Chobani, Kikkoman Foods Inc., Schreiber Foods, Hillebrand, and Polar Beverages are the latest food and beverage companies to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance (FPSA/Alliance), a collaborative movement to boost food waste reduction and recycling, and expand renewable energy production across America. The Alliance, founded in 2020 by Vanguard Renewables, Unilever, Starbucks, and Dairy Farmers of America aims to avoid or eliminate food waste first and repurpose what can’t be eliminated into renewable energy via farm-based anaerobic digesters.
“The addition of these five national brands to the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is proof that the work we are doing to decarbonize the food and beverage industry is making an impression on industry leaders,” stated Neil H. Smith, CEO, Vanguard Renewables. “The FPSA is a group of like-minded companies committed to doing their part to help mitigate the climate crisis, and we look forward to working with our newest FPSA members to achieve our shared sustainability goals, to divert inedible organic waste and turn that into renewable natural gas.”
Chobani, headquartered in New York, is a food maker with a mission of making high-quality and nutritious food accessible to more people. Best known as America’s number one yogurt brand, Chobani is also the maker of numerous dairy and plant-based products including oatmilk, dairy- and plant-based creamers, ready-to-drink coffee and plant-based probiotics. In addition to creating good-for-you products, Chobani is also focused on leaving the planet better than how it was found.
Chobani’s sustainability goals include:
- Continuously find ways to reduce carbon emissions
- Be responsible stewards of water and other natural resources needed in food production
- Minimize the amount of waste that is sent to landfills
- Use recyclable materials across all product packaging
- Source high-priority ingredients from sustainable sources
“We are creating a food system for the future, with a purpose to improve the world around us,” said Mark Broadhurst, Vice President, Impact & Advocacy, Chobani. “We are also deeply committed to playing an active role in this transformation for the betterment of our planet, our people, and our communities. We view our membership in The Alliance as a way for us to share our common goals and ideas with our partners. We don’t just want to check boxes but make a real and impactful difference. We are excited to join this Farm Powered movement.”
Kikkoman Foods, Inc, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kikkoman Corporate, with its U.S. headquarters in Wisconsin, and is the world’s leading manufacturer of soy sauce as well as other Asian-inspired products. They are deeply committed to keeping in harmony with the environment and have set long-term environmental goals to be achieved by 2030.
“We are honored to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance and share space with so many major brands that are committed to the same environmental goals that we are,” stated Mike Anderson, Environmental Health and Safety Supervisor, Kikkoman Foods Inc. “As a global company, we understand that our actions speak louder than words. We believe that joining this movement and being able to share best practices with colleagues from other companies will only help us each reach our unique sustainability targets.”
Kikkoman Foods Inc. “Long-Term Environmental Vision” by 2030 includes:
- Reducing CO2 emissions by 30%
- Reducing water consumption (per unit of production) by more than 30%
- Building a system to sustainably source ingredients
- Reducing waste in both production and sales
- All manufacturing facilities will have a 100% recycling rate
- Developing eco-friendly products throughout their value chain
Wisconsin-based Schreiber Foods has plants worldwide; it has made sustainability at home and abroad a strategic operational focus. As a global customer brand leader in cream cheese, natural cheese, process cheese, yogurt, beverages, and plant-based products, Schreiber understands the impact its sustainability actions have on a global scale. Its aggressive sustainability goals and programs are the foundation of how the company carries out its vision to do good through food. Schreiber is excited to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance and accelerate progress towards its sustainability goals, including its pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and maintain zero waste to landfill globally.
Schreiber means business when it comes to sustainability targets and has committed to:
- Reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 27%
- Pledged to reduce Scope 3 GHG emissions by 30% by 2030
- Reduce the amount of water, electricity, and the fuel used to power its operations year over year
Hillebrand is the leader in the global beverage logistics industry specializing in beer, wine, and distilled spirits. Its Keg Solutions & Supply Chain Services, headquartered in Texas, is one of 48 offices serving 90 countries. As a shipping and logistics company, they have a unique perspective on environmental impact, from their carbon footprint to the containers they use to ship bulk liquid around the globe.
They also work to provide their customers with environmental impact metrics so they can better understand their carbon footprint and look for ways to reduce their emissions. Additionally, their U.S.-based EcoBev service has helped beverage partners recycle their unsaleable products into biofuel. This was a vital service for brewers in the aftermath of the pandemic lockdown faced with managing millions of gallons of draft beer trapped in retail or various stages of the supply chain.
“When I learned about the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance from founding member, Vanguard Renewables, it became very clear we needed to participate in this alliance. For our customers, this is a way to facilitate lowering their carbon footprint and moving their sustainability goals forward when waste is unavoidable,” said Hillebrand’s Director of Supply Chain Services Malaina Hudson, CPIM.
She added, “This alliance plays an important role in helping our farmers produce their own energy, minimize chemical fertilizers, and generally improve the operating environment of the people who keep food on our tables.”
Hillebrand has set a series of tangible environmental goals:
- Pushing for a circular economy for all our equipment
- Partnering with organizations to protect and restore the planet
- Reducing carbon emissions per shipping container by 45% by 2025
- Ensuring that the containers used to ship bulk beverages are fully recyclable and are not sent to landfills
- Recovering and reusing at least 60 percent of bulkheads used in the shipping of products
- For every shipment, the company plants a tree, and to date, they have planted more than 688 million trees
- Created 6,400 Paid days off work for individuals in eight countries to help with the planting
Polar Beverages, based in Massachusetts, is a leader in sparkling water beverages as well as a regional bottler for other national brands. Polar has been owned and operated by the Crowley family for over 140 years and has amassed a loyal following for its sparkling beverages around the country. Polar recycles the wastewater from its manufacturing process at one of Vanguard’s six New England Farm Powered anaerobic digesters located on generational dairy farms. Additionally, Polar has purchased renewable energy generated from Vanguard’s Farm Powered process to power its manufacturing facility in Worcester, MA since 2015. As a result, Polar has a truly circular approach to their waste and energy management.
“If you’re reckless with natural resources it’s very expensive. What Vanguard Renewables is doing, it’s just spectacular. They’re combining food waste with cow waste and they’re gathering all this methane and they’re generating power. We couldn’t be more thrilled to join the FPSA and further our commitment to being stewards of the environment,” said Chris Crowley, Executive Vice President, Polar Beverages.
Polar Beverages' sustainability achievements and goals:
- Minimize raw materials, all of which are 100% recyclable
- Transitioned to Fridge-style packaging on 12 packs with no secondary tray or film eliminating 31% of potential wasted material
- Reduced 7% of PET material with the advent of a new finish and cap in 2011 and 50% PCR on 2 Liter Green Bottles
- Reduced water usage by over 75 thousand gallons per day with the goal of another 50 thousand gallons per day over the next 12 months
- Reduced miles driven for delivery by over 3.5 million miles over the past three years
- Purchases renewable energy to power their factory in Massachusetts
The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, named one of Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas, includes Unilever, Starbucks, Dairy Farmers of America, Vanguard Renewables, Stonyfield Organic, Cabot Creamery, Smithfield Foods, Food Tank (a leading NGO), and now Chobani, Kikkoman, Schreiber Foods, Hillebrand, and Polar Beverages. The Alliance offers U.S. food manufacturers and retailers a circular approach to reducing the detrimental environmental impacts of CO2 emissions and provides a pathway toward a carbon-neutral footprint. Members commit to recycle unavoidable food and beverage waste on farms where it is combined with farm manure in a Farm Powered® anaerobic digester to generate renewable natural gas (RNG). Hosting a Farm Powered anaerobic digester provides farm partners with a diversified income stream in addition to a by-product of the operation: a low-carbon fertilizer that host farms can spread in lieu of chemical fertilizers and which supports regenerative agriculture practices.
“If we are to reach the United States' ambitious goals to reduce net GHG emissions by 50 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, it is imperative that private industry lead the way. That is why we formed the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, and what our members are working towards every day,” says Smith.
Vanguard Renewables recently announced that a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets has acquired the company. BlackRock Real Assets will partner with Vanguard Renewables’ management team to build upon the company’s market-leading track record and drive its next phase of growth, including both its expansion of the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance and its plans to commission more than 150 anaerobic digesters to produce renewable natural gas across the country by 2026.