Thinking outside the box: Gousto finds a recipe for protecting the planet and slashing carbon emissions
Sustainability is gaining importance worldwide, and more and more food and beverage industry leaders are incorporating planet- and climate-friendly initiatives into their long-term strategy. According to this 2022 Market Research.com report, enterprises large and small are seeking to reduce their environmental impact in four key ways: through sourcing and packaging choices, by producing more plant-forward products, and by reducing food waste in the supply chain.
Consumers understand that the food industry plays a critical role in climate change. Food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 930 million tons of food sold in 2019 ended up in waste bins, according to 2021 research by the United Nations. The production and transportation of livestock, crops, and food consumes 50 percent of the world’s arable land, and most of its fresh water. Reducing emissions associated with food production is an enormous challenge, but some companies are already making tremendous progress.
Gousto: All the right ingredients
Case in point: London-based food tech unicorn Gousto—a meal-kit subscription retailer driven by a purpose to have a positive impact on people and the planet. Last year, Gousto became a Certified B Corporation, joining a global community of businesses that meet strict sustainability standards. A recent study by environmental services company Foodsteps revealed that Gousto meals produce 23% less carbon emissions than equivalent meals from supermarkets.
According to the study, each Gousto order saves 2 kg of food waste and 7 kg of CO2 emissions compared to similar meals purchased at traditional stores. In 2021, shopping at Gousto saved 69,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions—the equivalent of removing 26,000 cars from UK roads for a year.
About that B Corp designation: you don’t get to claim it unless you meet exceedingly high standards of verified (“verified” being the operative word) performance, accountability, and transparency on factors ranging from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.
Gousto achieved this coveted designation while delivering more than 8 million meals per month, which is no small potatoes. And what meals they are! Recipes are creative and varied (how does Brazilian-Style Haddock Moqueca with Zesty Lime, or Sticky Tamarind Roasted Aubergine with Coconut sound?) and developed by passionate chefs who test each meal on friends and family (a very fortunate but picky bunch) before sharing it with the world.
Customers choose from more than 75 recipes every week, new options are added all the time, and meal kits are delivered right to customers’ doors. Gousto has made major investments in artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to be able to provide such choice to happy customers across the UK—all while significantly reducing carbon emissions.
Sustainable from the get-go
In fact, reducing waste has been a key goal for Gousto since its founding in 2012. By carefully planning and pre-proportioning its ingredients, Gousto is able to reduce food waste to nearly zero from its factories all the way to customers’ homes.
Gousto also tapped the Best for the World 2021 B Corp leading sustainable printer, Seacourt—whose factory is powered by 100% renewable energy and whose printing process is totally waterless and produces zero landfill waste—for its recipe cards. This means that even Gousto recipe cards have a positive impact on the environment.
Gousto also developed a whole new system for categorizing every ingredient in its factory—which allowed it to calculate box sizes more accurately, save space in delivery trucks, and reduce the number of trucks overall. But even as the company was expanding its definition of sustainability to include areas such as packaging, carbon emissions, and healthy outcomes, it was struggling to collect and manage the data needed to accurately measure its effectiveness.
Figuring out environmental impact is a data-driven process that can involve spreadsheets, consultants, and mind-numbing data gathering. Shockingly, the Gousto team thought it was more fun to create delicious recipes than stare at number-filled screens, so it went looking for a partner with expertise in driving real corporate impact in sustainability—and found Altruistiq.
Brilliant chefs meet sustainability management wizards
Altruistiq—whose audacious-sounding mission is to “help businesses do more of what is measurably good, and less of what is immeasurably wrong”—offers a sustainability impact management platform that helps companies like Gousto automate data measurement and management and identify smart impact reduction initiatives.
Built on AWS, Altruistiq’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution helps customers transition from navel-gazing measurements and static sustainability reports to a live dashboard and decision-making environment.
Building on a menu of great options
By leveraging three primary AWS functionalities (data security; flexible, region-based storage; and data scalability) Altruistiq integrates with customers’ key data systems, CRMs, ERPs, and others to automate raw data collection—which boils down to the delightful fact that the good people of Gousto no longer need to enter data manually. Once the data is uploaded, Altruistiq’s emissions calculation engine (yes, it’s as cool as it sounds) identifies specific areas of emissions across all three scopes of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
Cooking right along
You might think that team Gousto would be resting on its aprons now that it’s found Altruistiq and achieved B Corp status, but that’s not the case. “Becoming a B Corp was tough, but this is only the very start,” says Hugh Lewis, Head of Sustainability at Gousto. “We’re already implementing our plan for recertification in three years’ time. The B Corp application and verification is rigorous, helping to validate that we meet high environmental and social standards and are committed to growing in the right way for people and planet.”
You can find out more about how Altruistiq and AWS helped Gousto save money and improve efficiency while dramatically reducing carbon emissions and cutting food waste in this detailed case study. If you’re hungry and live in the UK, you can order a Gousto meal kit here.
Altruistiq is a truly unique sustainability impact management platform designed to help companies develop and improve sustainability initiatives. Altruistiq’s sustainability impact management platform helps companies to transition from retrospective measurement and static sustainability reports to a live dashboard and decision-making environment. The solution automates data measurement and management and identifies smart impact reduction initiatives at scale. Altruistiq enables customers to see how they’re tracking against their targets in real-time and evaluate which impact reduction levers to pull and when—optimizing cash flow whilst maintaining the integrity of your targets.