big fish® received BCorp Certification in June 2023. Since then we have continued to improve our social and environmental impact and are committed to promoting sustainability and responsible business practices across all aspects of our operations.
We encourage and advise all our clients to replace ‘nature negative’ impact business practices with positive impact practices. (This includes but goes far beyond re-branding and redesigning packaging and manufacturing processes to eliminate use of non-sustainable materials).
Impact Report July 2023
Our key business ambition remains, in partnership with our clients, to attempt to help the drawdown of circa. 1 gigatonne of carbon by 2045 either directly or indirectly through the influence we have via our work. This target is hard to measure currently. However, this report showcases the achievements big fish® has had in the last year, and details the key initiatives we are putting in place as we relentlessly pursue better.
big fish® has actively supported its clients in adopting sustainable practices and achieving their sustainability goals. We have made some direct and indirect impacts through our work as advisors and executors of their brand, design and marketing strategies.
We also actively investigate new and innovative packaging solutions for our clients that seek to eliminate non-sustainable packaging wherever possible (e.g. we are currently investigating seaweed packaging to replace single use plastics and traditional paper and board in food and drink packaging partnering with Notpla).
Key impacts over the last twelve months include:
- Bambino Mio – campaigning to replace disposable nappies with reusable nappies to combat the problem of 2 billion nappies going to landfill every year.
- Picnic – designing and developing a range of 2,000 grocery products for this European direct to consumer, electric vehicle, no stores retailer to help democratise better quality, lower impact food. The key aim is to ensure no one feels like a second class citizen just because they can only afford budget groceries.
- Howdah – co-investing, advising and executing a strategy to help serve school meals to children in need in India. In the last 365 days over 1 million meals were served as a result of Howdah snacks being sold using the mechanic “give back as you snack” which means 1 pack = 1 school meal for a child in India.
- Oasthouse – big fish® is assisting Oasthouse in transitioning from water and pesticide-intensive vine fruit farming to sustainable greenhouse cultivation in the USA. Our support includes help with developing their investor narrative for raising capital to build new infrastructure. The key sustainable goal being to replace 2,500 hectares of unsustainable vine fruit production in regions like Mexico and California. This shift will alleviate the strain on natural resources, allowing for land restoration, reduced pesticide use, and lower water consumption. Additionally, it will minimise the need for transporting tens of thousands of tonnes of produce over long distances, benefiting North American consumers.
- Ivy’s Reserve – We have developed a brand for the UK’s first carbon neutral cheese, which is being sold globally and growing exponentially as a result of our efforts..
- GrowUp – Over the last year we have helped this vertical farm business with their strategy and marketing aiming to displace water and pesticide intensive farming, and gain a listing in national retailers. This will positively impact both the environment and people’s health.
- B Corps: We encourage our clients to become BCorps, including offering help to work through their assessment process. We actively seek to work with BCorps and many of our clients are certified as B Corps, including Charlie Bigham, St.Eval, Hilltop Honey and Ecotone which is Europe’s largest BCorp in the food industry.
1b. Carbon Footprint Reduction:
We have promoted the adoption of best practices in our outreach via LinkedIn and in person, including attending conferences and networking events in the food industry. Our Founder and Chief Stoker, Perry Haydn Taylor, is an active campaigner on social media (Linked In, podcasts etc ) and at industry events, actively promoting forward thinking and brave strategic action by companies in the food, drink and lifestyle industry to reduce greenhouse emissions and engage in cradle-to- cradle principles for material reuse.
Throughout our day-to-day dealings with our clients we encourage them to implement energy-efficient and environmentally sound solutions, particularly in the areas of food production and packaging. Although we are unable to measure precisely what direct or indirect impact this has had, we are confident that we have made a significant difference through both influence and design.
We continue to advise our clients to reduce, reuse and recycle throughout their operations in our capacity as strategic consultants. We have helped Bambino Mio in particular lobby against disposable nappies and produced a rebrand and campaign that is focussed on driving policy change as well as changes in consumer behaviours. https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7081161529194115072/
Our Founder has also kick started a collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on helping them kickstart and promote their Great Food Redesign Challenge. This Challenge aims to fundamentally change the way food is produced, with the sole intention of transitioning large scale players to nature positive models.
1c. Sustainable Supply Chain: big fish® has also collaborated with prospective and existing clients to help them assess and improve their supply chain sustainability. This has led to us establishing a new advisory firm which we are incubating out of big fish® as a new consultancy called IFYDA which stands for If You Don’t Ask. This will improve our ability to target and influence investors, innovators and policy makers in transitioning their businesses from nature negative to nature positive..
- Suppliers: big fish® recognises the importance of engaging with sustainable suppliers and driving positive change throughout the value chain. We have adopted a formal local supplier preference policy, sourcing consumables, food, etc as locally as possible. We also favour B Corp suppliers including Red Box (stationery), Who Gives a Crap (toilet paper),
2a. Supplier Code of Conduct: big fish® has implemented a comprehensive Supplier Code of Conduct, ensuring that suppliers adhere to ethical and sustainable practices. As a result, we have introduced a form that significant suppliers must fill here on our website.
2b. Supplier Audits: we ask suppliers to ensure they live up to the required environmental and social standards by asking them to re-complete our online form every three years.
We recognise our employees as key stakeholders and actively foster a sustainable work environment.
3a. Work-Life Balance: We promote a good work-life balance and flexible work arrangements which we believe will improve overall job satisfaction and foster good mental and physical health. Many of our staff work shorter weeks or hours. We have chosen a blended home/office working arrangement post-Covid to foster co-working, learning from others and support for colleagues, whilst retaining flexibility for those who wish to work from home where appropriate.
In addition, we have increased our holiday allowance by 5 days to 29 days per year plus bank holidays by adopting a big fish summer holiday (trialled last year) which gives all staff a week off at the same time every summer.
- Waste Management at big fish: When we measured our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in 2021 we established the key areas in which we needed to improve our (already low) emissions were in waste management (principally food and stationery). We have revised and improved all our waste reduction strategies, in particular to almost eliminate food waste through better purchasing and storage strategies, re-use of leftovers and arranging for any non-consumable food waste to be collected for composting. Any edible food left over from client photoshoots or our activities is donated to City Harvest, a London charity we partner with that feeds homeless and vulnerable people in our community.
As a design studio we cannot entirely eliminate the use of paper but we have invested in software, research and training focused on improving our ability to present to clients online rather than physically “mocking-up” designed packaging. We developed an online process of exhibiting our designs in 3-D in real life situations (on vans, on supermarket shelves, showrooms and in the home).
We have meanwhile improved our reducing and reusing of stationery particularly paper, and wherever possible now use recycled printer paper.
Big Fish is committed to supporting charitable organisations that align with its sustainability values or has a positive social impact..
- Volunteer Engagement: Big Fish employees actively participate in volunteer activities. Each employee is given a paid day a year to donate to the good cause or charity of their choice. In the last twelve months staff have volunteered (over 500 hours) for a variety of causes including: the Samaritans, Luminary Bakery, City Harvest, Help the Aged and helped in schools, prisons and cleaning Brighton Beach.
Within the company we have held events raising money for and promoting charitable causes close to the hearts of particular employees, including breast cancer research charities and Save the Children.
Over 50% of our designers also volunteer as mentors with D&AD Shift – a free industry led night school for self-taught creatives entering the creative industry from outside traditional pathways, encouraging diversity within our field. The studio staff of all disciplines also run quarterly “Portfolio Deep Dive” sessions where they offer free advice on zoom to anyone who is trying to break into the creative industry, particularly the young and disadvantaged who have not had the opportunity of formal training.
Working with the charity Spark! we offer short placements to such people, including school children, who wish to see first hand how it is to work in the creative industry – 4 placements in the last 12 months. And we offer month-long internships to those who show particular interest and talent.
- Partnerships: Big Fish has formed long-term partnerships with select charities, providing ongoing support and resources. In particular,
Tree Sisters: every year we donate 10,00 trees to this charity which restores tropical rainforests through community planting projects empowering women and local indigenous communities.
City Harvest edible food left over from client photoshoots etc is donated to this local charity which feeds homeless and vulnerable people in our community. We also donate a monthly shop to the charity. (In the last 12 months we have donated 1.54 tonnes of food which translates to 3,688 meals delivered.)
Big Fish’s commitment to sustainability and positive social impact has resulted in significant impacts across its clients, suppliers, staff, and charities. By reducing carbon footprints, promoting sustainable practices, fostering employee engagement, and supporting charitable organisations, Big Fish has demonstrated its dedication to creating a more sustainable future. These achievements highlight the positive outcomes that can be achieved through responsible business practices and inspiring others to embrace sustainability.
That said, we recognise that there’s a lot more to do and the more we can measure the tangible impact of our work the more able we are to encourage others to do the same.