Sustainability Spotlight: Luscombe Drinks
Luscombe is passionate about crafting the very best tasting organic drinks. They source the finest quality organic whole fruits from trusted growers around the world which they expertly blend with their own source of Dartmoor spring water to create an award-winning range of fruit juices, crushes, bubblies, sparkling waters, tonic waters and mixers. They are the proud holders of a Royal Warrant and a staggering 90 Great Taste awards from the Guild of Fine Food.
What have you done to make your business more environmentally friendly?
When I took over the reins of Luscombe, I focussed on producing the very best tasting organic soft drinks, made with as little impact on the planet as was possible. I wanted to create organic drinks that were produced in partnership with farmers and growers who were paid a fair price for the high quality produce they grew. It’s these principles that continue to underpin Luscombe today.
We’re extremely proud to be the first drinks brand to have gained organic accreditation in the UK by the Soil Association and continue to be a member today. In 2018 we joined a ground-breaking Agroforestry project, an experiment taking place on Dartington Estate run by the Agroforestry Research Trust. We have planted 1,800 elder trees alongside a rotation of organic horticultural crops and wildflowers, to produce a higher density of flora and fauna for natural pest management and increased biodiversity. This experiment has enabled us to grow organically certified elderflower for use in our drinks, rather than foraging for wild flower heads. Twenty years ago we planted 40 acres of diverse native woodland, something I felt compelled to do to offset the manufacturing impacts at Luscombe.
With regard to reducing our energy usage, we have installed solar panels to provide the majority of our electricity as well as motion sensitive lighting. To help reduce our carbon footprint we work to ship our ingredients and products in the most effective manner possible. Our citrus, for example, is picked at the optimum moment for flavour, we then extract the juice close to the citrus farms and freeze it before shipping to the UK. This halves the shipping weight, thus positively impacting carbon reduction and also functions to preserve the flavour of the juice at the moment of picking.
What would you like to change in the future to improve your sustainability credentials further?
Moving forward we are continuing our work to reduce the impact that we have on the planet and started the process to become a certified B Corp.
We’re aiming during 2022 to reduce our pasteurisation temperatures and times by 25-50 per cent without compromising product quality or safety, in turn this will reduce our burning of fossil fuels by 30 per cent. We are also reviewing and reducing fuel consumption on our key equipment. In the next few years we are hoping to move all local deliveries to electric vehicles and in the meantime are continuing to work with our transit partners to understand how they are working to reduce their carbon footprint.
Our drinks have always been in glass bottles, never plastic. Historically, however, our labels have been polypropylene based. This year, in a drive to continue to reduce our footprint, we are moving all of our labels across to a paper format. Our ambition is one day to completely remove single use plastic from across the Luscombe site, a huge project that involves significant structural changes across our suppliers and growers.
What tips do you have for other businesses that would like to become more sustainable?
Do it right from the start. People want to see businesses taking sustainability seriously and it is much easier to implement it from the beginning rather than retrospectively.