nature’s plans for 2022. “Next year, we plan to work with Agricarbon, South Africa’s first carbon programme paying farmers for the carbon credits they generate from their sustainable land management practices.”
Through the AgriCarbon Programme, increased soil organic carbon and reduced greenhouse gas emissions from these practices can also generate verified carbon offsets purchased by the Climate Neutral Group. The programme aims to unite the best in climate-smart agriculture and soil health management to drive climate action and food security and support the livelihoods of farmers.
“Through these partnerships, all deliveries from Faithful to Nature have less impact on the planet, keeping to our aim of always providing a better option than what’s available. That could be based on our values like locally sourced, fairtrade, organic, cruelty-free, and plastic-free or the availability of recyclable packaging, and now with carbon-neutral delivery.”
“We hope that this example will soon be followed by all other retailers in South Africa for more responsible deliveries all-round,” Cook concludes.