On this page we talk to you about our company values, our attitude to environmental concerns and our efforts to create a sustainable business.
At the heart of TORQ is a desire to do the right thing, justify our actions based on peer-reviewed research and to be true innovators within the world of performance nutrition. We lead from the front, leaving no stone unturned and this is reflected in the exceptional quality/functionality of our products and the advice we provide, whether via digital communication or face-to-face. In this article we talk about how we have your backs covered, along with supporting the environment in which we live and the checks and balances we have in place with our supply chains. We also talk to you about how we intend to improve and our future plans.
Research Focussed & Lead By Science
We believe that there is nothing more honest than providing our customers with the facts, based on peer-reviewed published scientific research. We are a highly functional performance nutrition brand, so our products need to work faultlessly. Through not deviating from the findings of properly controlled published independent research studies, we produce products of an exceptional standard that get the job done. We will not stray from this philosophy and will not compromise.
A list of the research papers supporting each product in our range can be found in the tabs on the respective product webpage, allowing you to simply copy and paste the research reference into any search engine to explore the findings at your leisure. We do understand however, that research can be somewhat complicated to get your head around, so on each of our product information pages, we have simplified this research within our ‘Technical Information’ tabs.
Of course, if you have read this information and still have questions, you can email, message us using social media or call us on the phone, which brings us to…
Our website is filled with informative thoroughly researched articles and resources, we run a Fitness Consultancy and as well as responding to email enquiries promptly, it’s easy to get hold of us to talk over the phone. These are values that are of huge importance to us and the expertise and experience of our staff means that we can seamlessly link your nutritional needs to your fitness and training practices. We believe that our customers should be comprehensively informed on how, why and when our products should be used so that you can buy and consume TORQ products that are relevant to your needs and with absolute confidence.
Organic & Premium Quality Ingredients
Our Energy Bars, Energy Chews and Explore Flapjacks are all certified organic by the Soil Association , as is one of our Energy Drinks. This purity guarantee doesn’t only support your health due to the avoidance of artificial additives and chemical pesticides, the flavours of organic foods are better and they are richer in essential micronutrients. What is often overlooked is how much better organic farming is for the environment.
Organic farms use less energy than non-organic farms, because organic standards ’close the loop’, making use of what’s to hand and limiting the use of imported resources. Chemical fertilisers are often imported from abroad, creating a carbon footprint whereas organic farmers source their natural fertilisers locally and rotate crops to maintain healthy soil. Chemical fertilisers also consume 3-5% of the world’s natural gas during their production/manufacture, an energy-intensive CO2 and pollution-producing practice. In addition, organic soils store more carbon – did you know that our soils store more carbon than the atmosphere and all of the world’s plants and forests combined? According to the Soil Association website, healthy soils store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, drawing it down through photosynthesising organisms like trees and plants and storing it as ‘soil organic carbon’. Organic soil also stores nearly 2 tonnes more carbon per football pitch-sized area than non-organic soil. For further information, visit this page of the Soil Association website.
Much of the fruit in our organic TORQ products is also fairly traded, meaning that farmers in developing countries receive a fair price for their crop. Where we use ingredients that are not organic, we take an extremely firm stance on not using additives like colours or artificial sweeteners – we keep our products clean and free from any superfluous ingredients that are not linked to supporting athletic performance.
Vegan Plant-Based Formulations
Almost every TORQ formulation is suitable for vegans, the only exception being our whey protein-based Recovery Drinks and even though this is the case, we also have Vegan Recovery Drink options available. The reason we maintain the inclusion of whey protein in some of our recovery drinks is solely on the basis of performance. Whey protein performs better than any other protein and as we stated at the beginning of this piece, we are a research-focused performance brand. Our products must function to the highest possible level, so in the case of the Recovery Drink, we let you make the choice between out-and-out performance and your personal ethics. Fortunately with all of our other products, you don’t have to make that choice.
From an ethics and sustainability perspective, we are very careful at TORQ not to make extreme judgements about the dietary habits of the population and we respect the freedom of choice that all of us have. Education is at our core however and we believe that providing our customers with the facts allows them to make their own responsible decisions, whether that’s on how to fuel properly for an event or help protect our planet.
Our opinions at TORQ are nuanced and very much in line with this BBC news article where scientists suggest that we should all consume fewer animal products whilst not necessarily feeling the need to cut them out entirely. Our customers will have their own views on animal welfare, but here’s why moving closer to a plant-based diet is beneficial to the environment:
Reduces your carbon footprint: Animal agriculture produces an enormous amount of CO2 and methane, which warms the earth 20 times faster than CO2 alone. These emissions come from the livestock themselves, their waste, transportation and the huge amount of energy that goes into growing crops for their consumption. It’s much more energy efficient for us to eat the crops directly.
Improves water conservation: According to the Water Footprint Network 1 litre of milk requires 1,000 litres of water to produce it and 100 times more water is required to produce a kilo of animal protein compared to a kilo of plant-based protein. A huge amount of fresh water is used in agriculture generally, but significantly less would be used if it was used to grow crops we eat directly rather than feeding them to animals to make meat.
Reduces deforestation and destruction of animal habitats: The need for arable land intensifies deforestation and forests are good because they suck CO2 out of the atmosphere and create habitats for diverse species of animals and vegetation. Intensive arable farming destroys the soils (see previous comments related to organic farming) and the loss of native vegetation can lead to the extinction of whole species of animals and plants.
Reduces pollution: Waste containing large amounts of toxins from factory farms when added to the soil as fertiliser leaches into the rivers and oceans overwhelming marine life and can create what are called Dead Zones. Overuse of chemical fertilisers are also responsible and again we have made our stance on this clear when we discussed our commitment to organic ingredients. According to One Green Planet the air surrounding factory farms is full of toxins including ammonia as well as the afore mentioned CO2 and methane output.
Banned Substances Testing
TORQ has a very strict Anti-Doping stance and we are able to guarantee the purity of our products by supplying you with certified batch-tested product if necessary. Testing for prohibited substances takes place in a WADA accredited laboratory and is not an inexpensive process, but we feel it is necessary to provide professional athletes with the assurance and confidence they need in such an uncertain world. A few years ago, many sports supplement brands were tested independently and an alarming number were found to contain traces of substances that could give rise to a positive dope test. We want to make absolutely sure that this accusation could never be levelled at us.
TORQ products are random tested under ISO17025 by an independent WADA accredited laboratory. We test all of our main product lines and will always have ‘tested’ product available on our shelves for those athletes who want absolute assurance that the food they are consuming is guaranteed to be free from prohibited substances. For further information on our testing protocols, visit the Product Screening page of our website.
As we service the needs of endurance athletes and physically active people who exercise in the beautiful great outdoors, the preservation and protection of this environment is very close to our hearts. Nothing upsets us more than seeing litter in nature’s playground and we make it very clear in our litter policy on this website that we urge you to take your litter home with you or dispose of it responsibly. We appreciate that the odd accident can occur especially where packaging can end up in two pieces like with gel rip-top tabs and this is why we designed a litter-free tab, to keep the gel pack in one piece after opening.
Of course, managing the environment stems much further than the litter people leave behind, which is why we have taken steps to reduce the amount of plastic we use within our packaging. We previously used plastic tubs for all of our powdered products and we were probably the first company in our sector to move to pouches, which use a fraction of the plastic material. We were then confronted with the lack of recycling facilities available in the United Kingdom for this kind of packaging. Even so called recyclable soft plastics more often than not don’t get recycled, because councils don’t accept them for curb-side collection.
This caused a dilemma for us at TORQ for some time, because we couldn’t justify the move from our premium metalised laminated pouches to recyclable ones when the fate of both would most likely be the same – landfill or incineration – especially when the performance of metalised laminates is superior. We have a strong understanding of the circular economy and the debates surrounding landfill and incineration due to the work TORQ owner Matt Hart has done within the local community close to our offices. You can read about Matt’s anti-incineration protest on his website – a campaign that got him onto the ITV news.
Fortunately this troubling packaging dilemma has faded significantly, because recently Tesco have announced that they will recycle soft plastics including metalised laminates like crisp packets. This means that all of TORQ’s packaging including gel and bar wrappers can be taken to one of Tesco’s drop-off points where it will be sent to a recycling plant to undergo a process called Microwave Induced Pyrolysis. We hope that other supermarkets get on board in the future too, because recycling is key to reducing waste, saving valuable resources and reducing harmful carbon emissions. Did you know that incineration produces a tonne of carbon dioxide for every tonne of waste burned?
Why isn’t TORQ’s packaging compostable? The relative benefits of compostable over recyclable packaging have been hotly debated and there are pros and cons with both – click on this link or just ask Google to get a measure of the situation. Recycling saves the energy used to form plastics from scratch and re-uses a finite resource. Home compostable packaging will biodegrade at about the same rate as vegetable matter, but it will omit CO2 and methane as it breaks down, which plastics won’t.
We ran hours of trials on home compostable packaging and it was incredibly difficult to work with, so we wasted a lot and it was very expensive to produce. Also, compostable packaging can degrade in as little as 12 months when sitting on the shelf as rolls of film, so you can only imagine how poorly this material performs when subjected to moisture and heat in one of our customers’ pockets? Short shelf-life compostable film could be workable for huge turnover companies who can order large-volume packaging runs regularly, for products that enjoy a pretty unadventurous existence (although ironically they don’t and it’s left to smaller niche businesses to carry the can). This would make the packaging less expensive for everyone and it could be more widely used. In the case of TORQ however, independent of the debate as to which packaging is most sustainable and the costs involved, compostable packaging is simply not fit for purpose. TORQ products are used for sport and adventure, which means that the packaging needs to perform, keeping the product fresh and preventing it from becoming contaminated when subjected to higher than normal levels of wear and tear. All packaging will fail if subjected to enough abuse, but the tolerances are significantly higher with the laminated films we use.
We believe that we are doing the right thing by encouraging people to recycle our packaging and will always keep our eyes open to fresh ideas as packaging technology develops. The answer for the planet in future will no doubt involve a combination of recyclable and compostable packaging.
Finally, on the subject of packaging, it’s important to note that with our powder pouches, these contain a dehydrated drink mix which is rehydrated at the point of use. This means that we do not need to use preservatives to keep the product fresh, whilst in addition, a huge number of drinks can be transported in a relatively tiny amount of packaging when compared to a ready-to-drink product. For instance, a 1.5Kg pouch of TORQ Energy Drink makes 45 X 500ml bottles of drink. A 540g pouch of TORQ Hydration Drink makes 30 X 500ml bottles of drink (90 drinks per 1.5Kg). Imagine how much plastic would be needed to make the equivalent in ready-to-drink bottles? Also consider the carbon footprint involved in transporting heavy ready-to-drink products compared to our powdered ones – water being shipped around in trucks when there’s a plentiful supply in your tap.
All of TORQ’s ‘other’ packaging is either paper or cardboard and we use a paper-based tape to seal boxes as well as paper void-filling, so all can be easily recycled.
Covid 19 drew a line in the sand for us and has permanently changed the way we operate for the better. Although we fully appreciate that the pandemic has had a devastating impact on so many families and businesses, it gave us at TORQ the opportunity to hit the pause button, allowing us time to think about the world we want to live in and how some of the changes that were forcibly imposed upon us as a business were actually very positive and should remain in place.
For instance, those who could work from home did so during the pandemic, saving many miles on their vehicles and their carbon footprints in the process. As we move forward, the option to work from home for these employees remains in place and we have no intention of insisting that they return to the office. Some may prefer or need to work from head office occasionally, but they will not be required to. Zoom and Teams meetings became essential during the pandemic and these have continued. It is now policy for TORQ to hold meetings online unless it’s absolutely necessary to travel, whether local or further afield. There are some occasions where a face-to-face meeting is considered essential, perhaps when it’s the first time we have met a customer or supplier, or if we have to demo products or travel to events, but many motoring miles have been saved and this will continue.
In addition to the covid-influenced changes, heating a large warehouse and office space can have a significant impact on annual CO2 emissions. Of course, with many of TORQ’s employees now working from home, we do not need to heat empty office space other than keep the frost off! However, back in 2016, TORQ installed a large Biomass boiler to heat the premises. This boiler heats our warehouse, offices, production areas and provides running hot water for all production-based tasks whilst doing so using sustainable fuel. The principle of biomass is that environmentally sustainable fuel is burnt (wood) so that whilst carbon is released, it is captured within the new tree that is planted to replace it. By comparison, fossil fuels release carbon that has been captured over millions of years into the atmosphere. We accept that biomass boilers still produce CO2 and understand that electricity from solar, wind and tidal power would be preferable. Solar panels and wind turbines however, are unfortunately not options at TORQ HQ as we’re nestled into the base of a tree-shrouded north-facing hill next to the Offa’s Dyke long distance path on the England/Wales border.
Modern Slavery Policy
TORQ acknowledges its responsibilities in relation to tackling modern slavery and commits to complying with the provisions in the Modern Slavery Act 2015. TORQ understands that this requires an ongoing review of both its internal practices in relation to its labour force and, additionally, its supply chains. TORQ does not enter into business with any other organisation in the United Kingdom or abroad which knowingly supports or is found to involve itself in slavery, servitude and forced or compulsory labour. No labour provided to TORQ in the pursuance of the provision of its own services is obtained by means of slavery or human trafficking. TORQ strictly adheres to the minimum standards required in relation to its responsibilities under relevant employment legislation within the United Kingdom.
What More Could We Do?
We appreciate that we’re not perfect and there will always be ways that we could improve, but we hope that this has provided you with some clear insight into our ethical and environmental considerations. We believe that our customers want to hear the truth, whether with respect to a TORQ product they are thinking of using, through to why we use a particular form of packaging or source our ingredients a certain way.
There are some areas we have identified where we are looking at taking action NOW in order to be a better, more sustainable business. For instance, we currently wrap our retail boxes of Energy gels, bars, chews and sachets in a soft plastic shrink film to protect them from liquid spillages during transport and to hold the boxes together as the perforations required for retail make them quite fragile. Although this soft plastic film can now be recycled at Tesco stores along with our laminated films, we feel a better solution is to create a paper sleeve/strap to run around the carton as paper is more easily recycled via curb-side collections. We are researching and implementing this change as this is written.
There are some areas where we don’t have a solution yet and are struggling to find one. For instance, every pouch of powdered drink we sell contains a plastic scoop for measuring purposes. We are often asked if we are able to supply the product without the scoop as they tend to pile up in our regular customers’ homes. Our products are on the shelves of many stores in the UK and the product is literally not useable for the first-timer without a scoop, so we would always have to make a scooped pouch available. To solve this particular conundrum, we would need to almost double the size of our warehouse so that we could stock scooped and scoopless pouches. That’s double the warehouse to heat and the increased space requirement would need to be paid for. As it stands, there are 2 possible solutions available for our customers. Either recycle via your curb-side plastic recycling, or once you’ve collected a decent number of scoops, send them back to us and we will wash and re-use them (or drop them off with us when you see us at an event). However, as alluded to earlier, please note that the total material used in one of our pouches and scoop combined is microscopic in comparison to that in an equivalent ready-to-drink product, so you are already helping the environment by purchasing in this way.
Thank you for taking to read this page of our website and we’d like to invite you to let us know if you have any suggestions as to how we could improve as a business. Please email us at email@example.com and we will consider all enquiries as we build our sustainable and ethical roadmap to the future.