Annie’s commitment to the environment dates back to 1989 when Annie Withey co-founded the company with a mission to nourish people and planet through honest foods. Since then, Annie’s has tackled various environmental issues and has prioritized climate change through policy, industry leadership, and most importantly, in their own supply chain.
A lifecycle assessment on their products in 2012 revealed that the greatest contributor to GHG emissions (global warming causing gases) in their supply chain came from the farming of their ingredients. This was no surprise to their data-driven sustainability team; according to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, agriculture accounts for up to one third of global anthropogenic greenhouse gases. By prioritizing organic ingredients, Annie’s supports agricultural practices that protect soil health and natural resources, and in turn, help mitigate climate change. In fact, scientists posit that well-managed, healthy soils may be able to sequester more than 10% of global anthropogenic emissions.
The company’s commitment to addressing climate change doesn’t stop at the farm level. At Climate Day at Expo West in March, they announced commitments to five Climate Collaborative areas: agriculture, policy, food waste, packaging, and energy efficiency. Below are just a few examples of how they’re moving the needle:
Agriculture: Annie’s launched its first organic product in 1998 and has continued to grow organic ever since. In 2016, 88% of their sales were from Organic products. They are committed to supporting farmers, as demonstrated by their funding for organic research and through their founding membership of the Organic Grain Collaboration. They continue to look for ways to support improved soil health through better farming practices.
Policy: Since 2012, Annie’s has been a proud member of Business for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP), making a strong stance for climate and energy policy reforms. Following the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord last month, Annie’s signed onto ‘We Are Still In’, an open letter from business and government leaders to voice the company’s ongoing dedication to mitigating climate change.
Food waste: You may have heard the statistic: if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third highest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the U.S. Annie’s has set out to do something about this disconcerting reality by partnering with industry leaders to standardize inconsistent product date code language that drives consumer food waste.
Packaging: In 2014, the company formalized its efforts to reduce packaging-related emissions by developing a Sustainable Packaging Strategy centered on materials, disposal, and optimization. Currently, 90% of the company’s packaging is recoverable and 80% of products carry the How2Recyle label, and their dedicated team is pushing closer to 100% in both areas every day.
Energy efficiency: In addition to maintaining their LEED Gold Status and Bay Area Green Business Certification at their Berkeley office, in 2016 Annie’s earned the Climate Disruptors award for energy efficiency projects that led to a 30% reduction in annual electricity usage and a 60% reduction in annual natural gas usage in their Berkeley office.
“As a food company, we recognize our dependence on thriving natural resources to grow the food that goes into our products every day. Agriculture is one of the biggest drivers for climate change, but it can also be one of its greatest solutions. We strive to be part of the solution,” states Shauna Sadowski, Annie’s VP of Sustainability and Industry Relations. Annie’s has been a leader for the environment since day one, and they’re not slowing down any time soon. Read more about their ever-evolving efforts to tackle climate change on their website.