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Sustainable Business Plan 

 *Last updated August 2020

Shortly after we launched we announced our goal to become a zero-waste business because we believe business growth should never be at the expense of people or planet. We believe in wellness for both people and planet.

Why is this so important to us? Every minute the equivalent of one rubbish truck of plastic is leaked into streams and rivers, ultimately ending up in the ocean, with devastating impact on marine wildlife. An estimated 100 million marine animals die each year due to discarded plastic and with this problem only set to get worse we believe it is of the utmost importance to act now to protect our planet.

The Acala journey to zero waste is about achieving nothing to landfill as well as reducing waste (even waste that is biodegradable or recyclable) as much as possible. Our priority is to continually reduce waste and adopt a circular model whereby our waste becomes someone else’s resource. In this quarterly report we will explore our progress in four key areas against targets we have set ourselves. The areas we are measuring ourselves against are: 


  • Greenhouse gases
  • Waste
  • Sustainable Sourcing
  • Inclusive and ethical business 

So, quarter one, let’s jump in and see what’s working and where we have improvements to make. 


 Greenhouse Gases

1. Become carbon neutral in our business operations by close of 2025. Goal to become carbon positive.

Unit of measure: Reduction in C02 emissions by tonne.

Q1 progress: 14 tonnes per year.

We are acting to find and work with a zero-carbon courier company. As well as reducing waste in packaging (taken on reusable packaging) and working with suppliers to improve their processes.


2. Source 100% of our energy across our operations, from when products arrive with us, from renewable sources by 2025.

Unit of measure: Percentage of energy sourced from renewable sources.

Q1 progress: 100% of energy at Acala HQ comes from renewable sources. We are acting to find and work with a zero-carbon courier company. Our challenge as a small business is finding suppliers who will work with our current volumes.


3. Work with our suppliers to embed best practice and carbon positive manufacturing in their activity to achieve 50% of suppliers at carbon positive by 2020.

Unit of measure: Percentage of suppliers actively involved in Acala’s Sustainable Business Scheme.

Q1 progress: 0%

This programme has not been implemented yet. We are working on setting it up now and it will launch in early 2019. We are in regular communication with our suppliers however and have already taken steps to reduce their packaging waste. All of our deliveries, bar one supplier, arrive with us in recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes, and biodegradable paper tape.



1. Achieve zero single-use plastic in Acala operations by 2022.

Unit of measure: Percentage of single- use plastic entering operations.

Q1 Progress: 10%

The sources of single use plastic for us currently are the packaging that that our boxes for packing orders come in as well as the material our shipping labels are printed on. It is a receipt type paper that contains BPE so is not biodegradable. We have spoken to our current supplier of both items and neither are willing to make a change so we are on the hunt for a new supplier.


2. Achieve zero waste to landfill by 2022.

Unit of measure: Percentage of single- use plastic entering operations.

Q1 progress: 10%

As in point one of the waste pillar, this same single-use plastic is also non-recyclable.


3. By 2020 total waste sent for recycling or composting will be at or below 2018 levels despite significantly higher volumes.

Unit of measure: Kg per tonne of total waste; kg change of waste sent for recycling/recycling/composting each quarter. 

Q1 update: 0.7 tonnes. Down from 1 tonne at launch.


4. Work with our suppliers to embed zero waste policies within their manufacturing and supply to halve waste across the supply chain by 2025.

Unit of measure: Percentage of suppliers actively engaged in Acala’s Sustainable Business scheme.

Q1 progress: 0%

This programme has not been implemented yet. We are working on setting it up now and it will launch in early 2019. We are in regular communication with our suppliers however and have already taken steps to reduce their packaging waste. We only work with suppliers who are already committed to and actively working to minimise waste.


5. All packaging used in Acala operations will be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Unit of measure: Percentage of packaging that is fully reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Q1 progress: 90%

We currently have two non- reusable, recyclable or compostable sources of waste. The packaging our card boxes for sending waste comes in and our shipping labels. We are offering reusable packaging service RePack to all customers for an additional £1 shipping cost - this has reduced the waste created by cardboard boxes and their packaging by a third since launch. 


6. Eliminate paper in our invoicing, goods receipts, purchase order process and financial reporting by 2019 where legally allowable.

Unit of measure: Percentage of electronic transactions within invoicing, goods receipt and purchase order processes.

2020 progress: 95%

As a business we now have a good understanding of where this waste comes from and are working with partners to eliminate the final 5% if legally possible.


Sustainable Sourcing

1. All products on Acala will be palm oil free by 2020.

Unit of measure: Percentage of products that are palm oil free.

Progress: 95%

Currently we have just one brand on our books that uses a palm tree derivative – Zao Cosmetics. Zao use RSPO certified palm butter in a few of their products.

This does not sit easy with us but Zao are gradually working to phase palm butter out of all of their products. We also feel that Zao’s positive environmental steps in terms of organic certification and refillable packaging still mean they are the current preferred option for cosmetics. We will continue to work with Zao and explore other options/suppliers with a view to eliminating this.


2. Source all paper and cardboard for our packaging from certified sustainably managed forests or from recycled materials by 2018.

Unit of measure: Percentage of purchased paper and board packaging coming from sustainable sources (i.e. certified, recycled and recovered materials).

Q1 update: 100%


3. Source all Acala branded products from sustainable sources. 

Unit of measure: Percentage of Acala branded products manufactured from sustainable sources.

Q1 progress: 0%

We have not yet launched Acala branded products. When we do we will report on this target.


4. Source all branded products from brands/suppliers who can sign our supplier code of conduct. 

Unit of measure: Percentage of suppliers signed code of conduct.

Q1 progress: 97%

We have just one, very small supplier who felt unable to sign our code of conduct as they could not trace their supply chain fully. We have however worked with this brand to understand their sourcing processes and ingredients and we are confident that they are an ethical and sustainable brand. We will continue to work with this supplier to try and change this so that they can sign the document.


Inclusive and Ethical Business

1. Donate 10% of net profit to charity partner by 2020.

Unit of measure: percentage of profit donated to charity partner-  currently Friends of the Earth.

Q1 progress: 5% to be donated at end of financial year.


2. Provide a platform for artisan businesses to scale operations ethically and sustainably to create and improve their incomes.

Unit of measure: Small-scale retailers in our distribution network we have enabled to access initiatives and growth opportunities.

Q1 progress: As we grow we want to help our suppliers grow. Currently we are too small to provide impact against this target but it is in our pipeline plans so we wanted to share it.


We hope you find this report interesting. As a business transparency is of the utmost importance and we will continue to be transparent about our activity as we grow. We don’t have all the answers and the biggest challenges facing the world cannot be addressed by one company alone; this change needs collaboration to succeed. That is why we will continue to build our network of sustainable manufacturers as well as our contacts at systems- level so we can effect change on a wider scale. That is also why our own sustainable business goals take action on the UN’s sustainable business development plan.

Currently this reporting is being carried out by the Acala team. As we grow we will take on independent auditors to facilitate this monitoring.

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