These days, consumers are increasingly interested in the environmental and social responsibility of the companies that manufacture their favorite products. Public companies must answer to shareholders and have largely adopted transparent reporting initiatives that detail their corporate responsibility. Food and drink manufacturers that depend on raw materials – like fruits and vegetables – are committed to environmental stewardship programs that ensure consistent supplies of produce.
Juice manufacturer Odwalla contributes to farmland conservation and keeps 99% of its fruit and vegetable waste out of the landfill. Operating as a closed-loop system, the company uses an anaerobic digestion system on wastewater resulting from the juicing process to reduce the amount of wastewater effluents. Interestingly, beer producer Sierra Nevada provides feed for dairy and beef cows through the spent grain, hops and yeast collected after brewing.
While food and beverage manufacturers’ environmental stewardship is laudable, an environmental conscious helps to ensure a consistent supply of quality produce. By offering free land to local farmers, Odwalla is able to source much of its fruits and vegetables locally – benefiting both juice quality and the vitality of local communities. Ice cream maker Häagen Dazs recently began a honey bee conservation program. Since many of its fresh fruit ingredients depend on honeybee pollination, it makes sound business sense to aid in the honey bees’ plight.
Environmentally and socially conscious consumers now have many sustainable options when choosing foods and beverages. Check out company websites for details on environmental and social practices. Many sites, such as Odwalla.com, are both entertaining and informative. As more companies realize both the fiscal and intangible benefits of greener operations, we will likely see an increase in the number of eco-friendly foods and beverages – a plus for the consumer and for the planet.