Earl’s Envisions a Sustainable Future
Earl’s Organic was born out of a desire to promote a lifestyle founded on respect for both the people who produce our food and the land from which it is grown. We have always operated on the principals of conscientiousness and accountability in both the relationships that we maintain with our customers and vendors, as well as the way we organize our day to day operations.
In recent years, however, the immediate need for action around the environmental impact of our operations has become more apparent. Our commitment to environmentalism extends far beyond simply composting and recycling; Short sighted environmentalism like this is just the tip of the iceberg. Further action is needed to examine the true environmental cost of our operations- the emissions from our trucks, the energy required to power our coolers, and not just where we put our waste at the end of its life, but how much we are producing and consuming. Ultimately, we must find a way to eliminate the use of nonrenewable resources required to power our operations.
It is not just about respecting our land and respecting our communities, it is about sustaining an environment that can produce the same bounty of produce tomorrow as it can today. The agricultural industry today is in peril. Climate change is posing a dire threat to our food supply- rising temperatures, more extreme weather patterns, and severe droughts are causing devastating effects on crop yields and food production. This is by no means a new phenomenon. The awareness around the devastating environmental effects of intensive agriculture practices that rely on agrochemicals and monocrops has been a topic of conversation for decades. But today the impact of the changing climate on the enduring prosperity and capacity of our food systems is more apparent than it has ever been. Consequently, our action today on sustainability is essential for the preservation of our industry, our food system, and the continued sustenance of all humans.
In 2013, Earl’s Organic announced the launch of its formal sustainability program with the intent of developing a more comprehensive understanding of the social and environmental impact of our operations and more actively using our long standing awareness to make positive changes towards reducing our waste to landfill, our dependence on fossil fuels and nonrenewable resources, and the general environmental impact of our business operations. We began the roll-out with a visioning process. The sustainability visioning committee, a group consisting of 14 passionate and intuitive individuals from various departments created a revised mission statement for Earl’s that encompasses our commitment to sustainability, our values, and our long term vision for the company (see below). As part of this visioning process we determined a set of short, mid, and long term goals that we would like to pursue. This sustainability vision illustrates a clear picture of a future state that everyone at Earl’s feels committed towards working to achieve and will ultimately guide our action and act as a roadmap for redesigning our operations to be better aligned with our sustainability objectives.
However, because we can’t manage what we don’t measure, we’ve created a comprehensive baseline assessment of all of our environmental impact areas- fuel, energy, waste, greenhouse gas emissions, water and packaging- to serve as a benchmark from which to measure the progress towards our short, mid, and long term goals. Using this data, the Sustainability Action Committee will meet monthly and is responsible for determining areas for improvement, performing research, creating action plans, and measuring progress towards meeting our goals. Under the guidance of the Sustainability Manager, The Committee will provide initial and ongoing leadership, supervision, and coordination to Earl’s sustainability effort.
At this juncture Earl’s celebrates the successful roll-out of its sustainability program with the publishing of its revised mission and vision, the release of its short, mid and long term goals, and the convening of its sustainability action committee. The sustainability program has already had major success (see the dramatic reduction in waste to landfill with the roll-out of Earl’s new waste system) and looks forward to many more.
Earl’s Organic Produce promotes organic agriculture and a sustainable food trade while cultivating enduring partnerships with growers and customers. We operate on the principles of innovation, education, and superior customer service to distribute premium certified organic fruits and vegetables to our diverse customer base.
Earl’s Organic Produce aspires to connect those who produce and consume organic food by creating mutually beneficial, meaningful, and committed relationships across the food chain. We seek to educate, excite, and evoke passion for the organic culture and continually evolve our business practices to both promote and meet the needs of the ever expanding organic industry. Furthermore, we are committed to discovering and implementing innovative business solutions in order to improve the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of our operations.