Panelists encourage BEMA to further embrace sustainability

by Dan Malovany
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(From left) Kerwin Brown, BEMA; Tracie Sheehan, ARYZTA; Elysa Hammond, Clif Bar; and Sravani Janga, Campbell Soup.
 

When it comes to sustainability, it’s not just about waste management, energy conservation and preserving the environment for future generations. Rather, the multifaceted approach being taken by food businesses such as ARYZTA, Campbell Soup Co. and Clif Bar & Co. encompasses broader initiatives that touch on almost every aspect of their businesses.

 

That was the message presented by Tracie Sheehan, chief health, quality and sustainability officer at ARYZTA; Sravani Janga, project engineer — environmental global engineering, Campbell Soup; and Elysa Hammond, director, environmental stewardship at Clif Bar during the recent 2017 BEMA Summit.

 

Speaking on “Sustainability for Equipment, Plant and Supply Chain,” the panelists discussed how sustainability today incorporates a wide variety of pillars. Those include food safety, brand integrity, employee well-being and commitment to improving communities in addition to the more traditional focus on the environment and the planet.

 

Ms. Sheehan, for instance, pointed out how all of the foods under ARYZTA’s LaBrea Bakery brand have become non-GMO-certified while its Otis Spunkmeyer line of sweet goods now embraces a more wholesome approach to indulgence under its “No Funky Stuff” effort.

 

At Campbell, Ms. Janga outlined the company’s achievements in renewable energy generation, including installing 25,000 solar panels that reduced electrical consumption by 15% at its soup manufacturing plant in Napoleon, OH. Likewise, two fuel cells combined with a 1 MW solar array have the capability of generating 100% of the electricity at its Pepperidge Farm plant in Bloomfield, CT. She noted that Campbell continues to evaluate and update its sustainability program as the business evolves.

 

“Campbell’s business footprint has evolved over the last several years through a number of acquisitions,” she said. “By analyzing external reporting trends, we decided to reset our enterprise sustainability goals to better reflect the Campbell we are today and to align with our Purpose: ‘Real Food that Matters for Life’s Moments’.”  Campbell plans to announce its new initiatives later this spring in the its annual corporate responsibility report.

 

At Clif Bar, Ms. Hammond explained how the company’s sustainability efforts have evolved since it began producing in Indianapolis and at its new bakery in Twin Falls, ID. She described how the company challenges its vendors and suppliers to evaluate projects and proposals based on a five-tier bottom line that includes a sustainability matrix based on its business, brands, people, communities and planet.

 

During a question-and-answer session, Kerwin Brown, BEMA’s president and CEO, asked how the panelists drive their passion for sustainability throughout their companies and supply chains. Ms. Sheehan stressed that the core objective need not only be sustainable, but also attainable. “You want to make sure you are establishing goals that are achievable on a year’s basis — not just something that’s way out there,” she said.

In concluding the session, Ms. Hammond challenged BEMA to incorporate sustainability into its mission statement to provide its members with a competitive edge while doing something that’s beneficial to their businesses, communities and the world around them.

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