On a Roll: Naked Sprout’s 2023 in Review

It’s been a whirlwind of a year here at Naked Sprout! With 2023 almost out the door, we thought we’d use our last blog of the year to take stock and look ahead. Here’s a round-up of our year.

More Deliveries - Ocado and Milk & More

Home delivery has always been at the heart of what we do. It guides the size of our boxes, the design of our products, and it’s factored into the way we understand our impact.

We have a natural affinity with Ocado, the world’s largest online grocer, who use the scale of their network to shift the dial towards more sustainable shopping. We were delighted to bring our products to their store early in the year, making our sustainable tissue products much more widely available.

And as of October 2023, we have even more ways of reaching you, thanks to our partnership with Milk & More. It’s great to see the once-familiar sight of the milk float back on UK roads courtesy of their friendly, personal service, and we couldn’t be more proud to be along for the ride!

Introducing Recycled

We founded Naked Sprout with a simple goal - to manufacture the best tissue products with the lowest impact. We got off to a strong start with our bamboo tissue, but we didn’t want to stop there.

In 2022, we designed and developed a recycled roll that was made the Naked Sprout way, utilising an under-exploited resource: the glut of waste cardboard delivery boxes and kraft paper that has risen so dramatically since the pandemic. In April 2023, our new product was ready to launch - the UK’s first unbleached, recycled toilet rolls.

At first we offered our new recycled rolls in boxes of 24 rolls. The feedback was so good that we quickly put 48 roll boxes into production as well, perfect for stocking up.

Top of the Class with Ethical Consumer 

It’s one thing for us to say that we’re the most sustainable toilet rolls in the UK; it’s far better to hear it from one of the most respected voices for ethical purchasing in the UK!

The Ethical Consumer, producing high-quality research and journalism since 1988, reviewed our processes for an in-depth analysis of the current UK market for eco toilet rolls. Published in May, their score table of 19 brands surveyed placed us at the top! As a relatively new company, we are truly proud to have gained their seal of approval for the work we are doing to bring about real change in our sector. 

This Morning and The BBC

We had more reasons to celebrate at the end of May, when we were featured in round-ups of eco toilet rolls on This Morning and The BBC’s Shop Well For the Planet. Once again, we performed well! We were especially pleased to hear longtime consumer champion Alice Beer, pointing out that we don’t offset because we don’t have to. It’s true!

Some more in-depth discussion of our processes came courtesy of Radio 4’s Sliced Bread. Their team put together some really brilliant research double-checking the claims made in the field of sustainable tissue. We regularly grapple with greenwashing ourselves, so we were really glad to be able to help their team understand our processes, and the final show provides a nuanced discussion of the current state of play in this sector. You can listen here.

Tweaks to our Products

Being sustainable is not a one-time thing. We are always looking out for ways we can change our processes to reduce the impact of our toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, and tissues. 

In July 2023 we made some changes to improve the look, feel, and most importantly the impact of Naked Sprout. The changes include more compact inner tubes, redesigned boxes, deeper embossing, and an adhesive made from pine sap, a by-product of responsible forestry. All of the changes (apart from the embossing!) make a difference to our climate footprint. 

Lucky thing too, because during the summer we were knee-deep in calculations…

Climate labelling

We’ve always known it’s not good enough to just make claims about how sustainable or environmentally friendly we are; we have to be prepared to prove it. Partly this is so our customers know we are being honest and transparent with them, and partly it’s to change the norms in our industry towards more honesty and transparency by all manufacturers.

Throughout 2023, we’ve been undertaking painstaking calculations of our total climate footprint, taking into account everything from the growth and supply of our raw materials, to delivery to your doorstep. Our final numbers bear out our claims - our emissions are at least 50% lower than other eco alternatives.

Now that we have the numbers, we want everyone to see them. In November, we announced that Naked Sprout will be the first toilet roll in the world with climate labelling, with our full CO2e footprint printed on our boxes from the new year. 

Giving Back

Toilet rolls are an everyday essential, but they’re easily overlooked. In fact, toilet rolls and hygiene items are among the most needed, least-donated products for food banks. We’ve always made donations to these organisations wherever possible, but through 2023, our logistics team has been putting together a system so that any dead stock and returns from our warehouse can be redirected to the fantastic Trussell Trust for distribution for homes that need them.

Our first large donation came in September, a collaboration between Naked Sprout, The Trussell Trust Brentwood, and D. Perfect and Sons (who hauled our boxes from the Midlands to Essex for free!) The footage of a whole team of wonderful volunteers bringing Naked Sprout to their centre was truly one of the highlights of the year.

We are also looking at other ways of giving back. We’re one of 21 B Corps based in Brighton and we love our city. One of the best ways we can invest in its future is by improving access to clean transportation, so we are sponsoring our own David, who looks after our larger orders, to volunteer with Brighton Bike Hub. This award-winning social enterprise repairs and refurbishes bikes at low cost for anyone who needs them. Dave still hasn’t mastered the finer points of gear calibration but he’s getting there!

A Big Thank You

Forget the calling birds and French hens; we need to tip our hat to the hauliers, scientists, journalists, delivery drivers, and volunteers who have been part of our story this year. 

The biggest thanks goes to our wonderful customers. We wish you a very merry and bright festive season, however you’re ringing in the end of the year. We can’t wait to see how things unroll for us in 2024!

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