Sapling Spirits are the world’s first climate positive British-made spirits brand. They uses local ingredients to reduce transport emission, and the brand produces both Vodka and a London Dry Gin range and for every bottle sold a tree is planted. Sapling Spirits was co-founded by Ed Faulkner and Ivo Devereux after unveiling a gap in the market for sustainable drinks, their mission is threefold: creating best in class spirits, leading the way on sustainability and injecting some fun into the sustainability conversation.

Why did you start Sapling Spirits?

We used to run tree-planting projects in Scotland and really struggled to get volunteers from the local area and beyond. We decided to start a small music festival with cocktail bars and realised you could get a much bigger and more diverse group of people involved in sustainability by offering them something fun to do alongside it. We started planting a tree for every bottle at the bar so that our drinks fitted the ethos of the festival – that was where it all started.

What is your sustainability mission?

Carbon neutral doesn’t cut it during an environmental crisis. Our sustainable mission is twofold. Firstly, to leave the world in a far better place by being significantly climate positive. One of our trees can absorb, on average, between 1 and 1.5 tonnes of CO2 in its lifetime, which pays back between 357 and 535 times on a bottle that uses 2.8kg of CO2 to produce.

Secondly, to put some fun and enthusiasm into an environmental movement that can often be all doom and gloom. We want to connect with people who wouldn’t normally be invested in sustainability and get them planting trees.

What are your top sustainability tips?

1. Grow your own food wherever possible. Getting closer to food production helps you develop a better relationship with our planet and encourages ethical sourcing.

2. Always challenge yourself with purchasing decisions. Is what you are eating and drinking sustainably sourced? Does the company that you are supporting have environmental credentials? Don’t take the easy option. Every time we consume something on a day-to-day basis we are making a decision about the world we want to live in.

2. Drink Sapling! I had to slip that one in there at end, apologies!

What’s your favourite summer cocktail using the Sapling range? 

Our original Sapling vodka makes a delicious Elderflower Spritz which is the perfect summer tipple!

Ingredients (served in high ball glass):

– 6 Mint Leaves

– 25ml Sapling Vodka

– 25ml Apple Juice

– 15ml Elderflower Liqueur

– 15ml Fresh Lime Juice

– 7.5ml Sugar Syrup

– English Sparkling Wine

Tell us more about your planting a tree project: 

Our tree per bottle pledge goes back to where we first began. We started planting an extra tree for every bottle we sold at the bar which became a real focus for the festival and is now a non-negotiable promise for every one of our bottles. On a broader level, trees are so important for helping combat the environmental crisis we are facing. Not only do they sequester carbon, but they also increase biodiversity, improve soil health, and regulate air and water pollution. We’ve planted 150k to date and the number is increasing every day.

What inspires you?

I find working on something with a really clear and defined mission incredibly inspiring. As we slowly build our team, everyone who comes on board has the same mission and we do it together. I have always said that people who start a company or a life with the phrase “I want to change the world” as their guiding principle are, more often than not, set for disaster. Yes, we want to inspire change, but we want to be part of a collective movement that the world is already driving towards, and we want to have a really good time doing it.

What’s next for the brand? 

We have recently launched our ‘wonky’ fruit range starting with a truly delicious Raspberry & Hibiscus vodka. Food waste is a subject close to our hearts, but one we haven’t yet been able to highlight until this product. Unlike most flavoured spirits we have used real fruit to flavour this vodka which gives it a unique delicacy and natural flavour. A ridiculous amount of fruit doesn’t make it onto our supermarket shelves because they don’t look “right” and with this product, we have highlighted that flavour matters so much more than looks. We are looking to build our wonky range over the coming years and the flavours will reflect the different fruit trees that we plant in the UK. Exciting times ahead!

Why did you choose to focus on trees? 

The social and environmental impact of trees is unbelievable. Often when people think of trees their positive impact is reduced to absorbing carbon dioxide. While this is of huge importance, they offer so much more! Trees increase biodiversity through providing habitats and food for animals and insects. One tree planted on a monoculture field can bring more than 80 species of insects and birds back. Trees also improve soil health which further increases biodiversity as well as the land’s capacity to store carbon.

Trees are also very important for our communities. Green spaces in cities can improve mental wellbeing, while rural trees can be foraged and stimulate local economies. Trees also reduce flooding and purify water and air to make our neighbourhoods and water supply cleaner and safer.

For further information on Sapling Spirits, see here