This month, we spoke with Florence and Chloe Van Dyke, co-founders of Chia Sisters, to talk about their all-natural drinks that saw them become New Zealand’s first solar-powered juicery
Welcome back to Better TLKS: A Swedish Sustainability Series. From our roots in Sweden to our over 100-year history of designing premium products that help people live better at home, this series spotlights leaders and pioneers in the sustainability space, much like us, to uncover their sustainability journey and help inspire you to live a more considered life.
Did you know that B Corp Certified businesses are 4.5 times more likely than ordinary businesses to use 100% renewable energy and 7.3 times more likely to be carbon-neutral?1 This month we’re speaking to Florence and Chloe Van Dyke, co-founders of Chia Sisters, an NZ based B Corp ranked among the top 5% of B Corps worldwide for their sustainability efforts.
In 2012, neuroscientist Chloe Van Dyke set out to create a natural drink that would give her athletic family long-lasting energy and hydration – through intensive research she discovered the power of chia seeds.
Shortly after the launch of the Chia Superfood Drink, an athlete herself, Florence joined her sister Chloe in her venture. Together, they sought to continue creating delicious, all-natural drinks that would support everyday health needs and leave a positive impact on the planet. And duly, the business became Chia Sisters.
1. Firstly, what was the inspiration behind creating Chia Sisters?
We come from a family of athletes, and we saw ‘energy’ drinks on the market that were full of sugar, caffeine and natural ingredients when we though that ‘energy’ should be about fuelling your body to be the best it can be. Our dad, a World Champion swimmer was using chia seeds to supplement his training. We blended them with local blackcurrants and the first Chia Sisters product was born.
2. Electrolux is a Swedish brand. What about Swedish cuisine or ways of living do you admire or feel inspired by?
Taking time to Fika - the delightful custom of enjoying a coffee and a treat with friends.
3. What is your approach to sustainability and how has changed over the past decade?
Sustainability is a core value for me personally. In the last 10 years I [Florence] have transitioned to work where I can live and breathe this value in what I do every day. That brings me a huge amount of energy and passion for my work.
Today, as well as playing a director and strategic role at Chia Sisters, I head up the Sustainability Team at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, supporting New Zealand exporters to prioritise sustainability, and sit on the Steer Co of Future Food Aotearoa; a founder-focussed group working to sustainably feed the Asia Pacific Rim in the generation to come.
4. What does living sustainably mean to you and how do you practice sustainability every day?
To me sustainable living is about having papatūānuku, the planet, at the decision-making table when I make choices whether that be air travel or what I have for dinner. There is no right answer, and our society is set up in a way that means that truly sustainable living is almost impossible. But we can make significant change by factoring sustainability into our decision making every day.
5. In your industry what are the biggest sustainability challenges?
The biggest sustainability challenges in the beverage industry are freight and single-use packaging. Aotearoa New Zealand is a small island on the edge of the world. We have eliminated air freight from our business which has cut out emissions significantly.
Beverage containers are the most polluted products in the world, and we aim to reduce our packaging footprint through bottling in recycled glass that is recyclable in New Zealand. We are also trialling selling our fresh pressed juices packaging free in reusable 50L kegs. Once they are dispensed at cafes, bars, hotels and tourism outlets they are returned to Chia Sisters juicery for sanitising, cleaning and refilling.
6. What sustainability successes have you had, that you would share with either other businesses in your industry or people at home?
We are a small company based at the top of the South Island of New Zealand. We know that our biggest opportunity to make impact is to share our sustainability lessons with others in our sector and in our community to encourage them to follow suit.
In 2019 we measured our carbon emissions, used our carbon footprint to reduce our emissions as much as possible, offset remaining emissions in a durable and genuine local carbon sink, built this process into our business decision making and most importantly, shared and encouraged others to follow suit. That process inspired us to launch Businesses for Climate Action with the goal to support our community to transition to a zero-carbon business economy.
7. Electrolux has a Better Living Program encouraging people to eat more diverse protein sources and not always meat. Can you share a favourite meat free recipe you love to cook?
I fell in love with Gado Gado in Indonesia 10 years ago and this is now a weekly staple: Vegan gado gado salad with tempeh - Lazy Cat Kitchen. I add an egg for extra protein. It is also a great way to use up vegetable leftovers.
If you want to learn more and follow along on the Chia Sister journey, head to their Instagram, Facebook or website.