Today is World Water Day, and consistent with our mission to Change the Way the World Eats for the better, we want to acknowledge both the water challenges we face in the world and our commitments to drive positive change in how our business can impact water security and conservation.
At WhiteWave, we believe strongly in the responsibility to take care of people and the planet, and water conservation is a big part of this commitment. More than 663 million people in the world are living without a clean and safe water supply close to home. The UN created World Water Day to help draw attention to and address this global issue.
Water conservation also hits close to home for us since high-quality freshwater is a key resource to cultivate crops, for use as an ingredient, and as a component of the food manufacturing process. By reducing the amount of water we use to make our products, we can create a more efficient and sustainable business model that not only benefits the environment, but also helps to keep our products affordable.
In 2016, we developed a climate and water policy that outlines our position and commitments in these areas. One of these commitments is to reduce water intensity (gallons per pound of product) by 20 percent, from a 2013 baseline, by 2025. And, we’re making good progress. From 2006-2013, we reduced water intensity by 6 percent. From 2013- 2015, water intensity has been reduced 7 percent.
Some of our water-related initiatives include:
- Balancing portions of our footprint with Water Restoration Certificates (WRCs). We balance 100 percent of our water footprint from our North American manufacturing through these WRCs. And, in 2015, we balanced 45 percent of our global manufacturing water footprint through the purchase of WRCs from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). For each WRC purchased, 1,000 gallons of water is restored to critically dewatered rivers and water systems across the U.S. Since 2009, we’ve restored more than 3.6 billion gallons of water across eight states.
- Supporting BEF’s Change the Course water stewardship campaign. This effort engages companies and individuals in conservation awareness, action and replenishment of freshwater ecosystems. We’ve helped to restore more than 5 billion gallons of water through 17 restoration projects in seven states.
- Conserving water at our Mt. Crawford, Virginia manufacturing plant. In 2015, we completed the first phase of a wastewater treatment project where more than 55 percent of the water consumed by the plant’s cooling tower (more than 35 million gallons per year) can now be reused. And, this is just one example of many initiatives we have in place to reduce our water footprint at our manufacturing facilities.
We’re also marking this World Water Day by donating over 4,000 gallons of Horizon Organic milk to the people of Flint, Michigan. This community has been fighting for clean and safe water for the past two years, and our WhiteWave team hopes this small donation will help nourish this community in a time of need.
You can learn more about how to participate in World Water Day and make a difference here: http://www.worldwaterday.org/.
We’re happy to report that it was another exciting and successful year for WhiteWave at Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products expo.
This year, our entire family of brands, including Earthbound Farm, Horizon, Silk, Simply Pure, Sir Bananas, So Delicious Dairy Free, STōK, Vega and Wallaby, were all in attendance. They shared and sampled an array of on-trend products to help meet the needs of today’s natural and organic consumer.
Here’s a quick look at a few of the new products shared at the show:
- Earthbound Farm Organic Chopped Salad Kits: These salad kits, full of premium, flavor-forward organic ingredients, have everything you need in one bag for a seriously delicious ready-to-eat salad.
- Horizon Organic Good & Go! Cheese Snacks: With real organic nutrition and five or more grams of protein, these new snack combos are a deliciously easy way to keep kids going.
- Simply Pure Sweet & Creamy: This tasty coffee creamer is made with real milk, cream and cane sugar, and contains no artificial flavors, colors or high-fructose corn syrup.
- Silk Protein & Nutmilk: With the goodness of almonds and creaminess of cashews, Silk Protein Nutmilk packs 10 grams of protein per serving from 100% peas.Sir Bananas: Every serving of Sir Bananas bananamilk contains real bananas and seven grams of protein. Plus, it has eight essential nutrients and is made without high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, sweeteners or colors.
- So Delicious Dairy Free Almondmilk Coffee Creamer: These delectably smooth creamers are available in six flavors and made using only organic, Non-GMO Project Verified nuts.
- STōK Un-Sweet Cold Brew Coffee This cold brew is steeped at a lower temperature for 10 hours to bring out every drop of smooth, bold, one-of-a-kind SToKness.
- Vega Protein+ Shake: With ingredients made from real, plant-based foods, Vega Protein+ Shake is a ready-to-drink, delicious way to start the day.
- Wallaby Organic Whole Milk Greek Yogurt: This new whole milk yogurt offers a slightly richer taste that is further complemented by the blending of premium organic fruit throughout each cup, offering consistent flavor in every spoonful.
In addition to sampling a variety of new products, we also hosted a Bee Friendly Green Kiosk at the show. The Kiosk was in support of the Bring Back the Pollinators program in partnership with The Xerces Society, which works to protect invertebrates and their habitats. When show attendees visited the kiosk, they were encouraged to pledge to support pollinators. In exchange, they were give a complementary seed packet and $5 was donated to The Xerces Society.
We were thrilled to be among the 70,000+ industry professionals in Anaheim, Calif. that share our passionate outlook on changing the food industry for the better. As always, we had a blast engaging with our peers, consumers and friends. We are already looking forward to Expo West 2018!
We are excited to be partnering with the Climate Collaborative , launching at Natural Products Expo West, the world’s largest natural, organic and healthy products event.
The Climate Collaborative is a three-year joint partnership between One Step Closer, an Organic and Sustainable Community (OSC2) and the Sustainable Food Trade Association which leverages the power of the natural products industry and takes bold action to reverse climate change.
The Collaborative is comprised of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, suppliers and other concerned businesses from the natural food industry. These companies, like us, are invited to make commitments in at least two focus areas and report annually on results. The focus areas include: agriculture, energy productivity, food waste, forests, packaging, policy, renewable energy, short-lived climate pollutants and transportation.
At WhiteWave, we’ve made commitments in the following three areas:
Forests: To remove commodity-driven deforestation from supply chains
Energy Productivity: To increase energy productivity
Food Waste: To reduce food waste in the supply chain
The Collaborative is aiming to have commitments from 100 companies in its first year. Together, with these other brands, we’ll work with the Collaborative to create pathways to action, connecting companies to resources and creating solutions.
Supporting the Climate Collaborative fits seamlessly with our ongoing commitment to reducing our environmental impact. Specifically, we have plans in place to address and reduce our water use, greenhouse gas emissions and waste to landfill.
By partnering with other innovators who set the bar high and inspire others, we can work together to minimize environmental impact and to create a better future for us all.
We invite you to check out more about the Climate Collaborative here: http://www.climatecollaborative.com/.
We are strongly committed to growing, packaging and delivering products in ways that support farmers, respect natural ecosystems, and care for workers throughout our supply chain. Our Supplier Code of Conduct clearly outlines our expectations in these efforts. Specifically, the Supplier Code of Conduct sets forth the standards we expect from our suppliers in three key areas:
- Business Ethics and Compliance – We believe that the quality of our products depends on the integrity of our business and the organizations we partner with. This includes legal compliance, quality and technical compliance, innovation partnerships and good corporate citizenship.
- Employee and Labor Relations – We are not only focused on protecting the earth’s natural resources, but all the individuals throughout the supply chain. This includes compliance, conditions, employee rights & safety, human rights non-discrimination and diversity & inclusion.
- Environmental Management – We understand that responsibly-produced foods are about more than just health and safety, and our sustainable practices are a part of our DNA and are the cornerstone of our business model. This includes environmental compliance, animal welfare, sustainable agriculture, responsible manufacturing and habitat & biodiversity.
Two examples of how we’ve used these guidelines to take action in our supply chain include our sourcing of sustainable palm oil and cocoa:
- Sustainable Palm Oil – All WhiteWave liquid creamers containing palm oil are now sourced according to rules set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, an international organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development of palm oil.
- Sustainable Cocoa – As of the end of last year, all cocoa powder in WhiteWave’s plant-based, dairy and creamer products within the Americas Foods & Beverages segment is now sustainably sourced using UTZ, an independent certification program for the responsible production of cocoa.
Our approach to sourcing the almonds used in many of our plant-based food and beverage products is another example of our responsible sourcing principles in action. Most of these almonds come from the Central Valley of California, one of the most water-stressed regions in the country. To help address this issue, we support 17 watershed restoration projects in water-stressed regions of the country, including projects in California’s San Juaquin Basin. To-date, these projects have restored more than 5 billion gallons of water to the region. Additionally, recognizing that California’s almond industry is also highly dependent on pollinators, we proudly partner with the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization that conserves and protects bees and other pollinators.
Our dedication to responsible sourcing ensures that we are producing food sustainably and ethically, with an eye toward protecting the earth’s natural and human resources. We expect and appreciate the support of our supplier partners in this commitment.
At WhiteWave, we’re passionate about giving back to the local communities where we live and work. It’s a part of what we do to empower our employees to live our values and to reinforce a culture of caring.
One of the ways we bring this passion to life is through our work with hunger relief organizations. Our business is food, which makes this cause particularly meaningful and important to us. We believe that everyone should have access to better-for-you foods and beverages, and we’re proud to support this belief through food donations, volunteer hours and financial contributions.
In 2016 alone, we donated more than 2 percent of pretax profits to make a difference in hunger relief and environmental sustainability. Plus, we provided over 2.78 million meals to Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief organization.
On a local level, our longest standing relationship is with Community Food Share (CFS), a Feeding America food bank serving Boulder and Broomfield counties in Colorado, where our headquarters is located. Since 2006, WhiteWave has donated 12 million pounds of product to the CFS. Our biggest contribution to CFS each year comes through our participation in the “Compete to Beat Hunger” Corporate Challenge, where we match donations dollar-for-dollar to help supply meals to people in need. Last year, we donated more than $200,000 to CFS during the challenge, which provided more than 600,000 meals.
Our ongoing commitment to hunger relief is one way our value of “Share What We Do Well” comes to life, and it’s our employees who make this happen. We’re incredibly grateful for their generous spirits and dedication to giving back to their local communities. It echoes throughout our company and makes for a stronger and more inspired workplace.
More about our hunger relief efforts can be found in our latest corporate social responsibility report: http://www.whitewave.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/WhiteWave-CSR-2014_2015-Full-Report.pdf.
Supporting hunger relief efforts is a philanthropic focus area for us at WhiteWave. We’re passionate about ensuring access to better-for-you foods, including in Colorado where we’re headquartered.
Taking this to heart, we spread a little extra love yesterday on Valentine’s Day. Our very own WhiteWave team member Jessica Sibila helped to host a mobile food pantry where all five Feeding Colorado food banks teamed up to provide those in need with nutritious food options.
The mobile pantry featured healthy items like potatoes, cereal, bread, apples and soup. For our part, we provided gallons of Horizon Organic milk and some of our shelf-stable Silk Almondmilk.
In just one day, we helped serve 146 households with 46 seniors, 88 children and 309 adults. In addition to feeding hundreds, the mobile food panty was strategically positioned in front of the Colorado State Capitol to engage state legislators with the goal of raising awareness around Feeding Colorado and the collective impact we all make in hunger relief.
If you would like to help support a local food bank near you, Feeding America has some great suggestions for how to get involved.
As a food company, we have a responsibility – to consumers, the planet, and future generations – to protect our natural resources in the face of climate change and growing environmental pressures like water scarcity.
In our CSR Report and video, we discussed Cultivating a Responsible Food System and how water use is a key metric as a pillar of our overall Sustainability Strategy. High-quality freshwater is a critical element of cultivating crops, as an ingredient in our products, and as a component in our manufacturing process. We also know that because water is a finite natural resource – with nearly 90% of all consumed freshwater being used to grow food – the choices we make can have a big impact on the global water supply.
That’s why we’ve expanded our commitment to responsible agricultural water use through a new partnership – the Ag Water Challenge, a collaborative initiative organized by nonprofit organizations Ceres and World Wildlife Fund (WWF). As part of the Challenge, we’ve worked with Ceres and WWF to assess our water risks in agricultural supply chains and set new commitments in water stewardship.
These commitments include:
• Developing a road map to agricultural water stewardship that addresses shared water challenges facing our key commodities (dairy, soy, almond and produce, specifically) in areas of greatest risk; and
• Engaging in policy advocacy to strengthen water management in our priority sourcing regions, including the Colorado River system and California.
And while we’ve already made great progress in reducing water use in our facilities and across our supply chain, the AgWater Challenge is an important way to continue these efforts and further influence global agricultural water use beyond our own four walls.
At WhiteWave, we have always been committed to reducing our environmental impact. In fact, “Integrity to Produce Food Responsibly” is one of our six core values. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is one way we strive to make good on this value.
We believe taking action to help curtail our greenhouse gas emissions is simply the right thing to do as a responsible corporate citizen. Specifically, we have committed to reducing our greenhouse gas intensity 20 percent by 2025, using 2013 as the baseline. And it’s not just taking action that’s important to us. It’s also about sharing information, being honest and transparent in how we’re reducing impact.
It’s commitments like these that helped us earn a top position within the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), which scores and ranks companies based on the level of transparency in disclosing carbon emissions and energy data. In 2016, we received a rating of an A- based on our level of disclosure. Our scores reflect WhiteWave’s transparency in the sharing of climate change-related information, allowing people to assess corporate accountability and preparedness for changing market demands and emissions regulations.
Climate change is a daunting challenge facing our food system. However, we believe we can make a meaningful impact by having a clear, measurable strategy to address our greenhouse gas emissions. And, while our CDLI score is something we’re proud of, we know there’s much more to be done. It’s not only in our best interest to actively manage our environmental footprint, but also in the best interest of our planet.
If you would like to learn more about our environmental stewardship efforts, we welcome you to check out our latest corporate social responsibility report: http://www.whitewave.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/WhiteWave-CSR-2014_2015-Full-Report.pdf.
Entering a new year is a great time to pause for reflection on the past year, and look ahead toward opportunities to grow, learn and advance our mission and values in the months ahead. Our mission of “changing the way the world eats for the better,” coupled with our six core values, helps us to focus on doing work that makes a true impact in our communities and the world around us.
Looking to 2017, a time of exciting change for our company, we thought it was fitting to revisit our values. These values are simple, but deeply held, beliefs that were created by our employees. They define who we are, how we act and what is most important to us as an organization:
- Integrity to Produce Food Responsibly: Producing food responsibly means making better choices, even when people aren’t watching.
- Informality to Enjoy Our Work Together: No matter how much we grow or change, we must remember that this is a place where our doors are always open.
- Share What We Do Well: WhiteWave is committed to the environment and our communities. We must find new, innovative ways to use our company’s core skills to make an even bigger difference.
- Individuals Matter: We come to WhiteWave for the same reason – to personally make a difference in the future of this company.
- Passion to Lead: Each and every one of us must come to work every day with the simple goal of doing better than we did the day before.
- Courage to Learn and Grow: In a constantly changing world, we must bring a healthy ambition to our work, be nimble, adaptive, and always learning.
These values came to life in a variety of ways throughout 2016. Here are just a few examples:
Our value of “Share What We Do Well” is best exemplified in Share What We Do Well Month, a company-wide celebration of community giving. During SWWDWM each October, WhiteWave employees are given time-off to volunteer with non-profits in their communities. In 2016, 92 percent of North American WhiteWave employees participated in SWWDWM, supporting a variety of issues and causes in their communities. In total, more than 67 nonprofits in 26 locations across North America and Canada were supported by WhiteWave volunteers.
- The growth of our Employee Resource Groups during the past 12 months speaks to our value of “Individuals Matter.” These employee-powered groups focus on a variety of topics and issues, helping us to further embrace the power of individuals to make a difference in our company.
- This year, we also celebrated the launch of our most recent Corporate Social Responsibility report, which demonstrates the many ways we work to showcase our value of “Integrity to Produce Food Responsibly.” For example, in 2016 we fulfilled our promise to source 100 percent of the cocoa powder used to produce our North American brands. Additionally, we’ve grown in our progress towards positive environmental impacts, including seeing 78 percent of our total waste in 2015 diverted to composting, recycling or land-use applications.
These values will continue to serve as our guiding light in 2017 as we work together to make better food for a better world and a better future
The New Year is a great time to think about ways to change things up and make better choices, in ways both big and small.
A resolution many of us at WhiteWave are making this year is adopting a plant-based diet. We love the idea of making plants a core part of everyday meal prep in 2017.
And, a new report in the December 2016 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supports the benefits of this resolution. The report emphasizes that vegetarian and vegan diets are great for people of all ages, including kids and pregnant women. With a well-planned and balanced diet, studies have shown that vegetarians may have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Plant-based diets are also more environmentally friendly. According to the report, the production of plant-based products tends to use less water and fossil fuel resources, plus a lower amount of pesticides and fertilizers as compared to the production of conventional agriculture and dairy products.
Ultimately, plant-based nutrition is a better, more sustainable way to nourish people and the planet. And, people are taking notice. The popularity of plant-based products has continued to grow during the past several years. At WhiteWave, we’re proud to offer a variety of plant-based brands and products to meet consumer needs. Between our Silk, So Delicious, Alpro and Vega brands, there’s truly something for everyone and every eating occasion, all powered by plants.
It’s a great time to join the plant-based revolution by choosing products that are delicious and help create a more sustainable environment for future generations. Here’s to a greener 2017!