"So, we looked into other industries. As far as we’re aware, no one is supplying juice in kegs, but it’s normal to supply beer this way. So we thought: ‘It could be a game changer for juice too’.”
The switch to providing its pressed juice from local fruit in kegs to hotels is another step on the Nelson-based company’s sustainability journey. It’s seen Chia Sisters win multiple accolades for sustainable business practice and become B Corp certified.
B Corp Certification is a designation that shows a business is meeting rigorous standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency, with Chia Sisters achieving the top five per cent of all B-Corps certified globally.
Chia Sisters started as a concept 10 years ago, when Chloe Van Dyke, a neuroscientist and medical herbalist, began her research to create the best drink for long-lasting natural energy and hydration.
After two years of research and testing, in collaboration with Callaghan Innovation, the well-known chia superfood drink was born, and sister Florence joined Chloe in the venture. Since then, the range has extended into tonics, superfood smoothies, a pressed juice and sparkling range.
Kiwibank Head of Sustainable Finance, Tom Williams, who's also based in Nelson, says he first became aware of Chia Sisters when he started seeing the brand’s drinks in supermarkets, health food stores and cafes. Then he started hearing about their strong sustainability story and concluded they would be a good match for Kiwibank.
“There's already a natural alignment between us. Kiwibank is a B Corp and purpose-led business too,” he says.
He also saw the business as having a lower risk profile because of its focus on sustainability. “More often than not, businesses that put a lot of focus on sustainability will see that show up in their strategy and reduction in risk.”
He respects the impressive business leadership shown by the Van Dyke co-founders, and their innovative and relentless approach to sustainability.