We love fresh milk, not fresh plastic.
When we launched our milk just five years ago, we set out to deliver it the way it should be. As simple, natural and delicious as it could be. No permeate, no palm kernel expeller.
Now, we’re the biggest selling organic milk brand in the country and our flavoured milks are market leading too. But with success comes responsibility.
So, five years on we are pleased to say that our next important milk announcement is not about what’s inside our bottles, but about the bottles themselves.
We, like you, are only too aware that plastic recycling is a huge issue. One that we all need to tackle.
We are signed up for sustainability.
For our part, we are proud to be the first milk producer to sign the New Zealand Packaging Declaration, committing to 100% of our packaging being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025 or earlier.
And as our first act on this mission, we are making sure that there is no new plastic created for our 750ml & 1.5L white milk & flavoured milk bottles.
Now, these milk bottles are all made from something that has the catchy name of rPET.
This means that they are made from 100% recycled plastic, and can keep being recycled.
As our milk bottles make up the largest proportion of our packaging, this switch is a huge step forward in a journey towards more sustainable packaging across our range.
And great news, our new rPET bottles have picked up not one, but two gold awards at trans-Tasman 2019 Packaging Innovation and Design Awards. In the Beverage and Sustainability (Circular Economy) categories.
The future isn’t clear, but it’s a start.
As our milk bottles go greener, you may also notice a slight opaque look to the range. This change in colour is simply down to the fact that we are using recycled plastics and we’ll wear our new opaque look with pride.
However, what is still very clear is that our new rPET bottles are just the beginning.
We’ve looked at glass, plastic, Tetra Pak, and plant-based containers and will keep searching for the better options. We’ve talked to our partners, our distributors, everyone affected because, like you, we are keen to avoid adding to the plastic mountain.
Surely glass is the go?
We know what you are saying, and we are seriously looking to use glass bottles where we can. It has long been our dream to reinstate the classic glass milk bottle to Kiwi fridges. In fact, we wanted to do it from day one. But it has been problematic with many of our producers and bottlers and so expensive that it wasn’t even viable. But we are determined to keep pushing for glass and confident that we can supply milk in glass soon, in limited, specialist runs at least.
In the meantime, we think rPET is a great step forward and a first for bottled milks.
It’s a great solution but not the only solution.
Thanks for your help. Again. And again.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement as we embark on this journey of sustainable packaging across our range. With your help, we’ll continue to make change, for good.
Of course, our packaging ambitions rely on all of us rinsing and putting our empties in the right recycling bins, but we are all starting to get a lot better at this.
For more information on how we can all make the right recycling decisions, click here.
Keep an eye out for our new milk bottles in your supermarket now. You’ll enjoy delicious, fresh milk, without a hint of new plastic.
And that’s as it should be.
Our new bottles…
Are made from 100% recycled plastic (rPET). The caps are made from HDPE which is recycle level 2 making the entire bottle + cap 100% recyclable. Our bottle supplier, Alto, is not able to offer recycled HDPE material at this time however we are continuing to look at options with them.
Our Commitment to Corporate, Environment, Social & Employee responsibilities
Waka Huia are treasure containers which stored a person's most prized personal possessions, such as the tail feathers of the huia (hence waka huia),for decorating and dressing the hair and other items of personal adornment. Waka huia were imbued with the tapu (taboo) of their owners because the boxes contained personal items that regularly came into contact with the body, particularly the head (the most tapu part of the body).
Mindful of the importance of antecedents, we looked to find a waka huia that could begin its journey with us. And as great good luck and the support of Te Puia, the national carving school, would have it, we found Clive Fugill. Clive had just finished this waka huia and it had immediately been put into an exhibition of carvings touring museums in the United States. Now it has come home to our place, our wharenui.
About Clive Ernest Fugill
(Ngāi Te Rangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Tainui, Ngāti Rangiwewehi)
Clive Fugill was born in 1949, of both Tainui and Ngati Ranginui tribal affiliation. Mr Fugill was one of seven successful applicants for the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute’s first intake for a three-year carver training course under the watchful eye of the late Master Carver, Hone Taiapa.
With the passing of Mr Taiapa, the Institute promoted Clive to the position of Master Carver.
The NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute is now known as Te Puia, but over the years Mr Fugill has passed on his knowledge and taught many young Maori. Mr Fugill has worked on over a dozen meeting houses, supervising the carving on at least six. He has travelled widely to Japan, New Guinea, Hawaii, Nova Scotia, United States and Thailand demonstrating his art. He has completed carvings for Royalty and Heads of States. He has done carved works for many embassies around the world. Clive Fugill is himself, a national taonga.
It’s home. We love it. And we want to more than look after it. We want to be part of making it prosperous.
Dairy is the life blood of our national economy. But it is not without its challenges. We are aware that diary has attracted detractors for the impact on the waterways. So we try to be part of the solution.
This is why we concentrate on producing quality over quantity. We believe that this causes less stress on the environment and the animals, and of course leads to a better tasting product.
And we take direct action. We are vocal opponents of PKE imports and believe in grass fed, free range dairy.
When we choose our suppliers we look for the best environmental, governance and social record. And we don’t just set and forget, we monitor these relationships regularly. Our packaging is entirely recyclable and we are constantly looking for new ways to further reduce wastage.
And we are helping to clean up waterways with our support of Million Meters Streams Project, a visionary organization that is devoted to native planting across the country to help protect our streams and rivers.
We couldn’t do it without you. But we don’t just want to sell you something.
We love the community of like-minded people who also appreciate products that are the best they can be.
So as we said, open-ness is a mantra. We like to let you all know what we’re up to, constantly. Even when we haven’t got something spot on.
Much of this happens on our Facebook page where we can keep you all fully informed, entertained and indulged.
Everyone says ‘our people are the best’. But that can’t be right, because ours’ are definitely the best.
We are a small team that has to box well above our weight in our fight to make premium, natural and sustainable products more accessible to everyone.
Because of the way we work, which sees us create our own products before outsourcing and monitoring the production, we have to be nimble, artful, multi-taskers.
To us, tending to the work environment is as important as looking after the natural environment.
So we place great importance on creating the best possible, most enjoyable working conditions.
We have many significant partnerships, including Southern Pastures and Westland Milk Products.
Together we have a shared vision for producing the finest products, to the highest standards, in the most sustainable way.
This sort of fundamental meeting of the minds is rare to find in business, which is why these relationships definitely live in our treasure box.
The way we do business is, of course, everything. So we are committed to acting responsibly, ethically, legally and with the best possible governance.
And we love good manners. So thank you for taking the time to discover more about what is important to us. If your interested, the following pages explain our commitments and beliefs in more detail. This is a living document and as we grow and learn, so too will our view become better informed and more wide reaching. We have no doubt that on occasion, we’ll slip up, it’s only human, but we think by articulating our beliefs we’ll be ever more careful of protecting them. Treasures are worth it, aren’t they.
You can view our full corporate, environment, social and employee responsibility commitment here.
Lewis Road Creamery was created with a vision to demonstrate that New Zealand’s future as a dairy producer lies not just in commodities, shipped off-shore for others to add value but in creating valuable branded products that have high consumer appeal and reflect the best that New Zealand has to offer. From our inception, we have believed that the New Zealand consumer should be able to access the best we can produce and if our products pass their discerning standards, the world’s consumers will be attracted to our products too.
To represent New Zealand on the world stage is a lofty ambition and we need to match that ambition to the resources we have. But from the get-go, we have believed that success comes not just from what we produce but how we produce it.
As we have grown from a company of one and a half employees and a factory that consisted of a converted chilled shipping container to a moderately sized business with around twenty employees, and now an cornerstone investment by Southern Pastures, we felt it was time to codify our Corporate, Environmental and Social commitments.
We are just five years old and until recently, we have had to manage with somewhat limited resources. We have largely been funded by the personal and fairly modest means of the founder and our very real concern was to be able to compete in a business environment where we are surrounded by giants. Lofty goals are of little use if we cannot trade successfully.
But there’s the wonderful opportunity. From day one, we have been very mindful of the huge role our customers, both our shoppers and the shop keepers, play in our success. We owe it to them to do the best we can with our approach to our corporate behaviour, the environment, our customers, the wider social community and of course our employees. So we see a virtuous circle that is good for everyone .
We are the first to admit that these commitments are modest. But they reflect our stage of development, our resources and our business structure. And as is the nature of commitments, we envisage these developing as our business develops. The nature of constant improvement is that our job will never be done. We will find new ways to improve and new areas to improve upon. We will remain committed to profitable growth but growth we can be proud of in terms of absolute success certainly but equally, how we have achieved it.
At this stage of the company’s growth, we see these responsibilities as being those of any liked sized business. Our Board, management team and employees are professional, competent and self-driven. They believe entirely in what we are trying to do and are committed to doing it in a way that makes them proud participators. From day one, we have said that we don’t like secrets and our doors are always open. We welcome scrutiny.
- Lewis Road Creamery is an entirely New Zealand owned company. We have two significant partnerships as a result of our cornerstone investor, Southern Pastures. Southern Pastures are New Zealand’s largest farming fund, with a deeply held conviction and investment in sustainable farming practices. That commitment is outlined in their own ESG policy (attached).
- Our newest partner is Westland Milk Products, who are similarly committed to sustainability. Their values are contained in this link https://www.westland.co.nz/eng/sustainability/
- Board structure. We are committed to good governance with a Board structure that comprises four members, two from the existing shareholder group (including the founder as Chair), the Executive Chair of Southern Pasture and an independent director with relevant industry experience. The Board meets between four and six times a year. The Board has oversight of major transactions/decisions as well as offering sound counsel to the management team
- The Management team is of course always evolving. We are firm believers in quality not quantity and hire accordingly. We have highly skilled senior executives responsible for products/brand, sales, operations and finance.
- We retain Baker Tilly to prepare our statutory accounts and act as our tax agents to ensure best practice and transparency. Our accounts are prepared to IFIR standards.
- We are independently audited by KPMG.
- We retain the services of Chapman Tripp and Kensington Swan to provide advice as required. We also use additional legal sources for specialist advice such as employment.
- BNZ is our major banking partner.
- We are committed to working responsibly and at all times legally. While we choose to be adventurous in terms of what we produce and in our search for ever better management practices, we are conservative with our financial management and tax policy
Lewis Road Creamery is a producer of high value high quality food and drinks products, primarily in the dairy sector. From almost our inception (after we outgrew our shipping container) we have adapted a business model attributed to the founder of Acer Computers. We see our future and indeed the future for New Zealand businesses on the world stage, not as manufacturers with bricks and mortar, but as developers of new and/or better products, beautifully designed and then sold and marketed. We can’t of course take credit for the model but we only have to look to Apple to see we’re on the right track.
Our office, which is the entirety of our formal structure, is based in a heritage building in downtown Auckland.
Unlike any other office, we chose to build ours as a grand farmhouse kitchen. Something between a kitchen and office.
Every product we develop starts in the kitchen. It keeps us grounded and the products, necessarily (elegantly) simple. Once we have developed the products and written specifications for them, we then select manufacturing partners who we feel are best suited to produce what we need and in a way that reflects our standards. We are very aware that diary has attracted its share of detractors for its impact on the land and waterways. We feel strongly about the correct farming methods from animal husbandry, to feedstock (we are vocal supporters for stopping PKE imports) to the bigger questions of just how much dairying the country can handle. To us, the drive to quality of quantity is not only economically common sense but it is environmentally common sense. In our view, less is more. A smaller national dairy foot print and better farming practices producing higher quality milk.
Our Partners share our belief in
- grass-fed, free range dairy, GMO and PKE free.
- Our milks are either organic or premium non-organic depending on what products and usage they are destined for.
- Our labelling is designed to be clear, simple and accurate. We strive for ‘clean label’ products.
- Our ingredients are kept to a minimum to achieve a balance between taste and wholesomeness.
- We choose manufacturing partners first and foremost for their ability to produce the best products. Happily, in our experience, manufacturers who are committed to quality are usually equally committed to high environmental standards. Where we have a choice of approximate equals, we will choose the manufacturer with the best environmental, social and governance record.
- All other suppliers, from packaging to distribution are chosen on the same criteria. They must be excellent at their jobs and environmental, social and governance standards are part and parcel of that assessment.
- Our suppliers are regularly monitored and encouraged to supply us with proof of their adherence to the high standards we expect.
- While our direct environmental footprint is tiny, we recognise that we have a role in demonstrating what companies can do to help protect the environment. We are supporters of the Million Metres Streams initiative, which is committed to cleaning up our waterways. We think this is an excellent partner for us. https://millionmetres.org.nz
Our Packaging is entirely recyclable and we are constantly looking for ways to minimise wastage
- Our direct energy usage is minimal but we are mindful of the need to consider new ways to reduce usage. This comes from such practices as low energy lighting where practical, timed use of air conditioning.
- Recycling. We are committed to rubbish recycling and paper use is both kept to a minimum and what paper that is used is returned for recycling.