Zespri reveals sustainability initiatives

For fresh produce marketing in Australia and New Zealand
Tom Joyce

BY TOM JOYCE

@tomfruitnet

Zespri reveals sustainability initiatives

The kiwifruit marketer has unveiled a host of future plans to minimise the impact of its operations on the environment

Zespri reveals sustainability initiatives

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New Zealand kiwifruit supplier Zespri this week released its latest report analysing the company’s current strategies to minimise the effect of its operations on the environment and detailing future plans.

“Our focus on sustainability continues to gain momentum due to increased awareness of the need to nurture the environment,” the company stated, “ensuring we look after our greatest resource.”

Zespri collaborated with the New Zealand Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry to create a comprehensive carbon footprint of New Zealand kiwifruit in order to determine the company’s impact on the environment.

According to the results, orchard operations made up 17 per cent of total emissions; packhouse and coldstore processes accounted for 11 per cent; shipping represented 41 per cent; repacking and retailer emissions accounted for 9 per cent; and consumer consumption and disposal made up 22 per cent.

Actions for 2010 include prioritising and implementing initiatives to reduce emissions, the company revealed. In terms of production, Zespri is reportedly encouraging biodiversity by planting native plants, minimising fertiliser use and managing water supplies.

A three-year soil carbon study has also been set up to understand the implications of various orchard management techniques on soil carbon levels.

In terms of packing and storage, numerous programmes are reportedly underway to improve efficiency and minimise energy use. According to Zespri, there is the potential to reduce coldstore power use by over 10 per cent.

The company is also working with its suppliers to develop innovations in packaging, including the use of compostable and biodegradable materials.

The biggest cause of emissions, shipping, is being tackled by a number of actions, including the 100-per-cent use of reefers, the optimisation of routes and the use of strategic ports.

Zespri is currently undertaking trials on new container temperature management software, which could lead to energy and emission savings of up to 20 per cent, the company revealed.

“This is an ongoing journey,” Zespri stated, “but with strong foundations in sustainability we are well positioned to ensure we continue growing and marketing the highest quality kiwifruit, and that our environment is protected for future generations.”

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