5 years of decent in the UK - an interview with our CEO, Sam Chote.

5 years of decent in the UK - an interview with our CEO, Sam Chote.

It's been a wild ride from New Zealand to the UK, and now Europe and beyond.
Ahead of the London Coffee Festival next week, our CEO Sam Chote, sat down to chat about decent's wider role in sustainability, some of our achievements (and challenges), and what the next 5 years look like for decent.

How has the landscape for sustainable packaging evolved in the UK over the past five years, and what role has decent played in this?

Our awesome little world is specialty coffee and for our partners the effort that goes into serving their customers with a great product, is huge. From the shop design, to the staff training, to the sourcing of the best produce - there are no shortcuts - and it's the same for packaging. The best coffee shops in the world want to serve their products in packaging that meet these high standards - and we hope that by using decent, it only adds to the experience.

What are some notable achievements that decent has made?

Hitting 5 is pretty huge, we come to work to solve problems and look after our customers, and that we still have plenty of them 5 years on, means we are doing something well! Recently we have become a B Corp , recertified 4 years as Carbon Zero, and are now selling across the UK, EU and US, as well as back “home” in New Zealand.

What are some of the biggest challenges decent has faced in the past five years?

2020-2022 goes without saying! For us being in the supply chain, the pain came later. Through Covid, we were proud to have grown and looked after our team, but with us being reliant on ocean freight, we felt the pinch with prices going up 1000%. More recently, we watch the UK/EU sustainability space closely.. Every town, state and country has a different approach to waste management and the landscape is changing all the time, often driven by government priorities. All we want to do is offer the most innovative and reliable products to our customers and help simplify sustainability for them.

How does decent ensure that its packaging materials are truly sustainable?

We have long standing relationships with our suppliers, have developed our own code of conduct for anyone wanting to partner with us, and carry our audits to ensure standards are met. This, alongside our commitment to B Corp and Carbon Zero, ensure we use the best materials available, knowing that they are going to be at a “worth it” premium, when compared to oil based options.

What innovations or advancements do you foresee shaping the future of sustainable packaging, both within the UK and globally?

I genuinely think technology and infrastructure will continue to advance and improve how we deal with waste. Where applicable we should be reusing, and that is an exciting space for decent, but where convenience is required, whether it be for food or drinks, the advancement in material is rapid. We are moving closer all the time to a world where we are not reliant on fossil fuels, and that needs to be the journey we go on together.

There have been plenty of new regulations coming in which vary a lot from country to country. How does decent manage these regulations and ensure your customers are kept informed?

We have a team that works on compliance within our business and also one that focuses on our own sustainability journey. We want to do the heavy lifting here so that when our customers jump on our website, they trust us to only offer what is fit for purpose and the best available.

What are some barriers to customers for using sustainable packaging, and how do you overcome those?

Access to information, for sure. We want to be able to sit down with anyone and ask “what is your approach to sustainability,” and whether that be composting, recycling or reusing - let us help you with some world class solutions and a method to assist in closing the loop on a circular economy. Let's take ownership of the things we can control, and we can share what we know. It is a really confusing space to navigate and I think customers just want a partner they can trust.

What does the next 5 years look like for decent?

Different and more advanced products, but still decent at our core. We work backwards from our customers' needs to solve their problems, and we want to continue to be partners, not just a supplier.

previous article next article