Lighting the Way on Social and Environmental Sustainability

environmental and social sustainability

WholeFoods Magazine invited companies in the natural products industry to showcase how they are going above and beyond with their environmental and social sustainability efforts. Read on for the latest efforts from companies throughout the supply chain (listed in alphabetical order), and get a glimpse at their goals for a brighter future. And to find out how natural products retailers are going green, greener, greenest, read their strategies, successes, and struggles here.

ADM takes action on climate change

“ADM is committed to taking action for climate change, integrating sustainable practices into every facet of our operations to minimize our footprint worldwide,” says Michelle French,  Director of Global Sustainability Programs, ADM. “We’re scaling our efforts to meet the needs of a growing global population and give our customers an edge. Global consumers have made it clear that they expect products they purchase to come from sustainable sources, produced by companies that share their values. Our ambitious Strive 35 plan targets energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water use, and waste management. By 2035, we’re dedicated to reducing Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions by 25% against a 2019 baseline, meaning a reduction in emissions from our facilities and vehicles (Scope 1), our use of electricity from the grid (Scope 2) and emissions associated with our global supply chain (Scope 3). We partner with growers to implement advanced agriculture practices that reduce emissions, sequester carbon in the soil, and protect water quality while also improving on-farm economics. Additionally, our commitment to achieving and maintaining high levels of traceability helps our customers meet their sustainable sourcing goals. We’ve also pledged to be 100% deforestation-free by 2025, which includes direct and indirect sourcing of all commodities from every country. For more information, read our 2021 Sustainability report.”

Aker BioMarine aims for a net zero end in 2030

“At Aker BioMarine, sustainability is our foundation,” says Pål Einar Skogrand, VP Policy and Impact, Aker BioMarine. “As a company that believes in a world where all should have access to quality nutrition and good health without compromising the future of our planet, solid sustainable practices are crucial. Our CEO, Matts Johansen, has always said that ‘either we do it sustainably or we don’t do it at all.’ To that end, we have set ambitious goals to help overcome the global challenges that are impacting and driving the future of our business and industry including loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity, lifestyle disease threats, and climate change.

“We are constantly working on protecting the ecosystem, reducing our own industrial footprint, and contributing to healthy and sustainable nutrition systems for the future. In fact, our recent sustainability goals to support our purpose of improving human and planetary health, will help to ensure we lead the way to a net zero end in 2030.

“Today, only a small part of our ocean is used for food production, meaning there is great potential for the future when practices are done in a sustainable way. With that in mind, we will continue to be a leader in our industry by forging new roads and raising the bar each and every day.”

Beneo supports sustainable farming and biodiversity

“Today’s consumers are a driving force for sustainability and plant-based options to reduce environmental impact,” the company shares. “The trend is led by flexitarians, according to new research. Globally, 84% are concerned about climate change and the environment and 82% are concerned about animal welfare.

“At BENEO, sustainability reaches from field to fork and beyond. As a manufacturer of natural plant-based ingredients, sustainable farming and biodiversity have always been inherent to our business. Our production sites are state-of-the-art to reduce energy and water consumption plus CO2 emissions. Our ingredients support balanced nutrition and a healthier lifestyle, allowing manufacturers to develop plant-based alternatives. 

“BENEO’s recent $54 million investment into a pulse-processing facility in Germany highlights sustainability with renewable electricity and is also a key element in the company’s strategic decisions. The plant-based products contribute to sustainability along the supply chain. Faba beans provide nitrogen from the air for themselves and subsequent plants reducing fertilizer input and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing biodiversity. No water is needed for processing the plants and the raw material is fully valorized.”

Bioiberica aims to be a zero-waste company

“As part of the SARIA Group, Bioiberica is a vertically integrated company,” says Antonio Vendrell, Business Units Director. “This puts us in the unique position to be able to offer maximum assurances in terms of control, traceability, security, cost efficiency and sustainability. Our production strategy is rooted in the circular bioeconomy model. From sourcing 100% biologically derived raw materials to making the most of each and every one of those materials, we endeavour to minimise resource waste. Meanwhile, our manufacturing processes are designed to reduce water and energy too. As a result, we’re able to deliver high-value natural-origin products that are sustainable. 

“Our manufacturing site in Palafolls, Barcelona, runs on 100% electrical renewable energy and we’re currently working towards targets of installing 1,000 KW of photovoltaic power for self-consumption and reducing our GHG emissions by 30% by 2030. We also treat and reuse wastewater from our manufacturing processes to reduce water consumption—all with a view to achieving our goal of becoming a zero waste company.

“In line with our mission to build a more sustainable future, our continued commitment to the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) earned us a commendation from Bureau Veritas in 2021, recognizing Bioiberica as the first Spanish biotech/pharmaceutical company to do so.”

Bionap commits to a circular economy

With its vertically integrated strategy and efforts in upcycling, Bionap is dedicated to advancing and growing its capabilities and broadening its reach around the world while remaining grounded to its roots and philosophy based on a sustainable circular economy approach. The company its actions and motivations:

  • “The global economy’s linear business model of ‘take, make, and waste’ is depleting natural resources faster than they can be replenished and straining ecosystems. A circular economy does more with less, keeps products and materials in use, and regenerates natural systems. At the core is an opportunity to develop technologies and business models that are regenerative by design. Every Bionap ingredient has a Circular Economy Commitment. Bionap has identified the by-products, coming from the agricultural industry, as the driver for a sustainable innovation system. With supporting scientific research, raw materials like olive fruit water, prickly pear cladodes, olive leaves and small size oranges, that in the agricultural industry system are not used, find new life.”
  • “Bionap upcycles what once was considered not useful in the agricultural market into certified ingredients for various nutraceutical and cosmetic solutions, such as cardiovascular and heart health, gastrointestinal, immune health, and skin care.”
  • “Bionap considers the circular economy as an opportunity to inspire people, leadership and product innovation, all driving impact for a sustainable future.”

Cargill aims to keep food system resilient

“From small family farms to global shipping lanes, Cargill works every day to implement new sustainable practices to reduce our impact on the planet and protect people,” the company shares. “Through our long history, we have seen agriculture be part of the solution to the world’s most urgent challenges. We know that we must address climate change and conserve water and forests, while meeting the rising demand for food. These are complex challenges, but we have overcome many obstacles to keep our food system resilient and we will continue. We feel a deep responsibility to protect the planet and its people, to ensure a cleaner, safer future for generations to come.”

Chinova uses nature to reduce food waste

Chinova Bioworks uses the power of mushrooms to fulfill their mission. The company explains that, a natural food source, mushrooms require little water to cultivate, have a short life cycle, and are grown throughout the year, which leads to a sustainable supply source. Chinova’s natural preservation ingredient, Chiber is derived from the stems of white button mushrooms, which are typically wasted. Chinova works with mushroom farmers to collect the stems and upcycle them into commercially stable preservation ingredients.

“The process for making our mushroom extracts is similar to how most plant fibers are naturally extracted,” says Natasha Dhayagude, CEO and Co-founder of Chinova Bioworks. “The processing involves drying the mushroom, grinding them, and using heat and water to purify the fiber from the stems. The processing is minimal and eco-friendly and helps deliver a natural mushroom fiber that improves the brand’s quality, freshness, and shelf-life of the finished product.”

The company reports that it continues to look for ways to upcycle supply to produce natural and sustainable products that impact markets.

Farmer Focus promotes & protects family farms

Founded by sixth-generation farmer Corwin Heatwole, Farmer Focus reports that it is the only 100% USDA organic and Humane Certified chicken company with a mission to promote and protect generational family farmers. The company is committed to doing things the right way for farmers, their birds, and our planet. Here’s how:

  • Supply Chain Traceability: Farmer Focus recently rolled out a new package that makes it easier than ever for shoppers to trace chicken back to the individual farm where it was raised with a new QR code method. Over 150,000 people have “met” their farmer this way already. Farmer Focus’ Farm ID has seen double-digit growth YOY since launching two years ago.
  • Farmer Welfare: The Farmer Focus business model shifts decision-making and chicken ownership to farmers, so they can drive innovation and generate 35% more revenue. 
  • Going Beyond Organics: Farmer Focus birds have outdoor access year-round and eight hours of light each day. The chickens are humanely raised and fed a diet free from animal byproducts, pesticides, and antibiotics. Farmer Focus was recognized by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for Pollution Prevention Efforts and its ongoing commitment to sustainability. 

Farmer Focus recently hired Matthew Dillon as their Chief Sustainability Officer to increase efforts in this vein. Read more about Farmer Focus values here.

Fonterra USA focuses on carbon emissions 

This New Zealand co-operative and parent company of Anchor Dairy is committed to sustainability, and the company says this commitment starts with location: “New Zealand has one of the lowest on-farm carbon footprints in the world, making Fonterra uniquely qualified to offer dairy products that help reduce environmental impact. In their efforts toward sustainable dairying, Fonterra looks after land, water, and animals, and uses resources responsibly to find a path to regenerate the environment. By 2030, Fonterra will have a 30% water reduction at manufacturing sites in water-constrained regions and a 30% reduction in absolute scope 1&2 emissions (global). And, 100% of Fonterra’s New Zealand farmers will have a Farm Environment Plan by 2025.” (See Fonterra Sustainability Scorecard, 2021.)

The company shared that, in April 2022, its consumer brand Anchor launched its Organic carbonzero Certified Butter. “In order to meet the carbonzero certification requirements of Toitū Envirocare, an independent certifier that verifies carbon emissions across the product life cycle, Fonterra calculated the carbon emissions required in the distribution of Anchor butter from farm to consumers’ homes. They developed a plan to reduce emissions further and supported renewable energy projects to offset emissions that couldn’t be reduced. This product helps consumers live a more sustainable life.”

FruitSmart fruit ingredients tackle food waste 

FruitSmart specializes in premium fruit-based ingredients. The company says it is well regarded for its not-from-concentrate apple juice, which is made from high quality but misshapen fruit that can’t be sold in supermarkets. Offering a look at the process, FruitSmart shared, “The fruit is sourced from packing houses that supply the largest grocery chains in the U.S., and the growers must adhere to environmentally friendly growing criteria to meet the retailers’ strict sustainability programs. Once the fruit is pressed for juice, it is then further upcycled to utilise the fiber, seed, seed oils and more. FruitSmart’s range includes fiber products from apple and blueberries, which can enhance consumer appeal by enabling health claims. Furthermore, because the fibers are produced from materials left over from FruitSmart’s Cold-Press fruit pressing, they can be labelled as upcycled. FruitSmart was one of the brands that participated in the Upcycled Food Association’s (UFA) Upcycled Certification pilot program in 2021, and it has recently been awarded the organization’s new certification mark, which highlights upcycled ingredients. This accreditation helps manufacturers meet a growing market need—with 30% of food globally going to waste, 60% of consumers want to buy more upcycled products, according to the Upcycled Food Association.”

GELITA plans to be climate-neutral by 2050

 GELITA, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of collagen proteins, has presented its Sustainability Report for 2021. The report details the company’s commitment to sustainability, showcases projects for resource-saving and safe production, describes social initiatives at its sites and assesses the results.

GELITA has set the goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The focus is on reducing CO2 emissions. The Group aims to halve its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 compared with 2020. Gelita noted that investments in modern technical infrastructure, innovative production processes, an efficient energy supply and renewable energy are helping to achieve these targets. They include projects such as the construction of a solar park at the Chicago plant in the U.S. and biomass-based steam generation at the Mococa site in Brazil. 

The company shares: “Supporting people and ensuring their well-being is firmly anchored in GELITA’s corporate DNA. To promote social responsibility, the Group provides neighborhood assistance in the vicinity of its sites, helps people in need with monetary and product donations, and supports selected institutions. In addition, GELITA is committed to the education of young people and is active as a sponsor in recreational and professional sports.” 

Gnarly Nutrition to be Climate Neutral Certified in 2023

Gnarly shares that its environmentally conscious values pushed the clean sports supplement brand to transition all products previously in plastic tubs into highly recyclable steel tins, and says it is the first sports nutrition brand to do so. “There has been a significant gap around innovation in sustainability within the nutrition supplement industry, and Gnarly is excited to take a leadership role in putting the industry on a path to progress,” the company shares. “Plastic has a poor recycling record in the U.S., and even when recycled, it breaks down after 1-2 lifecycles leaving microplastics in the environment. So Gnarly turned to tin-coated steel cans with the highest recycling rate of any material (~71%). These tins are made with ⅔ recycled steel and are hermetic, setting the standard for shelf life and product integrity.

“This transition is not where Gnarly’s sustainable packaging stops. Gnarly’s Baseline series transitioned from plastic bottles to glass bottles this year, and Gnarly aims to remove all plastic scoops by 2025. Gnarly is also working to find a packaging alternative for its recyclable bags by 2025. Finally, Gnarly is starting a 1% for the Planet Commitment in 2023 and getting Climate Neutral Certified in 2023.”

Gnosis by Lesaffre practices “biotransformation”

“We’re in awe of our planet and, therefore, committed to minimizing our environmental footprint and actively pursuing sustainability in everything we do,” says Philippe Caillat, Global Marketing Director. “To that end, we use a naturally occurring resource—microorganisms—to produce our ingredients through a natural process called biotransformation. Gnosis by Lesaffre sees microorganisms as part of our workforce, collaborating with brands to develop game-changing products that help their customers thrive.

“We recognize that the term ‘biotransformation’ may be unfamiliar to some. It refers to fermentation and other natural processing methods that involve transforming compounds within a living system. It describes exactly what we do: We use living microorganisms to transform compounds into usable nutritional actives for nutraceutical and pharmaceutical brands. We see biotransformation as the most promising opportunity for industries to reduce raw material consumption and waste when developing active ingredients. 

“Beyond biotransformation, we also believe that we have a responsibility not just to preserve our planet but also to give back to it. We contribute to the fight against child malnutrition and digestive diseases through Vitamin Angels and DigestScience, organizations that we are proud to support.”

Good Culture supports regenerative agriculture

In 2015, Good Culture set out to make clean-label products with real, simple ingredients, including milk sourced from pasture-raised and organic family farms, The company shares: “We soon realized such a milk supply didn’t exist at scale because a majority of U.S. dairy cows are confined, creating both an animal welfare and environmental problem. This realization encouraged Good Culture to partner with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) to create the Path to Pasture program.” 

Path to Pasture provides DFA farmers with education on and access to sustainable, regenerative agriculture farming resources. According to the company: “These resources empower farmers to create healthier soil and grow more nutrient-dense feed that, in turn, reduces carbon emissions. Through a partnership with 1% For the Planet, Good Culture donates a percentage of sales to support farmers transitioning from conventional farms to regenerative agricultural practices, with a focus on planned grazing, effectively building a new milk supply and creating positive food system change. Each transition of conventional farms to regenerative agriculture farms effectively builds a new milk supply and creates a positive food system change.”

Through their association with 1% for the Planet, Good Culture, a certified B-Corp, also works with Kiss The Ground to provide access to scholarships for soil health training and testing.

GoodSAM invests in regenerative agriculture

GoodSAM is focused on creating a better way to do business, and giving other brands a road map to do the same. The company shared a look at building that roadmap.

  • “What’s the trick to running a successful company that also benefits our planet? The foundation for GoodSAM lies within the ancient farming practice of Regenerative Agriculture. GoodSAM sources its products from smallholder farmers that use regenerative practices, which promotes diversity in crops, provides care for the soil, and helps combat climate change.”
  • “GoodSAM educates conscious consumers on how much impact their choices have on our planet. When you purchase organic and non-GMO products, like GoodSAM’s, you’re saying no to practices that cause pollution and waste energy.”
  • “Direct Trade is another critical component of GoodSAM. The company has built a community of farmers who harvest their ingredients and get paid fairly for doing it. GoodSAM works closely with these partners to understand their needs, overcome barriers, and build opportunities. Take a look at GoodSAM’s Impact Report to see this in action!”
  • “GoodSAM understands the important role of female empowerment in the construction of a sustainable world. Women hold key positions in the company, from founder Heather K. Terry, to the smallholder, female farmers growing their organic, non-GMO ingredients.”

Gencor is mindful of environmental, social objectives

Thus, Gencor is holding itself accountable and striving to do its part for employees, community and world at large. Among the efforts, as outlined by the company:

  • “Gencor’s recycling and energy conservation efforts are a daily practice. In addition, Gencor’s internal social sustainability pillar is solidified by providing a yearly employee retreat, paid holidays, sick leave, maternity, vacation, and a comprehensive wellness package for all its employees. Gencor prides itself on providing great work conditions and an overall great place to work.”
  • “Gencor social sustainability efforts starts with supporting women’s empowerment and gender equality by providing equal opportunity for women around the world in all areas of development: work, education, and sports. Gencor is an active sponsor of FairBreak Women’s Cricket that focuses on global gender equality in leadership and performance roles.​​ Gencor participates in charitable donations to NGOs and Cricket Associations. For example: SENsational Foundation for the disable and ethnic minority communities in HK.”
  • “Gencor India corporate office has environmental sustainability practices, such as:​ Kitchen garden​, ornamental plants​, conversion of vegetable waste into bio-fertilizer​, volunteer Day Team event, for example organized public space clean up​.”
  • “Gencor is a proud supporter of Vitamin Angels, focused on reaching communities around the world that are underserved and improving access to vital nutrition.”

Herbalist & Alchemist prioritized sustainability in processes and decisions

“At Herbalist & Alchemist, the first herb company to become a B Corporation, sustainability is a top priority in our processes and decisions,” says Beth Lambert, CEO, Herbalist & Alchemist. “Our ingredients are grown and sourced responsibly by our network of growers and ethical wildcrafters. Over 75% of the herbs we use are certified organic, and we use only certified organic alcohol and olive oil for extracting. Our product packaging, which is intentionally minimal, is recyclable curbside. We divert tons of compostable material from landfills. The marc, or ground plant pulp left over from the extraction process, is turned into compost in partnership with a local zero-waste farmer.

“We recycle everything possible and keep our waste low. We reduce and reuse everything we possibly can, such as using bottle supply boxes to ship customers’ orders, which dramatically reduces the amount of cardboard we would have to recycle. All our waste and recycling are logged throughout the year so we can keep track of our progress, and continually improve. We’ve partnered with TerraCycle for our hard-to-recycle waste. We also monitor key inputs like our water and energy use. We know businesses can make a BIG difference in the health of our planet, and are committed to doing our part.”

Horphag sources from a sustainable forest

“Pycnogenol brand French maritime pine bark extract is sourced from the forest of Landes de Gascone in southwestern France, near the famous Bordeaux region,” says Sébastien Bornet, VP Global Sales & Marketing at Horphag Research (exclusive worldwide supplier of Pycnogenol). “This is Europe’s largest sustainable forest and trees used by the timber industry must be replanted within a short time under French forestry laws. The bark is a bi-product of this timber sourcing process and is collected from the sawmills for the extraction. In this pristine environment, no pesticides, herbicides, or GMO materials are applied. Extracting Pycnogenol from the bark is a CO2-friendly process, whereas most of the energy used during the extraction process is from a renewable source. The state-of-the-art manufacturing facility applies a water cleaning system and no harmful substances are released into the environment.”

Indena has a special focus on sustainable regeneration of wild species

Indena’s philosophy: The company cares about where plants are grown, about how they are handled, and for the people who are responsible for them along the supply chain. The company shared: “Indena knows that paying attention at every step of the way positively impacts the quality and effectiveness. Our system is based on the following four pillars and allows us to create added value for our clients and our stakeholders by reinforcing a foundation of quality and reliability.” Those four pillars are:
1. Full traceability: Available per single supplier of vegetal material and year of production, through the Annual Production Records.
2. Supplier qualification: Suppliers qualified in accordance with an internal procedure and strict criteria for quality, traceability and reliability.
3. Good agricultural practices: Corresponding to the implementation of the Guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for starting materials of herbal origin.
4. Social and environmental risk management: A system to evaluate and support suppliers, managing the sustainability risks of botanical raw materials and leading to dedicated local projects that generate positive social and environmental impact.

In 2013, Indena launched its Sustainable Sourcing Program to assure the safety and wellbeing of the communities involved in our supply chain and conserve biodiversity, with a special focus on sustainable regeneration of wild species. The program is based on continuous supplier assessment of 120 botanical species from approximately 60 countries, which the company says leads to dedicated local projects that generate positive social and environmental impact. Read more in Indena’s sustainability white paper.

Kamut looks for areas of improvement

Kamut is currently undertaking a carbon footprint study and assessment working with the internationally recognized sustainability consultancy Soil & More Impacts (now operating as Sustainable AG) in order to understand the impact of its complete supply chain from farm to customers, the company shared. Efforts include assessing the contribution and/or benefits of all KAMUT Brand Wheat being grown exclusively organic. Working in collaboration with all members of the chain from the growers up to end customers, the company says its goal is to measure and understand the environmental impacts and be able to determine areas where improvement and reductions can be made.

Kerry tackles food waste and more

“Kerry is the global leader in Sustainable Nutrition, with a vision to be our customer’s most valued partner, creating a world of sustainable nutrition, says Christina O’Keeffe – Director of Sustainability in North America, Kerry. She outlined the companies efforts:

  • In late 2021, we announced accelerated climate action targets to align with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global temperature increases by 1.5 degrees Celsius. We have increased our targets for Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions reduction from 33% to 55% by 2030. This ambitious goal strengthens Kerry’s Beyond the Horizon sustainability strategy and commitments, including a target to halve food waste and reach over two billion people with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030.”
  • “By focusing our strategic growth through Taste, Food Protection and Preservation, Pro-Active Health, and Plant-based foods and working towards our specific sustainability goals, we have already reached 1.1 billion consumers as part of our journey to reach 2 billion people with sustainable nutrition solutions by 2030 and reduced our operational carbon emissions by 39%. To help accelerate our carbon impact globally, we have also moved to 100% renewable electricity for all our manufacturing locations this year.”
  • “Tackling food waste throughout the supply chain is extremely important at Kerry. Traditionally, a chicken could provide meals for many days for a family—from the Sunday lunch, to a soup to an omelette. We also do something similar at Kerry. Kerry partners with our customers to bring popular coatings and taste technologies to chicken nuggets, strips, and patties. We then also partner to take the chicken frames from the production of those popular chicken products and transform them into stocks and broths that consumers then use in a variety of ways. We then use the by-product of this process and convert that into fertilizers which ultimately can be used to nourish chickens through their feed.”
  • “We recently worked with a customer wishing to extend their range in the low and no alcohol category, while also looking for improved efficiencies and yields. We used our brewing ingredients and applications expertise, combined with our enzymes and process technology know-how, to create a range of products with low alcohol and lower calories. This new beer, with the same great authentic taste and the improved process, is better for the planet by delivering up to 41% reduction in carbon emissions, and a $2 per hectolitre saving, with reduced waste, energy and water usage. We have also launched an online tool for breweries, which will calculate the sustainability benefits that our products can bring in terms of tons of CO2 saved, energy reduction, and the equivalent cars taken off the road or trees planted.”

MycoTechnology, OIA Target Sustainable Protein

Oman Investment Authority (OIA) and MycoTechnology, Inc. have established a joint venture that will use locally grown dates to produce high-quality mushroom-based protein. The two parties shared that they will collaborate on building a state-of-the-art production facility in Oman to scale up and commercialize this novel source of nutritious, sustainable protein. This, they say, represents the next generation of innovation driven by MycoTechnology’s proprietary fermentation platform, which harnesses mushroom mycelia to create transformative ingredients.

The strategic partnership links OIA’s local knowledge and public sector relationships with MycoTechnology’s cutting-edge technology. It aspires to transform the food supply landscape in the region and reflects OIA’s commitment to achieving a sustainable future by increasing local food production.

 Oman is one of the world’s top 10 producers of dates, growing about 400 thousand tonnes per year. However, more than half goes to waste or animal feed. The new joint venture is expected to upcycle a significant portion of these excess dates, using the natural sugar present in the fruit as a source of carbon to fuel the production of mushroom-based protein.

Construction of the new facility is due to start in the first half of 2023 on a 10-hectare site.

Natures Crops offers sustainable omega option

“Ahiflower is a regeneratively grown, plant-based alternative to marine omega oils that is making significant positive impacts on marine ecosystems, human health and planetary wellness,” says Andrew Hebard, founder and CEO of Natures Crops. “Ahiflower crops produce the same amount of omega-rich oil in just one acre as do 450,000 anchovies! According to the FAO, 33% of global fish stocks are fished at unsustainable levels and another 60% already being fished at their maximum sustainable level. Fish oil production simply is not sustainable.

“Supplier Natures Crops ensures that all Ahiflower crops are grown by dedicated farmers following regenerative agricultural practices and traceability protocols, all validated through the proprietary Crop Assured 365 identity preservation process. Throughout the growing season, Ahiflower crops are monitored and data collected about carbon capture, soil heath, pollinator activity and biodiversity.

“Through decades of science and discovery, this truly sustainable, regeneratively grown crop delivers the most biologically advanced, complete, and balanced plant-based source of omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids. Unlike marine oils, Ahiflower is expeller pressed using no petrochemical solvents, and Ahiflower’s high mineral co-products result in virtually zero waste. Many leading brands have embraced Ahiflower as a truly sustainable, plant-based omega option with excellent applications in supplements, beverages, snacks, personal care and pet nutrition.” Learn more: Download Plant-based Omegas Whitepaper; View 3min Ahiflower Story Video.

NOW Health Group focus on responsible stewardship of our planet

“For decades, NOW has demonstrated responsible stewardship of our planet through the reduction of our carbon footprint and sustainability initiatives, such as ingredient sourcing choices, green facilities, and eco-partnerships and certifications,” says Joe Carney, VP of Operations for NOW Health Group. “Annually, NOW’s conservation efforts result in more than 22,000 trees saved, more than 1 million gallons of water saved, and more than 1,400 tons of material being recycled. Additionally, 100% of NOW’s e-waste is recycled to protect valuable groundwater.” 

NOW also looks for ways to make our products earth friendly and affordable. “Whenever possible, NOW chooses to use recyclable packaging materials,” says Carney. “When they aren’t available for certain products, NOW partners with TerraCycle, a U.S.-based company that takes non-recyclable and hard-to-recycle pre-consumer and post-consumer waste and converts it into finished goods. More than 1.3 million pieces of NOW flexible packaging have been diverted from landfills through TerraCycle.” 

Carney adds that, from energy efficient lighting and solar panels to water conservation and electric car charging stations, all of NOW’s facilities work to maximize their green efforts. “Our manufacturing facility in Sparks, Nevada was US Green Building Council LEED Silver Certified in 2012. Our new manufacturing facility in Bloomingdale, Illinois has LEED Silver Certification, LED lighting throughout, and has high efficiency utility systems.”

Nuherbs harvests herbs sustainably 

“Sustainability has been a priority in Nuherbs sourcing practices for three generations,” says Wilson Lau, President, Nuherbs. “Geo-authenticity, or Di Dao (authentic source), is the principle that herbs wildcrafted or cultivated where they naturally grow will have better potency and authenticity compared to those cultivated in non-native regions. The temperature, soil, terrain, micro-climate, and humidity all influence plant potency. For the plants to continue to thrive, the entire eco-system must be protected, and our collection requirements reflect that long term view. Each herb is assessed to confirm it can be harvested sustainably, so the herbs will still be there for my grandchildren to source from the descendants of the farmers we work with today.

“Other aspects to Nuherbs’ sustainability initiatives include a solar array on our warehouse to offset energy consumption, which also insulates us from power disruption caused by the escalating climate change-related extreme weather events. We are exploring how to increase regenerative practices at the farm level to enhance the soil health of our farm partners. We at Nuherbs believe in an iterative approach to sustainability efforts, which will also include certification of some of our growing projects. This is a continuous practice where progress can be made over time, refining processes and areas as new information and technology become available.”

Numi is a Climate Neutral Certified

Founded in 1999 by brother and sister Ahmed Rahim and Reem Hassani, Numi Organic Tea is an award-winning social enterprise, founding B Corp, and leading purchaser of organic, Fair Trade Certified teas. Numi strives to create lasting positive impact for the planet. The company outlined its efforts:

  • Numi’s cardboard tea boxes are made from 90% recycled paperboard.
  • Numi’s compostable* plant-based tea wrappers — the first in the industry — reduce reliance on fossil fuels and open pathways to a plastic-free future. Made from renewable non-GMO sugarcane, these wrappers produce 67% lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional wrappers.1 They perform better across all impact categories throughout their lifecycle, from energy resource use to pollution to ozone.
  • Numi worked with Planet FWD, the leading carbon management platform for consumer brands on a recently announced Carbon Footprint Label. The new label is the first of its kind among U.S. tea producers and breaks down each product’s emissions into four categories – ingredients, packaging, transport and preparation – so that consumers can easily understand the carbon impact of their tea purchases.
  • As a Climate Neutral Certified business, Numi works to reduce emissions throughout its supply chain.

Örlö protects oceans and fish ecosystems

The company shares that it is harnessing the power of algae from a high-tech, Icelandic aquaculture planthouse with a carbon negative profile. The company just launched Ömega-3, Prenatal DHA and Immunity Boost Ultra Spirulina Oral Spray.

More on the sustainability from Örlö:

  • Each bottle saves 110 Pelagic fish and 1.1 KG of Co2 eq (this is equivalent to driving around 3.2 miles)​. 
  • By going straight to the source (fish get their omega-3’s from algae), Örlö protects oceans and fish ecosystems, keeping them completely undisturbed. 
  • Örlö grows algae with the world’s first carbon-negative indoor, year-round production process in Iceland that uses 99% less land and water resources than other algae growth methods​ and yields algae made from 100% renewable resources, such as waste-stream CO2 and glacial melt water​. 
  • The production process also features other unique assets of the Icelandic home base as well, like natural geothermal resources for heating, cooling and green energy. 
  • Örlö’s sustainability measures extend to the packaging which includes a reusable, recyclable glass bottle for consumers to refill. There is no secondary packaging and shipping materials are post-consumer recycled content that use algae ink in place of soy or petroleum-based inks.  

Read more about Örlö’s sustainability efforts here.

Outstanding Foods is certified plastic neutral

“Outstanding Foods aims to be outstanding in everything we do, which includes providing snacks that are tasty and healthy while also packed with protein and nutrients. But being outstanding also means being an advocate for the environment. Studies show that a global shift to a plant-based diet can reduce greenhouse gasses caused by food production by 70%. By providing delicious, better-for-you and for the planet products, Outstanding Foods aims to make it easy for everyone to choose eco-conscious snacks without sacrificing flavor and fun. All Outstanding Foods are made with little waste incurred from the vegetables sourced for the products. Additionally, Outstanding Foods is certified plastic neutral, meaning that for every piece of plastic used by the company, another piece is removed from the ocean to neutralize the output. As a rePurpose Global partner, the company donates a percentage of every product to fund the collection of plastic from oceans and landfills. To date, Outstanding Foods has diverted 23,934 pounds of plastic waste from oceans and landfills and recovered 39,103 pounds of plastic.” 

Pasturebird disrupts animal agriculture

The company reports that 99% of modern poultry, including organic, free-range, and most pasture raised, is stationary, sedentary, and smelly. The company explained the problem and working solutions.
“Regenerative agriculture has tried to solve the multitude of issues stemming from factory farming—including animal welfare and environmental—and though a step in the right direction, large-scale solutions, especially in poultry, are still desperately needed. Pasturbird’s ARC, Automated Range Coop, is a 7,500-SF solar powered, floorless mobile structure that moves 6,000 chickens to fresh pasture every single day—in only five minutes—a major, much-needed disruption in animal agriculture. The ARC gives the chickens the benefits of living on and eating from fresh pasture while protecting them from predators and severe weather.
“These practices also importantly allow for consistent and even distribution of fertilization yielding significant regenerative agriculture outcomes, increased product nutrient density, and improved welfare for the animals and farmers. For context, most pastured poultry farms have 80-bird coops and it takes about 15 minutes per coop to feed and move them. With Pasturebird’s new mobile chicken structures, they can move 75x more birds in a third of the time than most other pasture raised poultry farms can move a single 80-bird coop.”

RedLeaf Biologics promotes sustainability from every angle

The company shares: “We harness a non-GMO sorghum varietal that we call RedNatural to produce remarkably bioactive plant compounds through traditional agriculture methods on US farms. RedNatural sorghum naturally accumulates these high-value compounds at a scale that cannot be replicated—the quantity of sorghum bioflavonoids produced by an acre of our crop would require hundreds of acres of wild-type sorghum bicolor.

“Furthermore, RedNatural is intrinsically drought tolerant and can be grown in a variety of climate and soil conditions, meaning it does not require excessive inputs or put undue stress on any one environment. And when our crop has reached maturity and is ready for harvest, the majority of the plant is able to be returned to the plot from which it was produced, supporting soil health and sequestering carbon. These properties allow us to produce our extracts in a way that is both efficient and sustainable while offering local farmers an economical alternative to monoculture corn or soy. However, RedLeaf’s commitment to sustainability does not end when our crop leaves the field. We utilize a proprietary water-based extraction method that yields a uniquely potent extract and a wide range of valuable and healthful co-products.”

Sami-Sabinsa practices respect biodiversity 

“The Sami-Sabinsa Group is a responsible science-based research and manufacturing company that has developed over 150 innovative and standardized botanical extracts, providing alternative and complementary natural ingredients for human nutrition and well-being,” shares Dr. Muhammed Majeed Founder & Group Chairman, Sami-Sabinsa Group. “Sabinsa has always been at the forefront of sustainable development practices that respect biodiversity and the environment. The innovative botanical cultivation efforts undertaken by the organization have earned Sabinsa global recognition and established its reputation as a truly environmentally conscious company. The company has received multiple honors for sustainability initiatives that set an example for the industry.”

Dr. Majeed reports that Sami-Sabinsa Group has undertaken these initiatives:

  • Fair trade programs with farmers around the world for botanical cultivation, including microfinancing guarantees and buy-back agreements.
  • Encouraging sustainability in the field and supporting regenerative agriculture and biodiversity across the natural products industry.
  • Innovative, award-winning reforestation program in Northeast India in which the State Government and Sami-Sabinsa Group are cooperating to preserve supplies of the Indian Kino tree.
  • Sami-Sabinsa has retained Dr. Anjanette DeCarlo as their Sustainability Consultant. She is specifically helping Sabinsa to source sustainable supplies of Frankincense,  also known as Boswellia gum. Her extensive experience on the African continent is helping the company sustainably source other items.

Stratum offers sustainably sources ingredients

Stratum Nutrition shares: “The word, sustainability, often evokes thoughts of environmental maintenance or balance; and as such, it is a worthy goal for food and nutritional supplement suppliers and manufacturers. However, some companies, such as Stratum Nutrition, go beyond environmental maintenance to betterment. Stratum Nutrition strives to market research-supported, efficacious ingredients that are produced in ways that don’t just have a neutral environmental effect – they have a positive impact.”  

A few examples of the company’s work: “Within the last 12 months, the production of NEM and ESC prevented about 7 million pounds of eggshells from ending up in landfills and converted them into nutritional ingredients with tremendous benefits to human health. Stratum also offers Ahiflower seed oil, a vegan multi-omega fatty acid ingredient that is sustainably grown on small farms in its native environment in England. The plant source for Ahiflower is attractive to bees and butterflies, and the harvested oil is an excellent source of omega-3s, preserving hundreds of thousands of pounds of omega-3-rich fatty fish that are vital food sources for marine animals. Even Stratum’s postbiotic, LBiome, indirectly has a positive environmental impact. LBiome provides the benefits of a prime digestive health probiotic with substantially longer shelf stability, resulting in much less waste. Effectiveness, safety, research-grounded and sustainable – Stratum’s ingredients have it all.”

Tate & Lyle commits to carbon net zero by 2050

“At Tate & Lyle, we’re proud to use our ingredient solutions that add taste, texture, nutrition and functionality to food and drink to help brands to develop healthier products, in line with public health goals,” says Anna Pierce, Director of Sustainability at Tate & Lyle. “Obesity and diabetes remain major public health challenges, but the climate change crisis continues to be society’s most significant long-term challenge. As a purpose-led organization, we are working to achieve ambitious environmental targets, including significant greenhouse gas emissions reductions in both our global manufacturing network and supply chain, with a commitment to be carbon net zero by 2050.

“We recognize that businesses across the food industry cannot drive change at the necessary scale or speed by working alone, and that innovative partnerships are essential to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Supporting sustainable agriculture is one way we can make a positive impact, which is why we established farmer outreach programs for two of our key agricultural raw materials, corn and stevia. By partnering with farmers and expert bodies to take a science and data-focused approach, we are helping them to secure a sustainable future for their businesses and communities, while meeting customer and consumer demand for responsibly sourced ingredients.”

True Grace defines sustainability as making decisions that positively impact the planet

From picking earth-friendly packaging to sourcing from like-minded suppliers, or supporting regenerative agriculture, True Grace prioritizes sustainability and focus on regeneration in all the company does. That includes:

  • “The regenerative agriculture piece is a huge one for us. We support this way of farming because it regenerates soil, restores food’s nutrient density, and locks climate-changing carbon underground. In fact, True Grace’s leadership team members were all instrumental in the regenerative agriculture movement long before they started True Grace—and they continue to champion the movement today. Creating a regenerative system that builds toward balance and resiliency doesn’t just apply to farming. It’s a way to do business. This is what we strive for at True Grace.”
  • “We’ve teamed up with Rodale Institute on a three-year project to give local farmers access to consulting to help them transition to regenerative agriculture. We plan on continuing to support these initiatives in order to help grow the supply chain of nutrient-dense ingredients that we can use in True Grace supplements.”
  • “Our supplements are packaged in bottles made using post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic and are meant to be refilled with our refill pouches made from plant-based materials. Each time someone purchases one of these bottles or pouches, plastic is pulled out of the ocean through our partnership with The ReSea Project.”

Unigen ensures its plant materials are renewable

“Unigen supports the responsible use of natural resources,” shares CEO, Dr. Qi Jia, Ph.D.  “We make it a priority to follow sustainability measures for the long-term well-being of the planet.”

The company is passionate about natural products through discovery and development of novel ingredients from natural sources. By working with its global suppliers and local plant material growers, Unigen ensures the plant materials are bountiful and renewable, explained Dr. Jia. The company has developed strong relationships with the raw materials suppliers and supports their growth and development.   

Unigen was recently awarded the EcoVadis Sustainability Silver Medal.  EcoVadis is one of the world’s largest and most trusted providers of business sustainability ratings, operating across 160 countries with a global network of more than 90,000+ companies. This independent sustainability assessment evaluated how well Unigen has incorporated sustainability principles into its business.

Wild Orchard helps people achieve better health while making a net positive impact on the planet 

The team at Wild Orchard believes that, to fight climate change, we must reach beyond sustainability. They share, “We must adopt a net positive perspective if we are going to push ahead and outpace the devastating climate patterns being witnessed globally.” Key points the company keeps in mind as they work toward their goals:
  • “Regenerative organic agriculture is a holistic approach that prioritizes soil health and is the cornerstone of our mission because it results in an elevated tea product in both taste and nutrition, while also addressing the global repercussions of climate change.”
  • “Regenerative farming is a scalable solution to climate change as it restores soil biology and sequesters carbon into the ground, and restores fragile ecosystems.”
  • “A shared vision that sets people and planetary health as foundational pillars will allow us to understand what can effectively address climate change. It’ll inspire us to respect natural habitats and be more mindful about how our individual lifestyle choices impact not only our health and those around us, but can also help re-balance our climate and restore ruined ecosystems.”
  • Every country and each community must meet the moment by doing everything we can to provide a future of hope for upcoming generations.”