The United Fresh and IFPA A-NZ Sustainability workshop

12th December 2023

The United Fresh and IFPA A-NZ Sustainability workshop

On Wednesday 15 November 2023, United Fresh partnered with the International Fresh Produce Association Australia New Zealand (IFPA A-NZ) to host a sustainability workshop in Auckland. Speakers from United Fresh’s TAG group, IFPA A-NZ, and across the supply chain, presented on different sustainability topics of industry relevance. Topics ranged from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, to regenerative agriculture & carbon capture.

The workshop focused on discussing with industry the practical pathways available to improve sustainability efforts, at both individual business, and whole-of-industry levels.

In total, there were six different presentations that covered sustainability in the fresh produce industry supply chains, from growing through to retail. Presenters were drawn from industry associations, service providers, and businesses in the supply chain.

Some of the highlights of the presentations include:

  • Carbon Farming and Regenerative Agriculture (IFPA). IFPA discussed some of the pressures on our industry, and how carbon farming & regenerative agriculture are being implemented in the fresh produce supply chains overseas. Opportunities were identified for New Zealand growers to consider implementing into their production, such as improved soil management, better cover cropping, and climate-smart agricultural practices.
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals - Guidelines for the New Zealand Fresh Produce Value Chain (United Fresh).United Fresh’s presentation focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the United Fresh Guidelines on implementing these in fresh produce. The SDGs have been adopted by the New Zealand Government, and industry must therefore consider how to implement the SDGs in our practices. The United Fresh Guidelines were presented as a starting point for industry to align to, and build on, in its sustainability journey.
  • Environmental/Social/Governance (ESG) sustainability (Foodstuffs). This presentation looked at the current practices of Foodstuffs in implementing sustainability across its business, and the 11 major focuses of Foodstuff’s internal sustainability framework. Topics covered included decarbonisation, food waste, food affordability, sustainable infrastructure, and improved transport.
  • Supply Chain GHG Emissions from the Retailer Perspective (Woolworths). This presentation looked at Woolworth’s efforts in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from their business. Woolworth’s discussed some of the individual pathways by which they were achieving this, including their internal goals and commitments to this target. One major gaol discussed was the commitment to achieving 100% Electric Vehicle (EV) based deliveries by 2030.
  • Decarbonization: From Measurement to Action (Seeka). This presentation looked at how Seeka was decarbonising its business operations, including opportunities such as developing new products to reduce food waste, and converting “ugly” fruit into functional foods such as juices. Seeka also discussed the risks of not decarbonising, from the physical impacts of climate change, through to loss of market access due to New Zealand or overseas legislative requirements. Seeka shared their measurement data on carbon emissions, and how a worm farm, changes to refrigerant gases, and an EV fleet, were all helping reduce their emissions.
  • Sustainability is good for business (Toitū Envirocare). Toitū’s presentation discussed how industry could mitigate the environmental impact of fresh produce, with regards to the land, water, and air. Examples discussed included nutrient management, standards for sustainability, environmental management plans, and supply chain engagement.

The workshop concluded with a closing address from both Untied Fresh and IFPA A-NZ on the fact that the topics discussed all indicated sustainability as a journey, and that industry would need to continue to implement sustainable practices across the supply chain, to meet the needs of our customers and Government.

For those who were not able to attend on the day, the presentations have been made publicly available, link here.