Being Green & Social Responsibility

Being Green

In a real sense we derive our name from this mantra and the word nature itself : Nature's company -viz Natco

Food is one of the three sources of life and nurturing the environment sustains us all. A healthy and satisfying lifestyle cannot be achieved at the individual level only; it must be part of a wider community ambition.

Natco Foods is proud to be a pioneer in the natural foods business and united with our longstanding passion for and expertise in wholefoods, is our commitment to environmentally aware policies.

We focus on the provenance of our products, many of which are organic and fair trade, and we work to support the communities where we purchase from in this endeavour.

We have set our sights on continuously improving our sourcing, our production and our delivery of quality natural, healthy wholefoods to our valued customers. Fundamental to this goal is the reduction of our carbon footprint. Whilst many have stated aspirations, we have translated these into deeds as below.

CSR Statement

For Natco Foods Ltd, contributing positively to sustainable human flourishing in societies across the globe is not just a fortunate side effect of operating a profitable business but is instead the primary purpose of its existence. Natco’s core business is the sourcing, processing and distributing of foodstuffs from around the world to consumers primarily in the UK. We recognise we have responsibilities to stakeholders at each stage of the supply chain, from the farm, through the factory to the kitchen. Natco also donates very substantial proportions of its profits to charities in order to spread the benefits of its success to people not directly touched by its business operations but nonetheless sharing the same planet and humanity.

Ethical Policy & Code of Conduct

At Natco Foods, we abide by the philosophy of developing long-term partnerships with the suppliers who share our values and are prepared to commit themselves to our Code of Conduct for Ethical Trade which is consistent with internationally agreed conventions on workers’ rights and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code.

Applying the Code to the local circumstances takes time and requires sensitivity and understanding. Our desire is to see the Code adopted as a minimum standard and suppliers’ performance improving continuously. In addition, the code also encompasses a declaration of our intention to do business on fair terms, to operate transparently and to support suppliers to work beyond our code.

Click here to view our Code of Conduct for Ethical Trade.

Inside Look

NATCO SCOPE is taking a wide-angle lens to capture a holistic approach to healthy lifestyles and eco consciousness.

Drive Green

Goodbye BMW, Hello Hybrid !!

The company has replaced its entire fleet of Salesperson vehicles with hybrid cars: reducing our emissions.

Our teams crisscross the country as ambassadors for healthy eating and healthy environments. We believe we may be the only food company in Europe to have taken this step.

Landscape Green

Flower Power

Nestled in the Buckinghamshire countryside, the Natco home sits on eleven acres of farmland that we recently restored to wild flower meadow, with perimeter planting of more than 930 new trees and shrubs.

We determined to plant only native flora making our workplace a haven for native species of birds and butterflies.

Light Green

Bright ideas

Here at Natco, we believe in bright new ideas. In a world of shared responsibilities, we believe new ideas are necessary for progress. So in 2010 we ecogised our lighting at our Buckingham premises saving enough energy to power your home until 2130. Our new LED bulbs are 88% more energy efficient than the old ones.

The energy saving per year equates to providing electricity to 300 typical three bedroom homes!!

In keeping with the 2010 Copenhagen Energy Summit and in terms of our carbon dioxide emissions, we are slicing 271 tonnes annually from our previous emissions of 293 tonnes per year. This means that lighting will contribute a cool 22 tonnes of CO2 only each year. On top of this our new LEDs have a life span of 80,000 hours, which means they won’t need replacing for more than 20 years!

Solar Installation

In 2013, Natco embarked upon the very exciting and ambitious project of installing a 250KW solar panel project. At our factory, in the heart of the Buckinghamshire countryside, our roof is now home to more than 1,000 solar panels.

The energy from the sun is captured and converted into electricity which powers our plant thereby reducing the electricity we draw from the grid and our consumption of fossil fuels.

The sheer size of this installation demonstrates Natco’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions. This is Natco’s latest project as we continue our green transformation.

Philanthropy

In 2012 Natco Foods donated over 95% of its profits to the Human Capability Foundation (HCF), a UK registered charity and Natco Foods will continue this support indefinitely. The Human Capability Foundation funds organisations in the UK and abroad that support the rights of vulnerable and marginalised groups. The HCF aims to empower marginalised people to organise collectively to transform inequitable and oppressive power structures to advance social justice and freedom.

Future Plans

  • Natco is committed to continuing to donate the majority of profits to charitable causes in 2014 and beyond.
  • We plan to involve employees in more discussions around the causes supported by Natco’s philanthropic endeavours.
  • Natco will seek ways to integrate further the goals of its philanthropy with its core business activities, including leveraging its relationships with suppliers to encourage they adopt CSR policies that actively promote our ethical imperatives.
  • We will explore ways of communicating our philanthropic activities to our customers.

Customers

Natco offers a wholesome range well-designed to enable consumers to cook healthy and affordable meals. Our core range of nuts, pulses, spices, flours and whole grains can form the basis of a balanced diet, offering flavour, fibre, complex carbohydrates and vegetable protein, less expensively and more environmentally sustainably than many other food products.

We have a formal process for dealing with customer queries and complaints, investigating and rectifying where appropriate. Our sales force also brings consumer feedback to the attention of the company management.

Future Improvements

  • We plan to reduce the frequency of customer complaints.
  • We aim to make more direct connections with the end consumers of our products in order to understand better their preferences and to spread the love of cooking to a multitude of diverse kitchens.

Employees

Natco Foods is committed to equal opportunities and a safe working environment. Internally and externally provided training is tailored to suit individual employees’ needs and aspirations. We believe people should be paid fairly for the work they do and so Natco does not participate in government programs that make entitlement to job-seeking benefits dependent on taking unpaid work. This year Natco will trial a new system wherein staff can anonymously appraise their managers’ performance.

Future Improvements

  • Natco aims to convert more agency workers into permanent employees.
  • Natco will monitor and aim to improve staff retention rates.
  • Natco will monitor and aim to increase the proportion of women in managerial positions.
  • Natco will organise staff committees to analyse issues concerning staff retention, job satisfaction, internal communications, skill upgrading, gender equity, equal opportunities and employee diversity. These committees will provide recommendations to the management.

Sourcing

Natco Foods purchases hundreds of agricultural commodities from all over the world. The vast majority of our range consists of natural ingredients with no artificial additives. We vet suppliers on a number of criteria, including traceability and food safety, insisting that no child labour be used in production. Where possible we visit suppliers to inspect facilities ourselves.

Suppliers of some of our most important products, such as chilli and turmeric, work directly with small farmers in India, helping them achieve a higher income from their crop by securing a premium for keeping their small farms free of prohibited pesticides. We have also joined the Sustainable Spice Initiative.

Depending on the risk assessment of each category of raw material, batches are tested independently by accredited laboratories prior to shipment to all the relevant microbiological and chemical standards. Further checks are conducted once we receive the material to ensure quality is maintained.

Future Improvements

  • We aim to visit more suppliers in person.
  • We will review agricultural trade and development research in order to formulate strategies to work with suppliers more proactively to improve the social and environmental impacts of our sourcing.
  • We will use our sourcing policies to encourage our suppliers to adopt better CSR policies, including around equal opportunities in the workplace to promote social equity around the world.

Manufacture

Food safety and the health and safety (H&S) of our employees are the twin imperatives that drive our manufacturing systems. Professionally accredited personnel risk-assess our operations to ensure H&S, documenting incidents to ensure we are able continuously to improve standards. Projects to alter existing or initiate new processes are designed with H&S foregrounded from the start, as we believe that H&S is not a burden but in fact helps make work processes more efficient and reliable, as well as more amenable to our employees.

We use HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) principles put into practice by professionally qualified staff to ensure food safety. All employees are trained for Level 2 food hygiene and any new staff are provided training within 3 months of joining. Our manufacturing I.T. systems guarantee forward and backward traceability of our products. Our purpose-built, award-winning factory in Buckingham has been audited independently to the British Retail Consortium’s Global Standard for Food Safety, most recently in December 2012 and again awarded the Grade A status. Additionally, our site is regularly audited by technically demanding blue-chip customers.

Environment

Natco is implementing Total Waste Management, and recycles waste materials where possible, including all cardboard and plastic shrink-wrap. Very little of our food products are wasted during production, storage or distribution. Waste foodstuffs are used for birdfeed when this is safe.

Better usage of plant capacity, better maintenance of machinery and the installation of energy-saving LED lights have reduced our energy consumption per case sold significantly. Electricity consumption at our main site reduced from 1.06kWh per case sold in 2010 to 0.92kWh in 2012. More info.

In 2013, Natco completed an installation of a 250kW array of solar panels on its main factory roof in Buckingham, to increase the proportion of renewable energy used and reduce our carbon footprint. More info

We have increased the fuel efficiency of our fleet of delivery vehicles and company cars. All new company cars are now using hybrid technology.

All our imports and exports use sea freight, which is far more energy efficient than air freight.

Future Improvements

  • LED lighting will continue to replace more energy intensive fittings throughout the business.
  • Improvements to our compressed air and steam boiler systems will increase energy and water efficiency. Planned recycling of warm air will reduce the amount of gas used to heat the factory.
  • We will investigate ways to improve the sustainability of our packaging materials.
  • We will investigate ways to work with suppliers to improve the environmental impact of their operations.