Innocent Drinks unveils farmer winners of £1m decarbonise fund

Pixley Berries, a Hertfordshire-based blackcurrant grower, is one business which has been awarded the grant
Pixley Berries, a Hertfordshire-based blackcurrant grower, is one business which has been awarded the grant

Innocent Drinks has unveiled the winners of a £1 million fund set up to help its grower suppliers to go greener through regenerative agriculture.

The smoothie brand opened the fund in March to applications across the world, including the UK, Europe and India, as part of plans to decarbonise its supply chain.

The company aims to achieve a 50% reduction of its scope 3 emissions by 2030, with over half of its emissions coming from its suppliers.

Now the winners of the Farmer Innovation Fund has been announced today (5 June), providing funding to 11 growers, mainly in the UK and Europe, for projects that support the transition to low-carbon farming.

The funding will also help growers to boost biodiversity and deliver fairer farming practices. Innocent says that over half of its emissions comes from its ingredients.

Funding offered to businesses include those with a focus on priority fruits, such as apples and oranges, which produce the highest levels of Innocent’s emissions.

Within the total fund of £1m, grants are being offered to 11 grower businesses in the UK, Europe, India, Costa Rica and Nicaragua, of between £20,000 - £500,000.

Pixley Berries, a Hertfordshire-based blackcurrant grower, has been awarded the grant to support a bio-stimulant and a sensory device to look after blackcurrant crops over the next three years.

Anna Ralph, of Pixley Berries said: “Being a winner for the second year running means we can advance our work to identify pragmatic approaches with deliverable benefits to blackcurrant growing and other crops.

"By combining biostimulants, measuring chlorophyll, microbials, and focusing on minimum cultivations we’re pioneering a new approach.

"Through this we hope to develop a revitalised agronomy fit for our times, both adapting to and mitigating climate change.”

Nick Canney, CEO of Innocent Drinks added: “Our Farmer Innovation Fund enables us to build meaningful partnerships with our suppliers to help make sure we can keep enjoying fruit and veg for years to come.

"This year’s winners are embarking on some truly innovative projects that show real potential for playing a part in the future of farming."

What are the winners?

Some of the first-time recipients of the fund include:

• Aspis, peach supplier, Greece: Aspis will conduct a lifecycle assessment of peaches, assessing and evaluating the CO2 footprint of each production stage of peach puree.

• GNT Group, carrot supplier, Netherlands, Belgium and Germany: GNT will work with select farmers to create plots of wildflowers, herbs and plants that attract pollinators and increase biodiversity.

• IBERFRUTA, peach supplier, Spain: IBERFRUTA will trial irrigation adjustments and install sensors to evaluate the physiological and agronomic behaviour of peach trees under deficit irrigation strategies.

• Mother Dairy, mango supplier, India: Mother Dairy will conduct a baseline report and educate farmers about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change and their livelihood.

• Sensus, chicory root fiber supplier, Netherlands: Sensus aims for 20-30% crop yield improvement by trialling seed-embedding technology to stimulate uniform crop growth, with the hope of reducing seed waste and soil disruption

• Sol Organica, passion fruit and dragon fruit supplier, Nicaragua: Sol Organica will implement the conversion of food waste into compost to reduce costs, sequester carbon and reduce methane emissions.

• SVZ, strawberry supplier, Spain: SVZ will implement a HIDRIX system to optimise water and fertiliser consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resilience in turn.