California Giant Berry Farms has launched a series of new sustainability initiatives with the goal of being fully sustainable by the end of 2019.

Watsonville, California-based Cal Giant is working with consultancy Measure to Improve, whose vision is to assist companies in the produce industry by providing tools, benchmarks and guidance in documenting successes as they work towards sustainability and ultimately translating economic and environmental benefits between sellers and buyers.

Measure to Improve is guiding Cal Giant’s sustainability initiative to increase efficiencies, increase profitability, reduce costs, and engage employees as they take a proactive approach throughout the project in three key areas.

The company’s initiatives include an on-farm sustainability program with long-time strawberry grower Rich Uto to develop a how-to guide for their entire farming community, an energy efficiency project at their cooling facilities, and a zero-waste program at their headquarters. Acknowledging this community effort needed to achieve sustainability goals, the company plans to incentivize its employees during routine benchmarks and progress assessments as they continue to collectively strive toward becoming a Zero Waste company.

"This is a path we see the industry as a whole is taking, and it's one we are proud to be involved in," says Nick Chappell, director of retail sales for Cal Giant. "When we heard from some of our key customers that increased on-farm sustainability and social accountability was something they wanted to see more of from their top berry suppliers - we listened and got to work. But not only that, we were eager to pave our own unique sustainability path with MTI”, adds Chappell.

The berry company is focused on providing their trading partners and the consumer three key pillars of sustainability: People, Planet, and Profit. For an agricultural system to be truly sustainable, it must be environmentally sound (Planet), economically viable (Profit), and socially equitable (People). California Giant’s mission is to hone in on these three P's and ensure all aspects of sustainable agriculture are being served with intent and attention to better serve their customers and the community.