What were you looking for with a charity partner?
Blackmores has been an industry leader for more than 80 years. The company had its beginnings in the 1930s, thanks to the vision and passion of one man, Maurice Blackmore (1906-1977), an English immigrant whose ideas about health were ahead of his time.
Sustainability has therefore always been intrinsic to the Blackmores brand. Blackmores has a long term commitment to environmentally sustainable practices relating to all aspects of our business, demonstrating care, respect and compassion for our people, the broader community and the environment.
As such, we are constantly on the look-out for ways to improve all elements of our business when it comes to sustainability, and place a priority on working with suppliers and partners who share this value.
How did you decide on WWF?
WWF is one of the world's largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over five million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.
WWF partners with businesses to advise on responsible sourcing of key products, and on strategies to meet responsible sourcing commitments. These partnerships are focused on reducing the ecological impact of the businesses' partners.
It gave us the opportunity to partner with an organisation that shared our values and goals, and that could help us improve our sustainable fish oil sourcing policy that led to the development of our relationship with WWF Australia and New Zealand. We agree that businesses in the seafood economy have an inherent responsibility and an essential role to play in ensuring fish stocks are managed sustainably. Blackmores, as a signatory to the policies and principles of WWF's Sustainable Seafood Charter on top of our own sustainable fish oil sourcing policy, represents our commitment to fulfilling the vision of healthy oceans, healthy communities and sustainable business practices.
What exactly are you doing with the charity? What sort of investment is it taking in time and money?
The Blackmores and WWF Sustainable Fish Oils Partnership is a three-year engagement to help Blackmores achieve the highest possible standard for sustainable fish oils by 2015.
The partnership involves WWF working with Blackmores to review its fish and krill oil products and sourcing practices, and provide advice on how we can achieve the highest possible standard of sustainability to meet our 2015 target. The successful replacement and phasing out of tuna oil use in Australia and NZ products sets an important precedent in the fish oils sector.
As part of Blackmores' commitment to sustainability we have already removed 96 per cent of the tuna oil from our Australian and New Zealand products over the last two years whilst delivering the same high quality health products. The transition for the final four per cent should be complete by December 2013. Tuna oil is sought after for its high levels of the omega 3 oil DHA, which may support brain and heart health. Some species of tuna are fished sustainably but others are not, and in the absence of good traceability data, the most responsible move for us was to remove tuna while retaining a quality product equally high in DHA.
How are you communicating your involvement to your customers?
Our partnership with both the WWF and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is being communicated on packs (currently Blackmores Eco-Krill) and will be rolled out across the Blackmores Fish Oil range as these products achieve MSC certification. The partnership is also communicated in advertising and via education and training with the pharmacy channel.
What has the feedback been from customers about your charity involvement?
Very positive. Awareness of the impact both businesses and people can have on the environment is increasing, and more and more consumers are looking to business to lead the way when it comes to implemeting sustainable practices.
What tips do you have for other businesses looking around for a suitable charity partner?
Choose an organisation that strongly aligns with your business values, and will help you establish a partnership that enables you to work together to fulfill a mutual goal.
Has Blackmores had other charity partners over the years?
Our social responsibility values extends beyond our care for the environment, striving to make a difference by investing back into the community to help create a brighter future, with a priority on those organisations that are working on improving health outcomes for the NZ population.
Current initiatives includes support of and partnership with:
• Macular Degeneration NZ
• Arthritis New Zealand
• MINDD Foundation
• Botanica Ethiopia