Charity still begins abroad, Innocent insists

By Graham Holter

- Last updated on GMT

Charity still begins abroad, Innocent insists
Smoothie manufacturer Innocent insists it remains committed to its charitable partners after a media report today claimed it had donated nothing to its principal foundation since 2008.

The company currently pledges to give away 10% of its profits to good causes, principally the Innocent Foundation, a registered charity that it established in 2004.

The charity’s website states support for grass-roots sanitation, health and micro-finance projects in poor rural communities – mainly in nations such as Uganda, India and Zambia, where Innocent sources fruit.

But The Guardian reported today that Innocent was still holding £520,000 pledged to the charity in 2007, and continues to hold the money as a loan from the foundation, whose trustees are Innocent's directors Adam Balon, Richard Reed and Jon Wright.

Innocent has made no contributions between 2008-2010; after a £8.6m loss in 2008, it has failed to turn a profit since the recession hit.

Director and co-founder, Richard Reed (pictured) told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The foundation is a professionally run charity, that sets the highest standards of best practice and makes prudent, responsible, financial decisions. Any implication that it does otherwise is 100% incorrect and deeply misguided.”

Money will be transferred

Innocent insisted that the £520,000 was earning better interest in the Innocent company bank account than it would if it had been passed on to the charity; as it was the money would still be transferred to the foundation gradually.

“Innocent has made a profit eight out of the 12 years we have been in business,”​ said Reed. "In the years where we have made losses, the business has still made charitable donations.

“This year we plan to pay a further £250,000 to the foundation to ensure its activities are not affected by the Innocent business facing tough years.”

Since its registration, Innocent said the foundation had supported 37 projects and spent almost £1.3m on community projects to helped over 340,000 people.

The smoothie company was established in 1999 by Reed and fellow directors Adam Balon and Jon Wright. Coca-Cola bought an 18% stake in 2009, and took a majority shareholding of 58% last April for a figure believed to be around £75m.

The firm moved its head office – which employs around 200 staff – from Shepherd’s Bush in London to Ladbroke Grove in late April.

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