• Bristol Fair Trade

The Natural Beverages Company: South West Fair Trade Business Awards Spotlight

The Natural Beverage Co is the UK’s largest producer of Fairtrade soft drinks, including Fruit Hit, BE Fair and Healthy and Ubuntu Cola, which have all picked up South West Fair Trade Business Awards in recent years. NB has been producing Fairtrade certified products for 13 years and is now based in Somerset, after moving out of Bristol last year. Their customers are mainly wholesale and food service companies who retail their products in a variety of places across the UK and Europe – coffee shops, university campuses, festivals and more.

Laura Watson, Logistics and Operations, reflects on what Fair Trade means for The Natural Beverage Co, and their highlights from the 2019 South West Fair Trade Business Awards.

Fair Trade is at the core of our company: NB was founded in 2006 with the full intention of being a Fair Trade based company, as it is something our Director always wanted to support. We really believe in the positive impact that Fair Trade has on the lives of farmers, their families and their communities. To ensure we are supporting this with every product we release, all of our products (past and present) have been Fairtrade certified, using Fairtrade ingredients wherever possible.

At NB sustainability of our practices is a top priority. We work with our customers and suppliers to increase efficiency of transportation and are always looking at suitable and innovative packaging alternatives to improve our sustainability on that front (we’re particularly excited about our new sparkling juice drink range in cans).

In the Natural Beverage Co. office, we ensure all products bought for the office are Fair Trade where possible, including all tea, coffee and snacks. A challenge with adopting Fair Trade in the workplace is that there aren’t always enough Fair Trade products available in the supermarkets; it’s a real shame and something we would encourage more supermarkets to prioritise.

Communicating Fair Trade values can be difficult with customers, as some can be sceptical and not have a full understanding of the good that purchasing Fair Trade does. We hope that through talking about Fair Trade we can help to provide information to give customers a full understanding of what Fair Trade is all about – such as supporting livelihoods, equality and the environment.

Our tip for any organisation wanting to support Fair Trade through their work, would be to do anything that is achievable for your organisation, however big or small! Whether that’s using Fair Trade goods in the manufacture of a product, selling Fair Trade products in an on-site café, or hosting or getting involved in Fair Trade events – taking part in Fairtrade Fortnight is a great starting point. There are so many things that can be done to support Fair Trade!

We had a brilliant time at the South West Fair Trade Business Awards, and we’re so happy and grateful to have won an award again! A highlight was chatting to people from like-minded companies. It’s great to hear what other people are doing to support Fair Trade. The Q&A with Junieth Leiva was also really interesting – we love hearing first-hand experiences of how Fair Trade positively impacts people.

We are launching a new product under our BE Fair & Healthy brand. These will be Fairtrade sparkling juice drinks. With these new sparkling drinks, we are ensuring the full range is school compliant [fitting with school food standards] so we can bring more Fairtrade products to schools, which will hopefully raise more awareness of the Fairtrade Foundation’s work. With our Fairtrade juice cartons, we provide additional assets to schools to assist with educating children about Fair Trade, and this is something we will look to do with our new sparkling drinks!

Laura’s top Fair Trade product is: Grumpy Mule Fairtrade coffee

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