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‘Origin Green Adds Another Level To Our Sustainability Plans’

22 January 2019

Today, we feature Aisling Walsh, Marketing Director, Butlers Chocolates 

What is the background to your business?

Butlers Chocolates is a family-owned business, established in Dublin in 1932. The company produces luxury chocolates and confectionery, in addition to chocolate bars and seasonal gifts at Christmas and Easter. It is also well known and loved for its retail network, Butlers Chocolate Cafés.

The first Butlers Chocolate Café opened on Wicklow Street in Dublin twenty years ago. There are now more than 20 Butlers Chocolate Cafés in Ireland, as well as franchises in the Middle East. Butlers Chocolates are available in premium retail outlets nationwide and online at ButlersChocolates.com

Why did Butlers Chocolates join Origin Green?

The environment and our impact on it have always been central to the company’s thinking. When the Origin Green programme was launched, it gave us a great opportunity to become more formalised and structured in our plans and initiatives in this whole area.

What are the key points of your sustainability plan?

Two major focus areas are around energy and sourcing. In terms of energy, one very significant initiative was the installation of solar panels on the roof of our factory in Dublin. This was the single biggest solar panel installation in an industrial premises in Ireland and accounts for approximately 14% of our annual energy needs.

In terms of sourcing, there are two main items at the heart of our business: chocolate and coffee. For chocolate, we have signed up to the Cocoa Horizons Initiative, which is an independently verified initiative working to support the livelihoods of cocoa farmers and their families in West Africa.

Butlers Chocolate Cafés use Fairtrade Coffee, which is a well-known badge of sustainability and ethical sourcing. We are actively looking at ways of reducing waste and have recently introduced fully recyclable cups in our cafés.

What progress have you made on these plans?

We are making good progress on these plans. Many of our commitments have already been implemented and we are planning our next initiatives to drive continuous improvement.

How does Origin Green benefit business, the environment and society?

For us, Origin Green adds another level to a company’s sustainability plans. Before joining Origin Green, we had already embarked on our sustainability journey. The independent nature of the verification process of our plans every year as part of the Origin Green programme adds a valuable dimension for us.

Membership of Origin Green can help to formalise thinking and put deadlines and targets in place around environmental and social initiatives.

How do you see sustainability evolving for business?

Sustainability is an integral part of what we do and how we think about our business. It can only become more important for food and drink businesses across the country.

Consumers expect the brands they support to act in a manner that is mindful and respectful of the environment, so sustainability will become, if it is not already, a key pillar to consider in many food and drink companies’ strategies.