🌱 Donate, Don't Incinerate: Nine organisations your brand can partner with to redistribute surplus stock.

Featuring TALA, Fareshare, Pip & Nut, Donate4Refugees and more...

Happy Friday!

This week we cover:

  • How gymwear brand TALA is showing the world that scale can be sustainable.

  • The nine organisations helping your brand redistribute their surplus stock, to the people who need it the most.

  • In case you missed it: An interview with Anne-Charlotte, Head of Partnerships and Special Projects at OLIO.

> Good News This Week

🎯 LEON announced their partnership with Too Good To Go, offering £3 LEON Surplus Bags across all of their 37 stores. 

🎯  Glebe Farm Foods Limited have claimed that their PureOaty has the lowest emissions in the oat drink market, beating Oatly, who they’re currently battling a court case with.

⭐️ McDonald’s is partnering with Terracycle’s reusable packaging service Loop for a coffee cup scheme throughout their stores. 

⭐️ All Market Brands, owner of Vita Coco, announced its decision to become a Public Benefit Corporation, evolving its business model to consider impact as critical to return on investment. It is one of the largest beverage companies to do so.

⚡️ Collectiv Food raised a $16 million Series A to connect food producers directly with kitchens. In competition with giants like Bidfood and Brakes, Collectiv Food claims to generate 50% less CO2 emissions than traditional supply methods. 

⚡️ WRAP's Courtauld Commitment, which has been singed by more than 90% of the UK's food retailers as well as major businesses across the food value chain, has been extended to 2030, with a new ambition to halve absolute emissions. Read more here.

> Click on each link to read more.

> Brand Spotlight

Meet TALA: the gym-wear brand showing the world that scale can be sustainable.

Athleisure is big business. By 2023, it’s predicted to be worth £6.7bn in the UK alone, and exciting brands like Gymshark have been making front-page-worthy profits. However, high demand for low prices most often mean environmentally damaging supply chains - all in the name of good profit margins. From slave labour to mass pollution, fast fashion, at scale, is a primary reason why the fashion industry produces 10% of all carbon emissions, and is the second largest water consumer in the world. Gymwear brand TALA, however, is showing the industry another way. Established to ‘disrupt the industry and demand change’, this is a thoroughly modern brand for a thoroughly modern audience. Brainchild of Instagram Influencer turned two-time CEO Grace Beverley, TALA is proving to be the ultimate Gen Z enterprise. What can brands learn from TALA’s success?

Beverley’s Instagram fame may have boosted TALA into an impressive launch (her first set of clothes in 2019 sold out in 20 minutes) but it’s sensitivity to the market that’s allowed it to flourish. Combining body-positivity with ethical working standards, Beverley has learned from others’ mistakes - mistakes Gen Z are well aware of. TALA’s considered approach to materials and waste is admirable. Not only do they use a dedicated product development team to find genuinely wearable fabrics from low-impact and recycled materials, they’ve integrated these materials into a circular system. Pointing to WRAP’s shocking statistic that £140 million of used clothing goes to landfill per year, TALA never sends products to landfill. Instead, they’re reused and rehomed (read more on this later). Combining these serious structural efforts with fun features, (using ‘plantable’ clothing tags) the brand is proving to be catnip for its young customer-base, translating into a huge £5.2 million revenue within a year.

TALA’s unique success would be impossible without their commitment to affordability. It’s a fundamental principle of business: to compete in any market, you have to compete on price. Speaking to the BBC, Beverley speaks of her pride in keeping to a sub-£35 price point, essential in providing a genuine alternative to fast fashion. This required careful consideration and, yes, some compromises. TALA’s clothes are made from 92% recycled materials rather than the 100% Beverley originally intended. Any more, and they would have out-priced their young customer base. There is a valuable lesson to be learned here: whatever you can do is better than doing nothing. 92% recycled materials is 92% better than nothing. If that last 8% is what it takes to make your product a viable option for your customers, that’s a price worth paying. 

Grace Beverley is an Influencer for a reason: she’s inspirational. It seems apt. Then, to give her the final word. Writing on her Instagram page, Beverley articulates the trials and rewards of sustainable clothing beautifully:

“It’s a whole different ball game being sustainable in terms of manufacturing and thinking about every single point in the supply chain with tiny profit margins compared, it’s definitely not easy. But if we - a 6 month old start up with $0 external investment and $0 marketing spend and only 3 full time employees - can do it, so can you. 50,000 orders and 250,000 units of stock says it all.”

Support TALA via their shop:


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> Quick Take

Make redistribution your resolution. Here’s how:

A recent report by WRAP revealed that in 2020, 92,000 tonnes of surplus food worth £280m was redistributed. Equivalent to 220 million meals, this was largely boosted by increased efforts during COVID-19 to prevent waste and feed vulnerable groups. Now, the focus is on continuing the momentum. 

This got us thinking. What if a brand wants to redistribute surplus stock, but doesn’t know where to start?

Food waste is an issue that we’ve discussed many times before on Following the Footprints. 7% of food grown in the UK never makes it to a plate (totalling £1 billion of goods going to waste), yet recent data shows that in some areas of the UK 28% of adults are struggling to access food. Every brand can do their bit, no matter what product or size. Pip & Nut have worked with Hackney Food Bank, Dash Water have partnered with The Felix Project, so what can your brand do?

Check out these food and drink focused redistribution experts:

  • The Company Shop Group - The UK’s leading re-distributor of surplus, delivering commercial, social and environmental impact along the way

  • Fareshare - FareShare works with the food industry to distribute surplus products to over 5,500 charities

  • In Kind Direct - In Kind Direct is a charity founded by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1996 to make it easy for companies to donate surplus stock to good causes

Redistribution doesn’t always have to mean donations. This week LEON announced their £3 LEON Surplus Bags in partnership with Too Good To Go, alongside 104,325 other businesses utilising the handy app to minimise their losses and increase their customer base. 

There’s a similar strategy taking root in fashion. With overstock, samples and used stock an all too common part of the fashion merchandising system, brands like TALA are exploring new paths to prevent waste. Last July, TALA partnered with Depop (the infamous second hand marketplace) to offer customers samples from pre-production, shoots and campaigns at a discounted price. With exclusive pieces and one-off samples also available during the drop, customers scrambled to get their hands on...surplus. 

If Depop isn’t the route you want to take, fancy donating? Here’s some ideas:

  • Dress for Success - A global not-for-profit organisation that empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

  • Donate4Refugees - Donate4Refugees proudly supports inspiring grassroots groups on-the-ground across Europe responding daily to refugee men, women and children’s’ most urgent needs

  • Smart Works - A UK charity that exists to give women the confidence they need to reach their full potential.

In 2015, France passed a law stipulating that any supermarket which refuses to donate food will be fined €10,000. Last year, France passed another landmark law stopping unsold goods from being thrown away - from hygiene products to cosmetics to electrical goods. A more unique redistribution chain than food, cosmetics and hygiene products are often the most valued by vulnerable groups.

Here are a few routes cosmetics and hygiene brands can take in lieu of a UK law:

  • Women’s Aid - A grassroots federation working together to provide life-saving services in England and build a future where domestic abuse is not tolerated.

  • Toiletries Amnesty - A social, ethical and environmental organisation working across the UK and abroad to relieve hygiene poverty and stop products from going to waste.

  • The Hygiene Bank - Supporting The Hygiene Bank is a simple way to help not just one organisation, but multiple grassroots initiatives across the UK tackling a wide range of issues from poverty to domestic abuse and disability.

Have more suggestions? Comment any resources below to share them with the Following the Footprints community. 

> In case you missed it

Food Waste Action Week: OLIO

Featuring Anne-Charlotte, Head of Partnerships and Special Projects

Read The Full Story

> Follow up with…

  1. Article: US Plastics Pact Unveils Plan to Achieve Circular Economy in US by 2025

  2. Course: Climate Solutions 101 - Project Drawdown

  3. Resource: Surplus Food Redistribution Resource Hub

  4. Event: Earth Overshoot Day: Tips on Making Your Business More Sustainable - Bread & Jam - Thursday 29th July 2021