SUN SMART SISTERS

“People often ask us why sustainability is important to our brand, it started with what is important to us,” explained Chloe and Florence Van Dyke, founders of Chia Sisters. The Chia Sisters and their team have spent years crafting and developing health beverages to fuel and nourish New Zealanders. Amidst other noble company values, the Chia Sisters promote sustainability. “It makes sense to naturally extend our own personal ethos into the ethos of the business. Growing up understanding solar power meant we had a real understanding of power use—if you forget to turn off the lights at night, it might mean a cold shower in the morning.” Manufacturers that are looking into ways in which energy efficiency and sustainability can be maximised need to look no further.

At first glance, it may sound surprising to hear that the Chia Sisters juicery is not off the grid. However, the Chia Sisters strive to produce more power than they use, thereby boosting the network simultaneously. “When the sun is shining, we are generating twice as much power as we are using—the extra can be put back into the grid, or we can harness it in other ways such as heating water during the day rather than at night.” Based in Nelson, the Chia Sisters are perfectly set up to harness the energy of the sun, but even in Nelson, it rains occasionally. The extra power generated/saved means that despite adverse weather conditions, the juicery can stay up and running. On top of this, being a juicery, business tends to increase during the sunny seasons and slows down when it gets wet. “We hope to be able to document this process so we can show other businesses that this is not only environmentally the right thing to do, but it also makes economic sense.”

New Zealand is generally regarded as a green nation. However, the Chia Sisters believe that there are ways in which we can become even more environmentally conscious. “I think we can improve our understanding of our power use and put systems in place to reduce it. This ranges from the very basic, good insulation; to more complex and intelligent systems that manage energy use.”

Recently, the Chia Sisters partnered with Callaghan Innovations, a company that assists and offers support for business growth. “Callaghan Innovation has been instrumental to our ability to innovate and grow. Chia is a unique beverage that requires its own processes—there is a cost to trial and error—but once you have that knowledge, it allows you to be a world leader. Callaghan Innovation understands that value,” said The Chia Sisters.

Outside of maximising energy efficiency for their business operations, the Chia Sisters operate an EV business car which can, of course, be charged with solar. They also ensure that their packaging is made of recyclable material and prioritise sourcing their ingredients ethically. Their recent range of drinks, ‘Bottled by the Sun’, shares the Chia Sister’s story and encourages consumers to take an active role in doing their bit for the environment.