Climate change is the biggest global issue of our time. And we know that the actions of businesses are one of the biggest drivers of climate change.
“The IPCC has determined that in order to avoid a disastrous 1.5 °C rise in global temperatures and beyond - a rise that would see increased risk to human health and livelihood, civil unrest, mass drought, mass disease, loss of lands and homes, increased fires, increased tropical storms, mass human displacement, and globally exhausted resources - we must act with urgency.” Declaration of a Climate Emergency. Jacinda Ardern 2.12.2020. New Zealand Parliament.
We are one peanut butter company at the bottom of the planet, but we are committed to doing our bit, standing by our values and sharing our journey along the way.
Some of our proudest achievements so far are:
- Gaining zero carbon and climate positive status. This means the overall activity of Pic’s business operations reduces carbon in the atmosphere. Where our emissions can’t be eliminated, we offset with certified carbon credits as part of the community-owned Drawa project on Vanua Levu, Fiji, protecting 4,120ha of tropical rainforest from logging.
- Launching charitable trust ‘The Food Factory.’ Pic has always been passionate about connecting with our local small business community. His Food Factory is a purpose-built food production space launched in 2020 offering mentorship and support for budding local food businesses, supporting Nelson Tasman’s economic COVID recovery.
- Making life changing peanut butter. Pic has a saying, ‘no weird stuff’, which we live by. We believe in making nutritious food as it should be. Freshly roasted, lovingly squashed and made with only the finest Hi Oleic peanuts; which means we make a peanut butter containing 26% protein and 25% more good fats than non Hi Oleic peanut butter. We are also proud to be Orangutan Alliance certified Palm Oil Free[JW1].
"Since my dad Pic started making peanut butter in a concrete mixer in our family garage thirteen years ago, we’ve aspired to be a business for good. Good for our community and good for our planet. Not just on paper. But the kind of good that’s never quite finished. Credible. Consistent. A life’s work of good," Louis Picot
Our sustainability goals
At Pic’s, we know that our peanut butter is really good, but we also try to make sure everything else we do is really good too.
We might be just one peanut butter company at the bottom of the planet, but we’re committed to doing our bit, standing by our values and sharing our journey along the way.
As a certified B Corporation, sustainability is something we must work on together as part of a global community. We know this is a job that’s never finished, but we’re pretty proud of some of our achievements so far.
To measure the changes we’re making, we’ve chosen to align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Goals, with specific focus on six core areas:
- Good Health and Wellbeing
- Affordable and Clean Energy
- Decent Work and Economic Growth
- Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
- Responsible Consumption and Production
- Climate Action
Read on to find out exactly what we're up to and how this has become an everyday part of how we do things at Pic's Peanut Butter.
Goal 13: Climate Action
Carbon levels in our atmosphere today are higher than at any point in at least the past 800,000 years, and this is driven by human activity (Lindsey, 2020). Businesses are some of the worst emitters of carbon and most are operating without considering the impact of their carbon emissions on our planet. In December 2020 New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a climate change emergency, naming climate change “one of the greatest challenges of our time.”
In April 2020 we measured our carbon footprint in partnership with Ekos, a local social enterprise to become an accredited Ekos Zero Carbon and Climate Positive company. This means the overall activity of Pic’s reduces carbon in the atmosphere.
After measuring our impact, we set reduction targets for energy, waste, water and carbon. In our second year of measuring (to the end of March 2021) we have reduced water usage by 17.5% and reduced waste by 34%. This is calculated on a per jar basis. We've also reduced our carbon emissions by 13%.
Where emissions can’t be decreased, we offset our carbon footprint so we have a positive impact. Our offsetting contributes to protecting 4,120ha of tropical rainforest on Vanua Levu, in Fiji. The rainforest is a pristine home for the endangered Fiji Ground Frog and several other endemic animal and plant species. This rainforest also provides valuable protection from cyclones, floods and droughts for the Drawa local and those living downstream (Ekos, 2018).
We identified our greatest area of emissions as outward freight. To begin to address this, we are looking into switching domestic road transport to sea freight where we can, and we began double-loading containers arriving with us to halve trips back and forth from Port Nelson in 2020. This is just a start. We are continuing to investigate alternative methods of transport to reduce emissions, local sourcing options to reduce food miles, and pushing for change with our freight suppliers.
We have also started initiatives to:
- Educate our customers on how to reuse, recycle or repurpose our packaging and avoid waste with our product.
- Share returned jars with community groups for fundraising, art, and preserving activity. Connecting Pic’s eaters with people who want jars via Neighbourly and Freecycle.
- Donating not-quite-perfect product to families in need via Kiwi Kai and the Oz Harvest network, as well as Predator Free and local trappers. We gave 1,550kgs last year.
- Encouraging staff to reduce car use by securing trials and a group discount for e-bikes and providing secure bike storage.
There is always room for improvement. That is why in 2020 we kicked off an audit of our current suppliers with a view to building good environmental outcomes into our contracts. We want to know that they have a plan to measure, manage, and reduce their carbon emissions too.
Pic's Emissions Sources from Highest to Lowest Emissions (Ekos 2021)
% of emissions 2021
% emissions 2020
Tonnes of CO2e 2021
Upstream Freight – Sea Freight
Upstream Freight – Road Freight
Fuel & Energy Related Emissions
End of Life Disposal of Sold Goods
Upstream Freight – Air Freight
Purchased Goods & Services
For our 2021 year of measurement we reduced emissions in all activities other than Electricity. Business Travel decreased by 63%, Upstream Freight by 25%, Fuel & Related Emissions by 17%, Business Waste by 16% and Company Vehicles by 15%. This lead to an overall reduction of 13%. Emissions per full time employee also decreased (despite an 8% increase in full time employees) by 20%.
We work with our local business community in Te Tauihu as part of a group called Businesses for Climate Action to support a regional shift to zero carbon and climate positive business.
In 2021 we hosted a climate action event in partnership with National coordinator of the School Strike 4 Climate, New Zealand's youngest elected councillor Sophie Hanford and Chia Sisters. Business people from all over the region came to Peanut Butter World to hear about how they could do their bit for our planet and signed a pledge to go zero carbon or climate positive. We then put them in touch with Ekos to help them get started on their carbon measurement journey.
Mission Zero is a Businesses for Climate Action initiative. Under the Mission Zero banner, our former Head of Marketing Caitlin Attenburrow is co-leading the inaugural 2022 ' Climate Leaders Programme' with Chia Sisters' Abbie Tebbut. It's a practical 10-month programme for a cohort of sustainability-minded local business people to develop and launch a climate project that could deliver value to their business and the wider Te Tauihu community.
The programme provides access to tools, experts and inspiring local business leaders to workshop projects from inception to launch. As well as leading the cohort, Pic's is working on a Mission Zero project to create a movement within business driving lower-impact packaging solutions and reducing the impact of our packaging on the environment.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
We have a non-negotiable commitment to quality. That’s why we only use the best possible ingredients of known provenance. What does this mean? Provenance for us is about being able to tell you everything we can about our ingredients: their place of origin, the conditions of growing, who our growers are.
When it comes to sourcing, we buy locally where possible and make an effort to minimise food miles without compromising quality. We source everything we can in Nelson, then look elsewhere in New Zealand before finally turning to international companies. This applies to everything from our graphic design, to our packaging and all the ingredients we use.
Peanuts are a naturally sustainable crop that replenishes essential nitrogen in soil depleted by other crops and demand little water.
We're pretty passionate about where our peanuts come from. That's why we're delighted to be taking the first steps towards our aspiration to create a New Zealand grown and made peanut butter. We're trialling peanut growing in Northland in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI)'s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures and The New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research.
In 2020 we trialled growing peanuts in three locations – Ruawai on a kumara farm, Pouto Peninsula near Dargaville, and in the Kai Iwi Lakes district. Each location has a different soil type and environment to see where the peanuts grow best. Trial peanuts were planted in late October 2020 and we successfully made four whole jars of peanut butter from the result! We have since scaled up with a bigger crop, planted in October 2021. If successful, peanut farming could bring new employment opportunities to the Northland region, alongside potentially making a very real difference to our carbon footprint. Wouldn't it be great if one day we could make a New Zealand-grown peanut butter?
In the meantime, our main source of Hi Oleic Peanuts is from our friends over the ditch in Australia. We’ve used these golden, Kingaroy grown, Hi Oleic peanuts since the arrival of Pic’s on your supermarket shelves. These guys grow incredible peanuts; however, supply is limited due to some radical changes to their climate. There is no denying it, Australia is getting hotter.
The droughts in 2019 meant the peanut harvest took a huge hit and many farmers had to make the decision to grow less fragile crops for a while, affecting our supply. It hasn’t been an easy change because we’ve met these farmers, stood on their fields during harvest, and have always been in awe of their incredible facilities.
When we source outside Australia, we look for peanuts of equal Hi Oleic quality. This brings us to… Canon Garth (global peanut experts) who supply world-class seeds lease land and machinery, and provide expert training before purchasing peanuts back from farmers to export. All for giving small holdings better opportunities and us really good peanuts.
Canon Garth introduced us to some brilliant peanut growers in Brazil, Nilton and his father, Natalino. A few decades ago, they started selling local peanuts around Sao Paulo - a bit of a novelty, considering Brazil’s main nut crops are cashews and of course, Brazil nuts.
They proved that the climate was perfect and the peanuts even better. In 2020 they realised they matched the criteria of BRCGS’s- a prestigious certification that proves they know their stuff. They look after their growers and processing staff. We began roasting these peanuts in March 2020. Today (September 2022) we work directly with our peanut growers in Brazil.
The salt we use comes from the Dominion Salt Company who has two sites: one in the South Island of New Zealand on Lake Grassmere, and one in the North Island at Mount Maunganui. It’s as simple as that when it comes to salt.
It’s not news to hear Almonds are a superfood. They are a great source of Vitamin E as well as protein, fibre, and monounsaturated fats. Any dietician will recommend eating about 30gms of nuts every day, and almonds are considered the cream of the crop for excellent heart health.
Our Almonds are grown in Australia and sourced through a company called Select Harvest. They are Australia’s largest vertically integrated nut and health food company with a mission to be the global market leader for supplying quality plant-based foods. The almonds are grown across 9,262 hectares of orchards, located in Victoria, South Australia and in New South Wales.
We started making almond butter in 2015.
Our packaging broadly falls into two categories:
1. Customer facing packaging (the stuff you see on the supermarket shelf)
2. Internal process packaging (the stuff we get peanuts, jars, salt, boysenberries and chocolate in)
Customer Facing Packaging
Our customer-facing packaging is nearly all recyclable. Our glass jars, plastic jars and peanut butter pails are all recyclable. We have some work to do on the plastic tamper seals on our glass jars, which we use to maintain food safety, and the foils we use to wrap our Peanut Butter Slugs for on-the-go eating. Neither of these can currently be recycled, but we are looking into alternative solutions.
The labels on our jars are made of kraft paper, however have an adhesive backing layer that requires them to be directed to landfill for the meantime.
What’s better for the planet: Plastic or glass jars?
This is a raging debate in the packaging industry. There are whole conferences on it, everyone has an opinion and new materials are being developed as we speak. Currently, our smaller jars are made of glass, our bigger 1Kg jars are made of PET plastic and our peanut butter pails are made from PP plastic.
Can they be recycled?
All our plastic and glass jars and pails can be recycled in curbside recycling. Make sure you wash out your jars before recycling them (glass jars can go in the dishwasher, plastic jars need to be washed by hand).
Where are they made of and what about your carbon emissions?
Carbon emissions from freight are significantly lower for our plastic jars than glass jars. This is because our plastic jars are made in New Zealand, but at this stage our glass can’t be made here and has to be imported.
What about the single-use-ness?
Pic originally chose to put a star on our jar lids rather than any fancy marketing to encourage people to reuse them, he figured a star was pretty inoffensive in your pantry. Tip: our jars are great pantry storage and our pails make a great kitchen compost bin!
So what’s better?!
Long term, we’d prefer to create a circular peanut butter economy. Peanut butter kegs anyone?! In the meantime, we’re pushing our glass supplier to be able to supply New Zealand recycled glass jars for us to use.
Internal Process Packaging
Our internal process packaging largely consists of cardboard, which we recycle, and pallets, which we re-use or return. Our precious peanuts arrive in giant sacks, which we give to the landscape gardening company next door for reuse. We have some work to do on soft plastic bags, which we receive inside many of our boxes to protect things like lids, almonds, salt, and labels. We reuse some in the factory, and Pic has a mate who picks the odd batch up for various projects but we need a better solution long term. We are also pretty sick of plastic pallet wrap, which we do recycle, but we’re looking into alternate solutions for the future.
In Nelson, already famous for its sunshine and wine, beaches, bush and National Parks, there lies a magical kingdom where all your peanut butter dreams come true. Yes really. Between your first glimpse of the world's biggest peanut butter jar, the moment The Great Star Door swings open and you step into Pic's Peanut Butter World; your life will change forever. Walk alongside our legendary Hi Oleic nuts as they spread eagerly out on the toasty warm bed of Roasting Matilda - Pic's gleaming 15m long oven. Revel in the rousing aroma of roasting nuts as you follow their progress through the maze of pipework to a bank of high-powered grinders that transform them into your beloved spread. And there's lots more... an exceptionally warm welcome, the history of peanut butter and the unexpurgated story of Pic's - maybe even Pic himself. A cafe where locals lunch, and there is a store full of Pic's products and peculiar souvenirs.
Last year, we showed 37,000 people how to make Pic’s Peanut Butter. Come and visit us at Peanut Butter World, 49 Saxton Road, Stoke, Nelson and see it for yourself. Book a tour here!
Goal 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
Pic credits the success of his peanut butter to what he learned in his time at Parnell Workshops, a collective of small manufacturers who shared skills, equipment, and Friday night drinks at a run-down warehouse in the 1980’s.
His own difficulties in finding food-safe premises to develop peanut butter convinced him of the need for a food innovation centre in Nelson. A place to let like-minded entrepreneurs develop their food businesses without signing humongous leases and buying expensive machinery.
With the support of the Provincial Growth Fund and the Nelson business community, Pic introduced The Food Factory, a Not For Profit, offering an affordable food-grade workspace and collaborative environment to develop food products and processing methods. In return for sharing skills and ideas with other users of the facility, Pic and The Food Factory Board put small business users in touch with their own networks of entrepreneurs, coaches, and funding resources.
If you dream of starting a food business of your own, get in touch - we’d love to help you: [email protected]
Goal 3: Good Health and Wellbeing
Early on, we decided we wanted to make peanut butter using only the best Hi Oleic peanuts. Peanuts are a naturally nutrient-rich food, having more than 30 vitamins and minerals, and being high in vitamin E, copper, folate, and fiber.
Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
We choose to support 100% renewable energy generation. We’re one of the few peanut butter companies around the world that actually roast our own peanuts - which takes some serious power!
That's why in April 2022 we installed 486 solar panels on the roof of Peanut Butter World to become New Zealand's first solar powered peanut roastery. On a sunny day here in Nelson, we can roast 3.3 MILLION peanuts using power from the sun!
For the rest of our power (when it's raining, or night time for example) we have partnered with our friends at Meridian to purchase renewable energy certificates to verify that the amount of electricity we use from the grid is matched on an annual basis with electricity produced from Meridian’s certified Benmore Hydro Station, located in the Waitaki Valley, New Zealand. Meridian's Certified Renewable Energy product enables us to report our Scope 2 electricity emissions as zero.
Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
We started in sunny Nelson and we’re staying in sunny Nelson, so it’s important to us that we are actively involved in the local community. Our ethos is to give our people the opportunity to do the best work of their lives, playing a part in the happiness of all our employees.
At Pic's we support staff by advocating the well-known Five Ways to Wellbeing (Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning, Give). We have found these to be simple and proven actions that are designed to help people find balance, build resilience and boost mental health and well-being. This is further backed up by our health and safety policies, our working-from-home policy, and of course more recently our Pic's Covid-19 Protection Framework. Our goal is to pay a living wage for our staff once trained and up to speed in their role.
Here’s a list of services we provide for those working with us:
- Healthy Thriving Workplaces Workshops - With local occupational health and wellbeing provider Hemisphere Health.
- Individual Development Planning and Learning Encouraged for All - With access to whatever materials are needed.
- Employee Organized Social Club - With a provided budget for team excursions and activities.
- Group Life Insurance - With Fidelity Health.
- Annual Health Checks and Flu Vaccines - For all staff, to promote healthy living.
- EAP Program - Free and confidential counselling service for all members of staff and their families.
- Corporate Gym/Yoga memberships - To keep us moving!
- Free eye tests and discounted physio - With our friends at Specsavers and the Physio Institute.
- Discount at our local cafes - PC Eatery and Pom's.
- Smoking cessation support - Pretty self explanatory!
- Free event tickets - Rugby, netball and other sponsorship partners.
- A Pic's EPIRB - So no one goes missing in the wild.
- Technology enabled staff feedback portal - An opportunity for all peanut butter makers to give timely two-way feedback without waiting for an annual staff survey.
- Free Peanut Butter - No surprises there.
Last year we donated $152,804 and 8,470 jars of peanut butter.
Whether it’s a school wanting to feed their tamariki every morning, a knitting club hosting a raffle, or an organisation doing really good things, we like to give for good.
Pic’s supports UKHarvest, KiwiHarvest and OzHarvest, who reduce the negative impacts of food waste on our environment by redistributing food; helping to create lasting positive social change by nourishing those in need.