Guest Blogger: Geoff Renstrom
As a food company, we recognize that we play a major role in the use of our earth’s natural resources. Globally, 86 percent of all consumed freshwater is used to grow food, so the choices we make when it comes to managing our water use can have a big impact, and we take the challenge of reducing our water footprint seriously.
Our commitment to cultivating a responsible food system has driven us to take a holistic approach to managing of our environmental impacts, including our impacts on water.
Water Resource Credits
This holistic approach begins by carefully measuring and monitoring our manufacturing footprint and setting goals for improvement. One of the ways we do this is by balancing portions of our water usage with water restoration certificates (WRCs). WRCs allow companies to offset their water use by funding water restoration projects. For each WRC purchased, 1,000 gallons of water is restored to critically dewatered rivers and water systems across the U.S.
In 2015, we balanced 45 percent of our global manufacturing water footprint through the purchase of WRCs from the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, an Oregon-based non-profit organization that supports water restoration programs and the development of new sources of renewable energy. Since 2009, our WRC commitments, many of them benefitting key areas within our supply chain, have restored more than 1.9 billion gallons of water.
We are also a charter sponsor of BEF’s Change the Course water stewardship campaign. This effort aims to engage companies and individuals in conservation awareness, action, and replenishment of freshwater ecosystems. Our financial support has helped the campaign restore more than 5 billion gallons of water through 17 new restoration projects across seven states.
Putting Water to Work
In addition to our purchase of WRCs, we’re also focused on efforts to better manage our water use in the production of our products.
One of these projects is in place at our Mt. Crawford, Virginia manufacturing facility. In 2015, we completed the first phase of a two-phase wastewater treatment project at the plant. Specifically, we put a process into place that allows more than half of the water used by the plant’s cooling tower to be cleaned and put to use in other parts of the facility.
The project reduced the plant’s demand on available water by 7 million gallons in the first three months of operation. In turn, this has shrunk the plant’s water footprint by 10 percent, which is the equivalent of 4 million individual showers!
The two examples above are just some of the ways we’re working to optimize and manage our water footprint in ways that promote environmental stewardship and ensure we are doing our part to help replenish America’s freshwater ecosystems. We’re committed to continuing to work with our suppliers and within our own operations to reduce our water usage and protect the high-quality freshwater that is integral to sustaining our environment for generations to come.
We’re now halfway through Share What We Do Well month at WhiteWave and employees from around Colorado have already participated in a variety of activities. Share What We Do Well Month truly embodies the spirit of WhiteWave — it’s all about empowering employees to bring their passion and skills to the causes they care about most. This is the 6th year in which most of our employees have taken paid time off to help feed the hungry, build playgrounds, pitch in at animal shelters, work with children, provide support to the homeless, and preserve our open parks spaces. In fact, last year, 97 percent of employees from our corporate offices, plants and regional sales offices spent time volunteering with non-profit or value-driven organizations in their communities.
At WhiteWave, we understand that a better future won’t create itself, so we work hard to give back to the places that give so much to others. Our communities are our partners, and by taking care of each other, we can show the world a better way. To learn more, check our short video about empowering employees.
World Food Day is Sunday, October 16 and this year’s theme is, “Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too.” The UN Food and Agriculture Organization says that in order to meet growing food demands, agriculture and food systems need to become more resilient, productive and sustainable to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.
We couldn’t agree more. At WhiteWave, we realize that human and environmental health are interconnected. That’s why we partner with organizations to promote resource conservation and sustainable agriculture, to build a culture of responsibility and show the world a better way. The month of October is also Share What We Do Well Month, company-wide initiative dedicated to volunteering. We leverage the scale of our business to give back to the communities in which we live and work to ensure access to healthy, nutritious foods and beverages for everyone.
In honor of World Food Day and Share What We Do Well Month, we would like to highlight just a few of our local partners dedicated to alleviating hunger in our community:
- Community Food Share: We have a longstanding partnership with Community Food Share (CFS), a Feeding America food bank that distributes to those in need in Boulder and Broomfield counties in Colorado. Since 2006, WhiteWave has donated approximately 12 million pounds of product to CFS. Additionally, every year WhiteWave participates in the Compete to Beat Hunger Corporate Challenge – our dedicated annual fundraising event and a key initiative within CFS. Our contributions last year alone allowed us to provide more than 1.5 million meals to those in need.
- Growing Gardens: WhiteWave is a proud sponsor of the Growing Gardens Orchard, a Boulder-based nonprofit, and supports their mission of enriching lives in the Boulder community through sustainable urban agriculture. WhiteWave continues to be a sponsor of the annual Cultiva Farm Dinner. This summer celebration and fundraiser casts the spotlight on the Growing Gardens’ Cultiva Youth Project. It is a collaboration of all-star chefs joining to support the Cultiva Youth Project with their creation of an enchanting selection of one-of-a-kind appetizers, signature dishes, and memorable desserts—all paired with wine and beer. Organic produce and herbs grown on the Cultiva farm are incorporated into gourmet appetizers, a five-course sit-down dinner and dessert. Locally raised meats, cheeses, grains and other ingredients are donated by our event sponsors. The program offers educational opportunities for gardeners of all ages and provides food for community-based food share programs benefiting low income families.
- Food Bank for the Rockies: Food Bank of the Rockies, a local food bank and member of Feeding America, provides food for more than 411,000 people annually, by distributing 131,000 meals daily through more than 500 hunger relief partner agencies and the organization’s direct service programs. WhiteWave volunteers have helped sort, organize, and pack donated food in the distribution area of Food Bank for the Rockies’ warehouse.
We strongly believe our purpose is about much more than providing great tasting, responsibly-produced food. We volunteer our time and passion because we want to build stronger communities and address key environmental concerns like reducing food waste. Now more than ever, an innovative approach to business that balances growth and sustainability is critical to changing the way the world eats for the better.
At WhiteWave, we take a holistic approach to sustainability that includes nurturing the health of our bodies, our planet and our community. One of the key pillars of our sustainability strategy is Cultivating a Responsible Food System.
To us, this means embedding sustainability in every product, via the use of sustainable agriculture, efficient operations and innovative design. To learn more about how we do this, and why we feel it’s so important, check out this short video , the first in a three part series that we’ll be sharing over the next couple of weeks about each of our three sustainability pillars.
At WhiteWave, we empower our employees to live their personal values, and the company’s values, through engagement in areas like volunteerism, community activism and commitments to better themselves and the environment.
One way we make a difference in our communities is through Share What We Do Well Month. This is the seventh year we have organized the company-wide volunteer initiative that takes place throughout the month of October. We are proud to share that in 2015, 97 percent of employees from our corporate offices, plants and regional sales offices participated in volunteer activities ranging from stocking food banks to pitching in at community gardens and animal shelters. In total, more than 30 nonprofits in 15 cities were supported by our volunteers.
Share What We Do Well Month truly embodies the spirit of WhiteWave. We believe our communities are our partners, and by taking care of each other, we can show the world a better way. We will be posting news and photos from our various excursions throughout this month, so be sure to check back with us for updates.
What exactly do we mean when we say we want to “Change the Way the World Eats for the Better”? It’s not just about producing great-tasting food (though that is important!) Ultimately, it’s about doing so in a way that’s better for people, our communities and our planet. Not only do we want consumers to enjoy our products, but we also want to be a company people trust.
Changing the Way the World Eats for the Better means looking across our entire value chain for ways we can improve our commitment to producing food responsibly. It means embedding sustainability in every product, which encompasses things like working with our suppliers to address commodity challenges, creating more sustainable and innovative packaging, becoming more efficient in our manufacturing facilities, and making progress in our sustainable cocoa and palm oil sourcing and against our environmental footprint goals (you can read more about these specific goals and our progress against them here.
Changing the Way the World Eats for the Better means advancing transparency. We want to demonstrate openness and integrity in both our labeling and how we report on our environmental impacts. In 2015, we were added to the CDP’s Climate Disclosure Leadership Index for the quality of our carbon emissions and energy disclosures. We also want consumers to understand what’s in the food and beverages they eat and drink. Nearly 75 percent of our brand portfolio carries either non-genetically modified organisms (Non-GMO) Project or ProTerra-verified seals, or is certified organic.
Changing the Way the World Eats for the Better means leading by example, inspiring positive change and empowering our employees. When we push ourselves to change for the better, we show our partners, suppliers and communities a better way as well. Most notably, in 2015 we donated more than 2 percent of our pretax profit to organizations dedicated to making a difference in hunger relief and environmental sustainability. Our employees themselves donated more than 11,000 volunteer hours globally. Our suppliers must not source materials that contribute to the deforestation of high conservation value areas or interfere with the habitats of endangered species.
Changing the Way the World Eats for the better isn’t just a tagline – it represents our commitment to cultivating a responsible food system, illuminating better options for consumers and empowering our employees. To learn more about WhiteWave and what makes us different, click here.
Huge thanks to everyone who participated and donated to the Greenhouse Scholar’s raffle this week. WhiteWave successfully raised $500 for the education-based non-profit organization. Also a big congratulations to all the riders – what a great achievement for a great cause! Each dollar raised/donated will go to help support, inspire, and drive extraordinary, but under-resourced college students to truly change the trajectory of their families and low-income communities forever.Image By: Greenhouse Scholars
Recently, Karyl Innis from the Innis Company, led a discussion at WhiteWave around women and leadership, specifically, what often inhibits women’s career growth and/or promotions, factors at play throughout a woman’s career, and 8 solutions to start implementing today to grow your leadership. Innis works with leading organizations worldwide to enable executive and corporate employees to build stronger, more distinguished careers.
While women are in the “pipeline” to success they have they often come up against three potential issues that Innis terms the “leaky pipeline effect”:
1.The inability to enter 2. Getting stuck in the middle 3. Being locked out at the top
Karyl Innis’ 8 Solutions to Prevent the Leaky Pipeline Effect and Grow Your Leadership:
1. Get Comfortable with Power- Pursue power and use it as a tool.
2. Be Intentional- Know what you are seeking and ask for it.
3. Face Your Fears- Don’t be afraid to do what is uncomfortable, those are the times you grow the most.
4. Identify and Build Strategy- Network and build relationships with those that will provide resources and support for professional/career growth.
5. Act With Power- Don’t think of power as a negative manipulative force, instead use your confidence/ presence to better position yourself for success.
6. Don’t Cede the Hill- Don’t surrender your power by giving up too soon, instead take on the hill one step at a time.
7. Practice- We’ve all heard “practice makes perfect.” That maxim applies to leading too. Practice your leadership traits and give yourself time to grow into your new or future role.
8. Leverage your Individual and your Collective Power- After you identify and get comfortable with your power, utilize it alongside the power of those in your circle/network to better leverage yourself.
In preparation for the upcoming Venus de Miles ride, Keith Bailey from Pearl Izumi share his best tips for fueling up for a ride and top necessities with our team. His experience includes personal training, being the captain of the Bike Medical MS Safety Team, and competing for charities across the country.
Before the ride
- A 1% drop in hydration adversely affects performance, making adequate water intake leading up to the ride crucial
- Your pre-ride meal should have a balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. For high endurance rides, Keith recommended a pre-ride meal with ingredients like oats and quinoa, egg, nuts, berries and bananas.
During the Ride
- Water to start and water throughout, targeting a rate of 16 oz per hour
- Avoid hard foods/bars during ride
- Use sugar and electrolyte supplements to provide instant and sustained energy during your ride, such as Vega’s sports gels
- Try to avoid ‘coasting’ during your ride, remember, a body in motion stays in motion! When you stop peddling or moving around (even at rest stops) your mind thinks you’re done, its starts to tell your body and muscles it doesn’t have to work anymore. Trying to get going again after that only makes it feel like your starting all over.
- After you cross the finish line its important to replace lost nutrients. For this Keith recommends having a protein shake along side a meal balanced with protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
- Keith’s motto, “H20 till you go”, is the easiest way to manage your water intake and assure your getting enough after your ride
- Take a nap! Sleeping is when the recovery process begins and your body can strengthen itself and repair any damage.
And a Few Gear Tips and Riding Essentials
-Remember to replace helmets after EVERY crash and at least every two years
-Always carry a patch kit, Keith’s kit has a tire iron, CO2 cartridge, multi-tool and sunblock
-Cycling shoes are recommended to increase the use of your up stroke and to provide the fullest circular motion while riding
-Absolutely no headphones, not only will you not be able to hear traffic but it also throws off your balance
-Wear a Road ID, this can be in the form of a wrist band and/or an app in your cell phone. Be sure to include any medical or emergency contact information
-As a rule of thumb, flashing lights are best for roadways while solid lights are best used on paths