How Alara’s sustainability practices marry up with key UN SDGs

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Organic food pioneer Alara Wholefoods has spent over 30 years developing and implementing a sustainable food production system, from farm to shelf.

Underpinning this work is the company’s ‘Four Pillars of Sustainability” (based on environmental, economic, social and governance measures). At the same time, the company actively supports an equitable food system and accessibility to good food for all.

Alara says that as a result of this foundational work, many of its sustainability practices marry up with 10 key United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). 

SDG 2 Zero Hunger – During the pandemic Alara has sent out about 30,000 free meals, working with local (central London) food banks, including Food For All, London’s largest free meals provider. The company also recently acquired an e-cargo bike, enabling emissions-free distribution.

SDG 3 Good Health and Wellbeing – Alara was the first muesli manufacturing business and brand owner to completely avoid salt, sugar and fat in its branded products. 

SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation – Alara has developed a rainwater harvesting system at its King’s Cross factory, which provides water for crops growing in its on-site permaculture forest garden. 

SDG 4 Affordable and Clean Energy – Alara has installed 25KW-generating PV (photovoltaic) solar panels on site. It uses 100% renewable green energy, and its vehicle fleet is fully electric.

SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities – Alara has a long history of working closely with its local community, including playing a central role in developing the Camley Street Sustainability Zone and the Camley Street Neighbourhood Plan which has recently been adopted. 

SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and Production – As well as being a long-term champion of organic, Alara is also a fully vegan brand. Since a shift to plant-based foods is acknowledged as being an important contributor to climate change mitigation, this strengthens Alara’s role in promoting responsible consumption and production. 

SDG 13 Climate Action – In 2021 Alara launched its landmark Net Zero Food range, the first net zero cereal brand. The launch is the culmination of a long-term partnership with researchers at the University of Westminster and the charity Rainforest Saver, with whom Alara has worked closely with for the last eight years. 

SDG 14 Life Below Water – Alara was the first UK cereal company to switch to a home compostable plastic-free film for its product packs. The company’s plastic-free policy is helping to combat marine pollution. 

SDG 15 Life on Land – As well as being a long-term champion of organic agriculture, Alara has also created a showcase permaculture forest garden alongside its King’s Cross (London) factory with over eighty food crops.

SDH 17 Partnerships for the Goals – Alara regularly lobbies local and national  government on sustainability issues, while working closely with its local community. 

Image: Alara’s new Net Zero Food range, which founding director, Alex Smith, describes as “the culmination of 45 years’ work in organic and sustainable food production”.