Innocent Drinks announces carbon neutral factory, ‘the Blender’ and a 2025 carbon neutrality goal

Innocent Drinks today announces its ambitious objective of being carbon neutral by 2025 – the announcement reinforces the healthy drinks company’s big dream to help people and the planet live well and die old.  

innocent’s move builds on its comprehensive decarbonisation strategy that forms the basis of its verified Science Based Target. As a signatory to the Business Ambition for 1.5°C, innocent recognises that the planet is at a critical juncture and that the climate crisis is moving faster than climate action.

This milestone brings together innovation from across innocent’s production, packaging and supply chain that directly responds to the need for swifter action. To achieve this new goal, innocent is continuing to develop resource-efficient supply chains, optimise packaging, work with farmers to reduce emissions and invest in the world’s first fully carbon-neutral, all-electric juice production plant – the blender – in Rotterdam.

Blueprint for sustainable manufacturing

Construction is nearly complete on the blender, which will play a major role in helping the company reach the new 2025 target. Officially opening in 2022, it’s the world’s most advanced and sustainable production facility of its type and has been built to BREEAM certified standards. Totally carbon neutral, the blender will run on 100% renewable energy, have on-site solar panels and wind turbines, and use the world’s first two 50-tonne fully electric HGVs to keep it supplied with ingredients.

The blender has also been designed to reduce water usage by 75% and to re-use energy generated from cooling the factory to meet its heating requirements – reducing overall energy consumption for heating and cooling by an estimated 45%. Energy models show that the blender will consume 28% less energy than the 16 global beverage companies included in the Beverage Industry roundtable 2017 benchmarks. Currently, more than 86% of innocent’s drinks are blended using renewable energy – and with the help of the blender, innocent hopes to reach 100% by 2023 at the latest.

Future of packaging

In 2006, innocent was one of the first companies to trial rPet bottles and experiment with biodegradable materials (compostable bottles). Reducing the climate impact of packaging is a key pillar of the business’ carbon action plan. Committed to the principles of the circular economy, innocent ensures all its bottles are recyclable. And, through education and lobbying campaigns for quality deposit return schemes (DRS), innocent is working to make its bottles easy to recycle for its drinkers.

Innocent is also trialling its greenest bottle yet as part of its mission to stop using virgin plastics created from fossil fuels. This new prototype is made from 50% rPET and 50% plant plastic material and the new bottle aims to launch commercially across all markets in 2025. innocent’s latest innovation marks an important step towards the company’s goal of eliminating virgin plastics created by fossil fuels from its range.

Supply chain innovation

With the recent launch of innocent’s Farmer Innovation Fund, innocent is helping to find innovative carbon reduction projects and inspire suppliers on new and effective sustainable agriculture practices in the sector. 

The Fund runs alongside the Beacon Project, a three-year campaign launched in Spain to demonstrate how actively protecting wild pollinators can help with carbon reduction. Working with two food producers, innocent is implementing different methods of modifying pesticide use and the promotion of native flower species to help cut carbon production by 10% across 18 farm trial sites.