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Melinda and Novamont team up for circular bio-economy

Melinda and Novamont team up for circular bio-economy © Melinda and Novamont

© Melinda and Novamont


Melinda and Novamont have teamed up to launch a more sustainable form of packaging. Begun last October, general director of Melinda, Paolo Gerevini, said the strategy is aimed at defining “who we are and what we want to become”. The totally compostable solution for organic apples that comes from Melinda’s processing waste.

Managing director of Novamont, Catia Bastioli, said: “We thank Melinda and La Trentina for choosing to experiment with us on pioneering solutions to regenerate natural resources. This collaboration in the field of the circular bioeconomy allows us to learn by doing.”

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Asda unveils sustainability store

Asda unveils sustainability store
Photos: ASDA

UK retailer Asda has opened a new sustainability concept store. The first of what is planned to be a national project features product refill options, loose and unwrapped produce, and a pledge that “customers will not pay more for greener options”. The pilot store in Leeds, was accompanied by a new plastics reduction strategy that aims to remove 3 billion pieces of plastic from Asda’s own-brand products by 2025.

In a statement, Asda said that the initiative is aimed at helping shoppers reduce, reuse and recycle with ease. It estimates that the numerous initiatives being trialled in the Leeds store will save one million pieces of plastic per year. Asda has also announced the launch of “Greener at Asda Price”, a national price promise that loose and unwrapped products will not cost more than wrapped equivalents.

The sustainability store will feature:

  • 15 huge refill stations offering customers a selection of more than 30 household staples sold in refillable format.

  • 53 fresh produce lines in total sold in loose and unwrapped format including 29 new lines such as cauliflowers, mushrooms, apples, cabbages and baby plum tomatoes. In addition, all Asda plants and flowers are sold either unwrapped or with a paper wrapping.

  • Removal of the outer plastic wrapping on several popular Heinz and Asda Brand canned multipacks including beans and soups.

  • Recycling facilities for items that are difficult to recycle in kerbside collections such as crisp and biscuit packets, plastic toys, cosmetic containers and toothpaste tubes.

  • Asda’s first reverse vending machine for cans, plastic and glass drinks bottles and a hanger recycling facility that will be rolled out across all stores.

  • The store will also showcase sustainable fashion lines through George including clothing made from recycled polyester and coat hanger-less denim.

  • A new community zone for pop ups and partnerships with charities; the first is a three-month trial with the Salvation Army of a Drop and Shop outlet for customers to donate their unwanted clothing and bric-a-brac seven days a week.

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Adopt a Tree campaign aims to strengthen ties between consumers and Pink Lady® producers

Adopt a Tree campaign aims to strengthen ties between consumers and Pink Lady® producers
Photo: Pink Lady

On Saturday, October 24, the sponsors of Operation Adopt a Tree were in the orchards to harvest Pink Lady® apples. The Adopt a Tree campaign has been a resounding success over the  past two years, with consumers eager to better understand the origin of the products and to meet the Pink Lady® producers. This mechanism offers consumers the opportunity to sponsor a Pink Lady® tree in an orchard near their home. Thus, the 400 consumers who adopted a Pink Lady® tree last March received year-round live information from the producer on the apple cycle and came to pick their Pink Lady apples during the harvest.

Proximity and transparency are some of the key values ​​that have driven Pink Lady® since its inception. A true moment of sharing between consumers and passionate producers, this operation is in line with one of the four pillars of the Pink Lady® charter: the relationship with the consumer. The initiative will be renewed next season.


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Nature’s Pride and Berries Pride CO2 reduction targets acknowledged by Science Based Targets Initiative

Nature’s Pride and Berries Pride CO2 reduction targets acknowledged by Science Based Targets Initiative
Photo by Nature´s Pride

Nature’s Pride and Berries Pride are the first trading companies in the fruits and vegetables sector worldwide to have their greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets validated and approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative. By having this acknowledgement, the companies show that their climate goals are in line with the level of decarbonisation required to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and that they are taking the appropriate measures to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The Science Based Targets Initiative is a collaboration between CDP, the United Nations Global Compact (UN Global Compact), World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

In 2018 Nature’s Pride and Berries Pride did a baseline study of her CO2 emissions in order to understand where reduction measures needed to be taken. Based on this, they set measures to reduce their CO2 emissions with 1/3 by 2023. These measures are defined for their facilities, but also for transportation, more sustainable packaging and reduction of food waste. 

International network of ambitious companies

By having their targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative, Nature’s Pride and Berries Pride have joined a growing group of leading companies that are setting emissions reduction targets in line with what climate science says is necessary. By doing this, they want to motivate more companies in their sector to have their CO2 targets validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative. You can find more information can be found at:


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Sustainable vegetable production in Saudi Arabian desert under 80 hectares of glass

Sustainable vegetable production in Saudi Arabian desert under 80 hectares of glass
Photos:  Debets Schalke

Dava corporation, owned by the Al Batal family, recently signed a new deal with Debets Schalke for the expansion of Dava’s glasshouse facilities in the Al-Kharj region of Saudi Arabia. In response to increased demand for fresh premium quality vegetables, Dava corporation is announcing a series of greenhouse projects designed to provide sustainably farmed and locally grown vegetables. In 2019, Dava corporation entered into a partnership with Debets Schalke for a 44 hectares greenhouse complex. Together with the 36 hectares expansion, the firm will own 80 hectares of glass acreage. The deal is part of the Vision 2030 that contributes to sustainable developments in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

The Dava project, which will cover more than 80 hectares, is spread over 5 high technology greenhouse projects. At this moment the construction is in full swing. The first greenhouse project is almost complete and the second greenhouse project is at an advanced stage. Debets Schalke has started the engineering and delivering of the greenhouse materials for the other 3 greenhouse projects at the different locations in the AlKharj region. Groundwork is completed at these projects. 

Wim van Weele, sales export manager at Debets Schalke, said: “Plans for the massive expansion were already on the table before the CoVid19 outbreak. The global outbreak underlined the importance of food independence and food safety. Of course, the CoVid19 outbreak meant we also had to be inventive in order to remotely supervise the greenhouse project with an eye for detail. Working remotely requires extra attention to all parts of the greenhouse project. We also faced logistic challenges, but despite everything we managed to get everything to the different locations on time.” 

In the Netherlands alone,138 million euros worth of fruit and vegetables were exported to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2019. According to experts, global food production will have to double by 2050. Therefore, food safety is high on the KSA agenda, all the more so because local production is severely limited by a chronic freshwater shortage. 


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South African stone fruit targets greater sustainability

South African stonefruit targets greater sustainability
Photo: Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit

South Africa’s stone fruit sector is making great strides towards achieving greater sustainability. It is expected that by 2021, 60 stonefruit growers will have participated in the Siza (Sustainability Initiative of South Africa) environmental audit programme that aims to improve sustainability levels, ethical trade and environmental stewardship. Many farms have implemented best-practices such as measuring their water-use efficiencies, using satellite imagery to improve water management, implementing biological and organic farming practices, calculating their carbon footprints and making use of solar panels as an alternative energy resource.

As well as adhereing to international safety standards, farmers also have to comply with the more comprehensive and specific private and commercial standards that ensure an ongoing supply of safe, quality fruit for export markets. 

Meanwhile, the South African government is also encouraging female growers to succeed in the agricultural sector. In addition, PALS was established by fruit farmers with economic growth, job creation and social harmony as its principle goals. The organisation is working to ensure the establishment of successful black farmers as owners of the land: it involves the whole community in an inclusive process, and also provides mentorship and training programmes.

The sector has also launched the Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit marketing campaign to promote South African stone fruit in the UK market, with online promotions across the majority of UK retailers.


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Colombia promotes environmental and social sustainability certifications

Colombia promotes environmental and social sustainability certifications
Photos: ProColombia

“Today, the global trends suggest that sustainability in the life cycle of agri-food products must be shared by all links in the chain, by producers, industry, distribution channels and the consumer. In this sense, at ProColombia, we encourage the different agro-food exporting sectors of Colombia to gain environmental and social sustainability certifications, since international consumers and clients are increasingly aware of the importance of respecting the environment, natural resources. and, of course, people and animals,” said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia.

Two sectors that are heading in this direction are bananas and avocados. In Colombia, bananas are the third-largest agricultural export item after coffee and flowers, with shipments of more than 101 million 18.14 kg boxes in 2019, of which 79% went to the European market, 15 % to the United States, and the remaining 6% to smaller markets, where there has been a growing culture of sustainable consumption.

Bananas, a fair crop

The Colombian banana has several differentiating factors, including the organisation of the sector into unions. The main ones are AUGURA and ASBAMA, representing about 85% of the production for export. Likewise, there is a high level of compliance with certifications and voluntary sustainability standards (Voluntary Sustainability Standards -NVS14). In the agricultural sector, NVS are standards developed at the local, national or international level by public and private sector organisations for environmental and social improvements that promote sustainability throughout the value chain. In the banana sector, they define the criteria that the certified product or organisation must meet, often resulting in an identifiable seal for consumers. Linked to this is respect for workers’ rights. Employers and unions in the sector have opted for peaceful dialogue as a form of negotiation, with fair and transparent worker-employer relations, high levels of formalisation, as reflected in decent working conditions, such as the right to unionise, high wages, guarantees regarding housing, education, health, social security, and collective bargaining agreements, among others. Lastly, the sectors have made investments in the social development of communities and undertaken actions to take care of the environment.

Increased exports and certifications for avocados

As for the Colombian avocado, there has been unprecedented growth in recent years. While exports amounted to just US$107,918 (56 tons) in 2010, by 2019, sales abroad totalled US$89.1 million (44,570 tons). Between January and September 2020, exports of this fruit reached US$95 million, +34% compared to the same period of the previous year, and thus exceeding all exports for 2019. However, there has not only been an increase in exports, but also in the pace of certification. According to figures from NaturaCert, in 2019, 20,000 hectares of avocado were certified worldwide with the Rainforest Alliance seal, and Colombia had one of the highest growth rates: in 2018, it had 241 certified hectares, but by the end of 2019, it had almost 1,000 hectares. As for GLOBALG.AP, in 2019, there were around 700 certified avocado farms, which represented an increase of 30% compared to 2018. The projection is that this number will continue to grow because international markets, such as Europe and the United States, are concerned that the fruit is grown through sustainable practices and demand these certifications. Furthermore, in Colombia, irrigation systems are rare thanks to the fertile nature of the land, and the carbon footprint in terms of planting trees is positive.

These advances in compliance with national and international parameters have encouraged the Corporation of Avocado Producers and Exporters (Corpohass) to present a pilot plan for the creation of its own label, “Sustainable Hass”, which promotes sustainability among the various entrepreneurs involved in Hass avocado production, packaging and marketing. Thus, the body becomes one of the first to voluntarily orient itself towards a sustainability strategy.

For Jorge Enrique Restrepo, executive director of Corpohass, “The creation of a referential seal with a sustainable approach is a commitment to improve the competitiveness of the Hass avocado. The implementation of Sustainable Hass will allow the sector to continue generating and sharing value for stakeholders throughout the chain. We believe it is important to start setting an example in sustainable practices to continue to establish this product, even more so when our higher purpose is precisely to lead the sustainability of the Colombian Hass avocado agribusiness.”

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Nature’s Pride launches more sustainable avocado packaging

Nature’s Pride launches more sustainable avocado packaging © Nature’s Pride

© Nature’s Pride


In line with the firm’s plan to increase the sustainability of its packaging, Nature’s Pride is introducing 100% cardboard packaging for avocados. This packaging represents a huge step in reducing plastic usage. In addition, it consists of just a single type of material, cardboard. This means it can be fully recycled and eliminates the need for a label. 

The new avocado packaging is made of 100% recyclable, certified cardboard. By implementing this change with just the 2-packs, the company will reduce its use of plastic by 52,000 kg annually. As well as being more sustainable, the new packaging also cuts down on transport movements of the flat folded packaging: 21 fewer trailers compared with 2019. 

The design of the new avocado packaging still offers good product visibility and representation of the EAT ME brand. The pack also displays relevant information for consumers, including the nutritional values of the product. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, this aspect has become a key purchasing argument for consumers. 

The new avocado packaging will have a phased introduction at the customers. Following the trend set with the avocado packaging, Nature’s Pride will also introduce more sustainable packaging for mangos, kiwis, passion fruit and chillies in the future. Read Nature’s Pride’s complete sustainable business plan at:

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Study finds Ecuador’s banana sector to be sustainable

Study finds Ecuador’s banana sector to be sustainable
© Eurofresh Distribution


Proof has arrived to support the Ecuadorean banana sector’s claim to be economically and socially sustainable. An 18-month study conducted by the University of California Davis, funded by producers and exporters, focused on the social, political, financial and environmental aspects of production. 

The results show that 70% of farms were free from child labour, provided healthcare for employees and a competitive salary. Leónidas Estrada, president of Agroban, “One of the criteria for supplying the European market today is that workers are paid a living wage.”

The study also found that Ecuador’s banana sector uses lower amounts of chemicals than other producing countries thanks to its climate and geographical location. However, as producer and former Agroban president Gustavo Marún said, the study revealed several areas where the industry could improve, such as providing more jobs for women who are underrepresented in the sector.

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FairPrice combats food waste

FairPrice combats food waste © ALPHONSUS CHERN (Source: The Straits Times)
© ALPHONSUS CHERN (Source: The Straits Times)

Singapore retailer NTUC FairPrice is working to reduce its packaging waste while maintaining food safety and quality in preparation for new packaging requirements. According to a report by Eco-Business, FairPrice Group, which includes NTUC FairPrice, has established a dedicated team to liaise with suppliers as it gets ready for the mandatory packaging reporting that will begin in Singapore next year. The reporting required by Singapore’s National Environment Agency is the start of a process towards establishing extended producer responsibility framework for packaging waste in Singapore by 2025. This would force companies to become more accountable for the packaging they produce.  

Seah Kian Peng, chief executive of FairPrice Group, said addressing the problem of packaging waste has multiple benefits: “Tackling packaging waste earlier in the production process is a beneficial approach since it also helps the company to potentially save costs. We are constantly on the lookout to explore ways to reduce packaging waste while ensuring product safety and quality. A variety of packaging including cling wrap, foam nets, trays, and bags is used to ensure consistency, minimise damage and preserve the quality of the product, particularly for fresh produce such as leafy vegetables and corn. This means that we are able to prevent food wastage by lengthening the shelf life of this fresh produce.”