Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance
As a business, and from our inception, we’re committed to a program of environmentally sustainable and ethical practices that provide a positive impact for our employees, communities, and the environment.
We’re continually adopting these practices throughout our business and communicate this internally, and externally to business partners, suppliers, customers and our stakeholders.
East Imperial’s vision is one of providing our end customers with exceptional drinking experiences, and as such, we work within a framework to enable this, whereas our daily decision making is centered around four key pillars;
We don’t shy away from the complex challenges facing the beverage industry. We believe it is our responsibility to minimise our environmental and social impact and support our people and communities.
So, in 2022, we are committing to exploring gaining Certified B Corporation status. This certification is for businesses that have the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. B Corps, as they’re known, are accelerating a global culture shift to redefine success in business and build a more inclusive and sustainable economy.
While the beverage industry supply chain can be complex, for us to be truly sustainable we need to take responsibility for our products and how they are made. We take this very seriously and we continue to improve transparency in all areas of our operations.
For us, ethical responsibility means any single person involved in the creation, or distribution of any East Imperial product is always treated with dignity and respect, has decent working hours, earns fair wages and enjoys safe working conditions.
We will only ever work with suppliers who conduct their business ethically, honestly and in compliance with all applicable laws, rules, regulations and industry standards.
It is our pledge that we will continue to create transparency across our value chain and work with suppliers to audit and identify improvement opportunities. We will do this through;
- Working with suppliers who have clear verifiable policies and commitment to responsible sourcing.
- Ensuring supplier sites are auditing using an internationally accredited program, such as SMETA audit.
We have a responsibility to the communities we operate within. To date, and from the outset New Zealand has been the focus of the majority of our community involvement, which includes;
- Trade Talent Development – identification of passionate and talented hospitality staff and supporting their development through East Imperial initiatives and ongoing support.
- Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron – three-year sponsorship of the Youth Sailing Development Programme – both female and male.
- Parnell Cricket Club – club sponsor supporting youth involvement and development.
- Auckland Grammar School – supporting youth involvement and development through cricket.
- Victoria Avenue Primary School – supporting fundraising initiatives within the community.
- Tania Dalton Foundation – supporting young New Zealand sportsmen and women, from all circumstances and stages of development, to unlock their talent and to enable them to be their best selves.
- North Harbour Marist Rugby Club – supporting grassroots sports fundraising activities.
- Te Rarawa Maori Representative Touch team – encourage sport participation and healthy lifestyle choices.
As the company evolves so will our involvement in the communities we are found in.
We also acknowledge that our products are alcohol-adjacent, so we have a responsibility to encourage moderation in drinking, and also to offer healthy and non-alcoholic options. These can already be found in the cocktail section of our websites, but furthermore, we’re committed to working with, and/or contributing to organisations such as Tim Etherington-Judge’s Healthy Hospo, whose mission is to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing of hospitality professionals around the world.
Ingredient sourcing, manufacturing, packaging and distribution all affect people, communities and environments. Our vision is to build a sustainable global beverage business, delivering ethically manufactured products with a minimal negative impact on the environment.
We are committed to creating products that are as sustainable as possible without compromise. We remain committed to our journey to continue to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and operational waste through;
- Evaluating all operational decisions against the carbon footprint they create.
- Commitment to produce our products closer to our key markets.
- Optimise distribution networks and utilisation across our operations.
In no way have we arrived at our final destination, but we’ve already taken a number of positive decisions and steps to protect the environments we operate within. These include;
- We have never, nor do we plan to ever use PET bottles.
- We only use 100% recyclable cans and bottles.
- Our glass is made from a minimum of 35% recycled product (virgin glass is needed for product stability).
- Our 500ml bottle format means less waste for our customers.
- Reduction in packaging requirements for our direct to consumer orders and deliveries.
- We use no plastic in any of our primary packaging.
- Our cardboard packaging is 100% recyclable and we will continue to increase the proportion of recycled material across all our packaging solutions.
- All our products are currently bottled in Waimauku, New Zealand, and close to the local port to supply overseas markets.
- We offer kegged options to select key accounts, which eliminates glass bottle use all together.
- Through marketing communications, we encourage our customers to reuse our 150ml bottles – for example, these are used in pre-batched bottled cocktails, table displays, or for syrups by bartenders.
- Pre-COVID, East Imperial Gin Jubilee was one of Asia’s largest drinks activation. In 2018 we made a commitment to using no plastic cups or straws, instead, we gave every attendee a copper cup and bamboo straw to use throughout the event.
- Water conservation and quality are pivotal to the East Imperial brand story and as such we only source our water from springs that are sustainably managed.
In terms of suppliers and the environment, we have taken the following steps;
- Our suppliers comply with international standards for sustainability or environmental management, ISO: 14001:2015 – Environmental Standards, ISO 22000:2005 – Further Environmental Audit, FSSC: 22000.
- Our packaging suppliers obtain their raw materials from FSC certified sources (Forestry Stewardship Council).
- Our ingredients are predominantly from International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), and are all-natural and sourced by organisations with active sustainability programmes.
Our people and our team are our most important asset. We remain committed to attracting and retaining the very best people while ensuring a diverse, sustainable and high performing workforce.
We are committed to creating the next generation of leaders who will in turn support their own communities and help them thrive. As we grow our team we will also continue to provide them with the following;
- Opportunities for training and career progression.
- Personal development and continuous improvement.
- Financial reward based upon personal and company performance.
- Help in achieving the ideal work/life balance.
- Always provide them with a safe workplace where everyone is treated with respect.
We actively promote diversity within our team and wholly support equal opportunities in employment. We know that diversity can only be achieved through a team made up of differing backgrounds and perspectives and that this is the prerequisite to create a more dynamic and inclusive environment.
Truth is, we’re already an incredibly diverse bunch, from our operational team to our board of directors. We walk the walk and are staunch advocates of diversity that reflect the communities in which we operate.
Delivering on our commitment
As a business, we acknowledge there is still plenty of work still to be done. We’re well on our journey of adopting environmentally sustainable and ethical practices.
Here are some more immediate streams of work we are committed to completing in 2021;
- Development and implementation of the East Imperial Supplier Code of Conduct.
- Development and implementation of the East Imperial Responsible Sourcing Policy.
- Statement on Modern Slavery.
- Undertake a more substantial audit so as to understand our level of recyclable packaging across all suppliers, including that of our distribution partners in all regions.
- Confirmation or creation of a new partnership that supports environmental and community courses in New Zealand and further afield. Currently in consideration are reforestation of New Zealand native bush and fauna, and/or support of organisations protecting endangered species in East Africa and South-East Asia, such as The Lion’s Share Fund.
- Appointment of a US co-packer for US production planned for 2022.
- Quantify our carbon emissions by first measuring and mapping our footprint across our complete supply chain.
- Finalise our ESG roadmap and commit to targets that can be publicly tracked through our annual report.
- B Corporation – in-depth enquiry to determine if certification/membership is both suitable and attainable.
Suggestions and ideas
If you have a charity or cause that you would like to see supported, we would be happy to hear from you to discuss how we could partner together. Please leave a detailed message below and we will endeavour to reach out in due time.