Zespri, the world’s leading marketer of kiwifruit, has announced a new commitment to make all of its packaging 100 per cent reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
The announcement is one of a suite of sustainability commitments shared today with growers, consumers and suppliers at the New Zealand kiwifruit industry’s marquee conference – Momentum 2020: Standing Up and Standing Out.
Zespri also revealed commitments that by 2025, any plastic packaging will be made from at least 30 per cent recycled plastic, and that it will reduce its packaging footprint by 25 per cent per kg of fruit produced by 2030, building on a track record of consistent packaging improvements.
Chief Innovation and Sustainability Officer Carol Ward says the packaging announcements are based on the company’s belief in respecting and enhancing our natural environment, optimising natural resources and fostering health and wellbeing.
“While we are already one of the lowest impact foods produced we can do even better.
“Today’s consumers care about what their food is wrapped in, want to know more about where it comes from and are seeking reassurance that it’s been grown in a way that enhances the environment and supports livelihoods.
“We already have much to be proud of including already having 95 per cent of our packaging used to transport our kiwifruit to market as cardboard, but we realise there’s more to do.
“The ambitious targets we’ve outlined today are therefore about driving our next stage of development and aligning with our purpose, our brand promise and our premium product position,” Ms Ward says.
The announcements follow Zespri joining some of the world’s biggest brands in 2019 to sign up to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and working with its industry partners to create a circular economy for plastics.
All packaging decisions will maintain Zespri’s reputation for providing consistent premium quality kiwifruit through its use of fit-for-purpose packaging which helps maintain quality, reduce fruit loss and meets the highest levels of compliance around international customer standards.
Ms Ward said a dedicated work programme focusing on sustainable packaging has been established to build on actions already undertaken by Zespri, including reducing the weight of liners used in cardboard transport packs, trialling fibre-based solutions for pocket-packs, implementing improved recycling options, and eliminating all unnecessary packaging.
Outside of packaging, Zespri has also revealed a number of other sustainability commitments, including that:
- Zespri will be carbon positive by 2035
- Zespri will disclose its climate risks and opportunities by August 2021 and develop an industry-wide climate change adaptation plan by December 2022
- By 2025, our industry will more effectively monitor nutrient inputs and losses as well as our impact on water – better protecting and enhancing water quality
- Zespri will partner with local communities on healthy lifestyle programmes in all major Zespri markets by 2022
- Zespri will attract and build a thriving workforce amongst its value chain by 2030, continually improving social practices
Ms Ward says this is a time of great opportunity for Zespri, and the commitments are designed to enable the industry to succeed in the right way, helping to both lift people up and take better care of our environment.
“We’re confident these commitments reflect what matters most to our customers and industry partners, and will allow us to deliver better value to our consumers.
“We already know a lot of the solutions to the challenges our industry faces sit with our growers who have a deep understanding about what works and that’s evident in the progress we’ve made already in reducing our carbon footprint by 20 per cent per kilogram of kiwifruit shipped since 2009.
“Together, we’re continuing to drive innovation to make orchards and supply chains more efficient and sustainable, and our environment healthier.”
Ms Ward says that while there would continue to be challenges, Zespri was well placed to deliver on its commitments.
“We’ve been weaving sustainability into our business practices for many years, and we’re really proud to have set ambitious targets which give us clear direction of travel and we can work with our industry partners to play our part in bringing positive change.»
“They also give consumers a sense of who we are as a company and our values which we’re starting to bring through more overtly with our refreshed brand, so we’re excited about what lies ahead,” Ms Ward says.