Honeybear Brands sets high-impact sustainability goals
Elgin, Minn. – Protecting the planet and producing the best crop possible is of the upmost importance to Honeybear® Brands, a leading grower, packer and developer of premium apples. Honeybear is taking steps to become an industry leader in sustainability by introducing bold goals to effectively tackle some of the biggest challenges facing their business.
“Sustainability has always been a part of doing business for Honeybear Brands. Our intent is to lead the industry, and we are committed to achieving our sustainability initiatives by our targeted timeline,” says Don Roper, vice president sales and marketing, Honeybear Brands. “Our goals are aggressive, but we believe it’s our responsibility to be stewards of the land. It’s important to act now, and we hope to inspire others to set and achieve their sustainability goals too.”
Working with the Sustainable Food Group®, Honeybear Brands has identified opportunities in four key realms of sustainability: pollinator health; packaging; food loss and waste; and climate and energy. The existing Honeybear Brands TruEarth™ certification program has been adopted and actively implemented for more than ten years. The certification is focused on best grower practices and these four goals will touch all operations, taking the sustainability journey to a higher level. Honeybear Brands has set 5- and 10-year goals for implementation.
Pollinators are responsible for one in every three bites of food, but their populations are dramatically declining. There is a need to help pollinator populations thrive for the future of the farming and food industry. Honeybear Brands will be implementing pollinator conservation practices on 100 percent of US orchards supplying their fruit and increasing pollinator abundance including developing 50 acres of pollinator habitat by 2025. This increase in pollinator habitat will positively impact native pollinator abundance and is crucial to apple production.
Plastic packaging can be handy, but studies show it takes hundreds of years to break down and only a small amount is recycled. Retailers and producers have been looking at alternatives that can help reduce waste. Honeybear brands has set a goal to use zero plastic in Honeybear branded packaging by 2030. The company is exploring a variety of options to reach the goal, including packaging made from renewable energy and compostable alternatives.
Food Loss and Waste
Food loss and waste happens along the entire supply chain and many retailers have zero waste goals. Honeybear Brands currently diverts a lot of their unsellable fruit to other avenues, but by 2025 they aim to achieve zero food waste (to landfill) from farm to retail. The company is already utilizing other options for diversion such as juicing, animal feed and composting.
Climate and Energy
According to the EPA, 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions came from the agricultural industry in 2018. Though field-grown fruit has the second lowest climate impact of all food and livestock production, there is still room lower emissions. Honeybear brands will be carbon neutral by 2040 by sourcing 100% of electricity used at Honeybear Brand facilities from renewable sources by 2025 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions 15% in Honeybear Brands’ operations by 2030.