Why I support ethical brands like Pukka Herbs

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A decade ago, buying organic tea, activated nuts and kombucha used to only be possible in hippie health food stores. But in the last couple of years, lots has changed and more and more health, sustainability and eco-conscious brands have gone from niche to mainstream.

And 2018 has seen lots of changes! From being able to find healthy bliss balls at 7/11 to my go-to superfoods and organic Pukka teas being stocked at Coles, some of my favourite brands have been catapulted into the mainstream domaine. These brands are shaking off the tag of exclusivity once associated with the wellbeing sectors and are making themselves accessible to everyone.

The power of a brand with a purpose that's beyond just profit has never been clearer; especially as us Millennials are longing for brands that do good. I remember reading “Earth Is Hiring” by Peta Kelly and thinking AH-MEN when Peta was inviting our generation to give a sh*t about each other and our earth. As she says, “Our planet isn’t a place for us to holiday, but a place of permanent residence with the requirement that we nurture and love our Mother Earth.”

With news like Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement and publicly stating he doesn’t believe in climate change, it can feel like we’re taking steps back, but I wholeheartedly believe that we are moving in the right direction. When doing research for this post, I was really impressed that 63% of consumers would choose an eco-conscious brand over a mainstream brand (UK survey).

I definitely have noticed this shift in conscious consumerism - both in myself and my friends/family. Not only are more people taking measures to improve their health, but in doing so they are also looking for products that support our planet. We vote with our money, and more people are using this power to proactively support brands who’s values they align with. And so, these “niche” health products are slowly becoming available in mainstream retailers. Obviously there’s still a long way to go, but there are options! One of the brands that I want to celebrate today for the incredible job that they do, and for successfully going from niche to mainstream is: Pukka Herbs.

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I’ve been drinking Pukka’s yummy 100% organic medicinal grade herbal teas ever since I moved to Australia and have always admired them for their ethos. I already knew a little bit about their sustainability program and best practices before writing this article, but when I actually looked into the specifics, I was honestly blown away by their dedication to protecting the environment, supporting the communities and also their transparency.

If you’re already a Pukka Herbs fan, there’s some good news: some of their top flavours are now not only available at independent health food stores across Australia, but also in Coles. Yaaay! The flavours available are: Detox, Mint, Ginger, Lemon Ginger Manuka Honey, Turmeric Gold and Night Time.

At the moment I’m loving their Lemon Ginger & Manuka Honey tea because I’ve been sick on and off, and this tea is a great immune booster thanks to the lemon and ginger. Manuka honey has traditionally been used for improving digestive issues and also has many antioxidant benefits. Plus, it’s a great tea for a pitta-vata dosha like myself (you can do a Pukka dosha quiz here). Pukka actually blend all their teas using the wisdom of Ayurveda, meaning that the teas are tailored to help solve different health issues through the power of the herbs they use. I think a lot of people don’t realise just how powerful herbs actually are and what a great addition they are to naturally helping with all sorts of health issues.


Why Pukka Herbs truly walks the talk

Pukka truly walk the talk when it comes to all things sustainability, fair trade and organic production. Their whole founding philosophy is “built on the principle of doing good through commerce bringing positive change into the world through a genuine contribution to global equality, ending poverty and protecting the environment.” The word “Pukka” actually stands for authentic in Hindi, which I think is such a beautiful name. Translated into action, this looks like this:

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  • Everything Pukka creates – even the string on their tea bags – is certified organic. Saaaaay what?! Prior to learning this it hadn’t even crossed my mind that this was a factor to consider.

  • You won’t find pesticides, GMO or artificial flavours in their teas.

  • Pukka is a certified B Corp. What this means is that they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems. Collectively, B Corps across the world lead a growing global movement of people using business as a force for good. How good!

  • The packaging is FSC certified and is 100% biodegradable. FSC is a certification that shows consumers that a brand operates in an environmentally, economically and socially responsible way.

  • Pukka gives back in many different ways. Here’s just a few:

    • 1% of all profits go straight to environmental causes. In 2017, over $752.000 AUD were donated to environmental charities.

    • Pukka has a Fair For Life certification, which guarantees a respect of human rights and fair working conditions as well as respect of the ecosystem and promotion of biodiversity and sustainable agriculture practices.

    • $262.000 AUD were invested into community fair premium funds helping the producers and local communities where the herbs are grown.

  • For the first time, Pukka has mapped out their carbon footprint, breaking down their total carbon output from 'crop to cup'. It’s not only cool that Pukka chooses to be this transparent, it’s also really insightful and made me understand a lot more about the production cycle.

    • But you know what was the most shocking? The biggest carbon impact from crop to cup is actually us consumers boiling our kettles - 49% of the total carbon footprint! This is because most people boil twice as much water as they actually need simply because they don’t think about it and just boil a full kettle. Ufff…Just think about the difference it would make if we all only boiled the exact amount that we need.

If you’re a keen bean, you can ready more about everything Pukka has achieved recently in this 2017 sustainability report or in this summary leaflet.

I truly hope that more and more brands like Pukka will go from niche to mainstream, so that more people will become conscious consumers and make better choices for their health, our communities and our planet. We all have the power to vote with our money, so let’s make sure to make the right choices and support the right kind of businesses!

*this post was written in friendly collaboration with Pukka Herbs Australia.