4 Pillars of Sustainability


At Alara we have spent over 30 years working out and implementing how we can create a sustainable food production system.

It’s our challenge to ourselves that fulfilling these foundational elements of sustainability makes us the most sustainable food manufacturer on earth.

This divides into four ‘pillars’ of Sustainability:

Environmental

Environmental

Financial

Economic

Social

Social

governance

Governance

Social
Social

Environmental

The food supply chain emits a third of all gases that contribute to climate change, finding a way to combat this defines our environmental pillar. We use an in-house developed database that measures CO2e in all raw food materials we use every month.

 

Carbon Offsetting

 Alara does implements carbon offsetting by working with a small charity called ‘Rainforest Saver’ who work in sub-Saharan Africa, central and South America with indigenous farmers to introduce an agricultural system called Inga Alley Cropping. These farmers have traditionally practiced slash and burn farming which contributes 3% of all climate change omitted gas. Inga Alley Cropping uses a natural nitrogen-fixing plant to maintain the permanent fertility of agricultural fields. Each Inga planted over a 20 year lifespan will sequester half a ton of carbon. This combination of preventing slash and burn farming and tree planting is a very efficient way of offsetting the imbedded CO2e in the food Alara sells. 

 

Zero Waste

Sending waste to landfills makes it unable to reuse ever again. When biodegradable material is landfilled it decays to produce methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. There is also only so much space to be used for landfills. What happens when there’s none left?

We achieved Zero Waste status in August 2008. We do not send any waste to the landfill. Everything is reused, reduced, recycled or composted.

 

100% Renewable Energy

Alara uses 100% renewable green energy. Our provider guarantees renewable sources such as hydro, solar and wind energy. We have also replaced all light fittings on site with reduced energy usage benefits.

 

Home Compostable Packaging

Alara is the first cereal company to offer product in plastic free film, made of eucalyptus cellulose. It biodegrades in your home compost heap in 90 days.

 

Arable Organic Farmers

We believe in British organic arable farmers and fairness in the supply chain

We source all our oat, barley and rye flakes from British growers. By offering a long term contract and fair prices to farmers, Alara was instrumental in establishing the Organic Arable Group, which connects small organic farms and has helped the development of the British organic oat sector

Related page: http://www.rainforestsaver.org/
Related page: Carbon Report

Environmental
Environmental

Economic

The next fundamental pillar of sustainability is the economic foundation. The measure we use is ‘cash on delivery’ or C.O.D. This means we do not have a creditor ledger and pay for all of our goods and services on delivery and approval.

We do this for three reasons:

Firstly, it values food properly. Before Alex Smith started Alara, he lived for a year without using any money, but he found it was impossible to live without food. This taught him that food is a much more valuable commodity than money is. 

Secondly,  cash flow is the reality of all business. We exist as a food business in a bio-diverse network of both suppliers and customers. Valuing, appreciating and supporting our suppliers is a key step for us to establish valued relationships with them.

Lastly, we use C.O.D to encourage us as a business to minimise ‘economic’ waste. We can’t rely on our suppliers to provide us with cash flow to cover us when we make mistakes. This means we have to carefully consider opportunities before we take them on.

Economic
Economic

Social

The social pillar of Sustainability  is understanding, appreciating and valuing the community in which the business is based. We do this by hosting great parties to encourage community engagement . The Camley Street Harvest Party is an annual event that hosts up to 1000 guests. All food, drink and entertainment at the party is entirely free.  We use food from the Alara Permaculture Garden around the factory and engage with other neighbouring food businesses to contribute. Many amazing developments have sprung from the party, not least, our amazing plan to develop the most sustainable urban development in the world in King’s Cross.

Governance
Governanace

Governance

Governance is the formal relationship that Alara has with society. Everyday, 250000 people eat  food from our factory – This is a very privileged and intimate trust that customers have with the business. To reinforce this trust, we have decided to publish all of these audits on our website. This offers a review of the hygiene, quality and ethics of the business. 

Related page: Audits