Organic growers and box delivery company Riverford has published its first sustainability report.
“The question of ‘What’s good to eat?’ isn’t a simple one. As an ethical food business, Riverford and our customers are concerned about wide-ranging, complex issues of social and environmental sustainability,” said report author and Riverford sustainability manager, Zac Goodall.
“We want to do better than vague claims and greenwash, so we’ve carried out research – including a carbon footprint study with the University of Exeter and a plastic packaging study with independent researchers Savanta – and put together the first Riverford Sustainability Report.”
The carbon footprint, which analysed emissions from across the business, excluding agricultural activity, found that during 2017-18 transportation accounted for 72 per cent of emissions, followed by packaging and materials which accounted for 14 per cent. The report says that Riverford hopes to reduce its carbon footprint by 10 per cent from the 2017-18 baseline by 2023.
The delivery of veg boxes to customer doors was found to be the most energy-consuming process, and the company says it will convert three quarters of its van fleet to electric vehicles by 2023, with the first vehicles currently on trial in Hampshire.
Riverford founder Guy Singh-Watson commented, “Riverford already enjoys an extraordinary level of trust and support from our customers; trust that we will do the right thing by staff (now co-owners), the environment, future generations and our customers. There is a deep and genuine desire within the business to be part of the solution rather than the problem which makes it easier to invest in reducing our environmental impact even when the commercial returns are not obvious.”
Photo caption: Transportation accounts for 72 per cent of Riverford’s carbon footprint