Bonduelle Fresh Americas Commits to Sustainability
- by Lilian Diep
IRWINDALE, CA - For Bonduelle Fresh Americas (BFA), innovation has been at its core since it began in 1969. Fast-forward fifty years, and many innovations later, we see BFA as a leader in the industry, poised to innovate once more. Mathew Caldwell, Senior Manager of Corporate Social Responsibility, sits with us at ANUK and details how exactly BFA is innovating with its 2025 Corporate Social Responsibility Commitments and how the company plans to enforce its values.
BFA developed its 2025 CSR commitments for three reasons. For one, the increasing number of climate-related issues couldn’t be ignored anymore, and the company felt there was a need for immediate action. Another was that BFA is a family-owned and family-run company that has placed sustainability at the heart of business for decades. The last one?
“Our employees, regulators, customers, and consumers expect us to be better,” Mathew tells me. “Sustainability is critical to recruiting and retaining talent, bans against plastics are on the rise, customers expect us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with them, and consumers want to know that the goods they buy are ethically sourced. These are powerful motivators that we took very seriously and are reflected in our strategy.”
Mathew goes on to tell me that the company has already jumped on these commitments, and the first obstacle was the packaging. The company plans on tackling it through initiating three goals: to move to 100 percent recyclable, reusable, or compostable packaging; to reduce the use of virgin plastics by 25 percent; and to educate consumers by including How2Recycle labeling instructions on 100 percent of branded products.
“We launched a packaging task force at BFA to help us achieve these ambitions and move closer to a circular economy,” comments Mathew. “The packaging team has spent the last year gathering and analyzing packaging data from suppliers to create a baseline and target areas where we can make the most impact.”
With ambitions like these, partnerships are a necessity. BFA has ongoing meetings with current and prospective suppliers, plastic processors, recycling facilities, and other experts to identify ways to improve recycling practices, incorporate plant-based materials, and increase the amount of post-consumer recycled content (both bottles and thermoforms) in its products.
“Our corporate mission is to create a better future through plant-based foods. Our 2025 CSR strategy demonstrates the breadth and depth of that commitment to sustainable development—tackling issues ranging from alternative farming techniques and waste to community involvement and human rights,” Mathew continues. “We want all of our employees to feel part of these efforts, and this was a great way to mobilize people toward tangible outcomes in a meaningful way.”
Part of that effort is instigating the goal of each facility administering at least two volunteer days a year on company time.
“While we are still formalizing our corporate citizenship policies, we will direct most of our volunteerism and corporate philanthropy toward the causes we know we can impact as a business, such as sustainable agriculture, hunger relief, and waste reduction,” Mathew notes on the company’s corporate citizenship.
BFA announced its CSR commitments on October 16, 2019, which happened to be World Food Day. Mathew says the decision to go public was in part to raise awareness of the work BFA was doing as well as to invite the public to follow the progress and hold the company accountable. BFA hopes that by going public, peers who may be working on similar issues can access data that has been proven to aid in sustainability.
“For BFA, announcing these goals, committing ourselves to annual progress updates, and publishing a comprehensive CSR report sets a new example for our industry—one we hope others will emulate,” concludes Mathew.
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