Discover more from Following the Footprints
🌱 Regenerative vs Organic: What your brand should consider, and a look inside Tractor Beverage Company's first-of-its-kind 'Organic Impact Tracker'.
Featuring Tractor Beverage Company, NICE, Neat, Yeo Valley Organic and more...
This week we cover:
Quick Take: Regenerative vs Organic: Cultivating brand distinction from Farm to Fork.
Brand Spotlight: Seeds of change: Inside Tractor Beverage Company’s first-of-its-kind 'Organic Impact Tracker'.
In case you missed it: 💥 #11 - Meet the Brands - Thinking inside the box: How Butternut Box use carbon forecasting to empower their workforce, featuring Emma Lindsay, Sustainability Manager at Butternut Box.
> Good News Last Week
🎯 NICE announced their partnership with HIVED, introducing sustainable deliveries via electric vehicles.
🎯 Neat released their revamped packaging by switching to 100% recycled aluminium, and reducing the size of the silicon ring which sits at the bottom of their bottles.
🎯 Black Bee Honey announced they’re B Corp certified, achieving 93.9 points.
🎯 Unspun unveiled its 3D weaving technology, Vega, which will reduce manufacturing waste and unsold inventory by enabling just-in-time manufacturing through the deployment of "micro-factories". The technology will reduce lead times for brands, and eliminate wasted inventory, while also having the potential to reduce fabric scraps generated during the cut-and-sew process.
⭐️ Liberty announced their partnership with Rotaro to promote circular fashion. Pre-loved items from brands like GANNI and Jacquemus will now be available for rent for four, eight or 12 days.
⭐️ Tony’s Chocolonely introduced their unique governance structure called the "golden share” which uses “mission guardians”. These guardians are responsible for safeguarding Tony's mission of eradicating inequality and exploitation in the chocolate industry. Stakeholders are encouraged to bring their concerns to the guardians, who will collaborate with senior management to address the issues. As a last resort, the guardians can publish concerns in Tony's annual report, place advertisements in newspapers, or even pursue legal action.
⭐️ Ardagh Glass GmbH launched the construction of their hybrid furnace, which will use 80% renewable energy and 20% natural gas to produce their glass packaging, reducing emissions by up to 60%.
⭐️ Marks and Spencer launched their Beauty Takeback Scheme, in partnership with Handle Recycling, to reduce the volume of beauty packaging items going to landfill.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Regenerative vs Organic: Cultivating brand distinction from Farm to Fork.
Understanding the distinctions between "organic" and "regenerative" farming is crucial for brands seeking to satisfy consumers’ increasing demands for transparency. With 88% of shoppers desiring environmentally friendly and ethical options, effectively communicating your brand's commitment to a sustainable food system will earn consumer loyalty and attract conscious consumers who are willing to pay a green premium. Let’s dig into this vegetable soup of terms…
What is organic?
Organic farming means no chemical pesticides, fertilisers, or use of antibiotics in livestock while prioritising high animal welfare. In the UK, organic goods must bear certification from reputable bodies such as Soil Association or OF&G.
What is regenerative?
Although lacking a standard definition, regenerative farming focuses on improving soil health, biodiversity, and ecosystem resilience through context-specific land management changes. Key principles include practices like no-till farming, using cover crops, maintaining living roots in the soil, and promoting crop diversity.
While a universal "regenerative certification" is still in development, initiatives like the Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) and the Savory Institute are spearheading the development of comprehensive frameworks. This is a fast moving area, and some guarantees are already available for switched-on customers to look out for. Organisations like LEAF, for example, offer the LEAF Marque Standard, a globally recognised assurance system promoting sustainable farming practices.
Moving beyond organic: Yeo Valley Organic
As the momentum for regenerative agriculture grows, many brands are shifting from organic titles to embracing regenerative practices. Yeo Valley Organic (clue’s in the name) has firmly positioned itself as an advocate for a sustainable food system. A strategic rebrand 25 years ago saw Yeo Valley including ‘Organic’ into the brand name. Yeo Valley's bold rebrand paid off and has since been awarded the Best Organic Marketing Campaign.
Yeo is going further to support their dairy farmers, following Regenerative Organic Farming (ROC) farming principles. As part of their “Regeneration’ project, they are actively measuring soil carbon stocks on their own farm and 20 supplier farms in collaboration with the Farm Carbon Toolkit.
So what approach should you take?
Look for synergies across your sustainability strategy to optimise internal resourcing. Incoming standards such as SBTI’s latest FLAG Guidance and the Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) most recent launch of the first global framework for setting science-based targets (SBT) for nature will require greater scrutiny of your land management practices and biodiversity data. It’s worthwhile taking a holistic overview, identifying where reporting requirements overlap with your brand identity.
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> Brand Spotlight
Seeds of change: Inside Tractor Beverage Company’s first-of-its-kind 'Organic Impact Tracker'.
In March, Tractor Beverage Company claimed to be the ‘first beverage brand to track and disclose impact data about its ingredients’, doing so via their newly launched ‘Organic Impact Tracker’ (OIT). This tool was built to ‘quantify the benefit of sourcing organic ingredients versus their conventional counterparts’, holding Tractor accountable to their long-term commitment to ‘encouraging farming practices that prevent synthetic pesticides from entering our food system, degrading land, and contaminating water’. Let’s take a closer look…
First up - who are Tractor Beverage Company?
Farmer founded and employee owned, Tractor creates ‘flavour forward’ carbonated and non-carbonate drinks for the restaurant industry. Founded in 2014, the Idaho brand claims to be the first and only Certified Organic, Non-GMO drinks solution for foodservice - now available in over 5,000 locations in the US.
The 5 ‘key organic impact metrics’:
OIT’s impact tracking centres on 5 key metrics, allowing Tractor to focus their efforts and attention on what matters most to them. Let’s take a look:
Improved Soil Health (in acres): A combination of intact soil structure over time and macro and micro biodiversity.
Water Saved (in gallons): Each organic ingredient’s water footprint takes into account green, blue and grey water needs.
Organic Land Supported (in acres): Square feet of land dedicated to growing each organic crop.
Carbon Emissions Avoided (in tonnes): Amount of carbon dioxide (CO2e) released into the atmosphere by each ingredient.
Synthetic Pesticides Avoided (in tonnes): Reducing human-made chemicals including insecticides, herbicides and fungicides.
How was this tool created?
Like all our favourite innovations, there’s a strong partnership at the centre of Tractor’s Impact Tracker. Tractor partnered with HowGood, a sustainability research and intelligence company that focuses specifically on food. Claiming to have the world’s ‘largest product sustainability database’ with over 33,000 ingredients, HowGood works across brands, retailers, food service and suppliers - themselves aggregating data from Kerry. As a result, the data on which the OIT relies has multiple sources - from publicly available datasets to over 600 third-party scientific and peer-reviewed studies.
Tractor also worked closely with Dr. Stephanie Bledsoe, Doctor of Plant Medicine, who supported as a consulting agronomist. Doctor Bledsoe worked particularly closely with Tractor on their proprietary algorithm for synthetic pesticides - the only algorithm of the 5 key metrics that wasn’t proprietary to HowGood themselves.
The tool itself works to model the conventional industry average agricultural impact of each ingredient in Tractor’s products, across each of the 5 key metrics. This provides a baseline, on top of which the impact of Tractor’s organic sourcing standards and ingredient unique information (such as sourcing location) is calculated - resulting in a quantifiable difference between industry baseline and Tractor’s methodology.
Lastly, the innovative Organic Impact Tracker also explores the economic impact of organic farming, providing insights into the economic viability of chosen organic agricultural methods. Taking into account factors such as consumer demand, the financial performance of organic farms, market trends, and more, this enables Tractor’s OIT to better support farmers and policymakers in their decision making process.
What are the results so far?
In 2022 alone, Tractor:
Supported 3,274 acres of improved soil health, and organic land
Saved 144,382 gallons of water
Avoided 570.4 tonnes of CO2 emissions
Saved 25.8 tonnes of synthetic pesticides
Showcasing how impact and growth can and do go hand in hand, in 2022 Tractor came 10th on the ‘Food and Beverage’ category of Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest-growing private companies in the US. Aiming to eliminate 1,034 tonnes of synthetic pesticides from the food system by 2033 (having eliminated 35 tonnes since 2020 so far), Tractor are pouring themselves a strong cup of ambition. Tracking their own impact is really just the beginning, changing global food systems via organic farming is where they’re aiming to end.
Take a closer look at Tractor Beverage Company:
> In case you missed it
💥 #11 - Meet the Brands - Thinking inside the box: How Butternut Box use carbon forecasting to empower their workforce.
Featuring Emma Lindsay, Sustainability Manager at Butternut Box
> Follow up with…
Event: FLAG: Business case or business dilemma? - 14th June
Festival: Nourished Communities Food Festival - 2nd July