Hans Sauter and Dennis Christou Discuss Fresh Del Monte Produce's A Better World Tomorrow Initiative
- by Melissa De Leon Chavez
ANAHEIM, CA - Before the internet took off, and with it social media, Fresh Del Monte Produce was already doing for the environment what brand influencers today are just beginning to catch on to. Now, it wants to share its wisdom and resources with potential partners in conservation.
“This is about something we have been working on for the past 30 years, and I have been intimately involved with it from the agricultural side in terms of looking for better ways of farming, ways that are more friendly for the environment,” Hans Sauter, Senior Vice President Corporate R&D, QA and Agricultural Services for Fresh Del Monte Produce, recently shared with me.
The company has taken these steps around four pillars of sustainability: its products, communities, environment, and people.
“It’s sustainability as a whole, but it is also a strategy,” Hans added. “Each pillar involves a number of different things that go into supporting our communities and our people, and all of it is validated very highly.”
And that strategy is growing in several new ways, Hans shared, as the company seeks to relay what it has learned with others in our industry and beyond.
“We are calling it A Better World Tomorrow—it is our vision. We have done it, we believe in it, and we are setting that example for our own suppliers, our own growers, and we want to partner with other organizations because we have experience firsthand in this,” Hans emphasized.
It would be a partner to be reckoned with, as the company continues to set and exceed goal after goal. The company has committed to delivering 300 different local sustainable initiatives by year 2025, with a point of keeping them local so team members and Fresh Del Monte Produce’s communities can engage with and give input on those initiatives.
Notable achieved and in-process commitments include:
- Reducing energy consumption by 12 percent per pound of product before the 2020 deadline
- Reducing water consumption by 21 percent per pound of product before the 2020 deadline
- Setting new targets for 2025, including a $200M investment in more fuel efficient vessels, reducing Scope 1 CO2E emissions by 10 percent
“As we transition to being more consumer centric, we are finding a common thread between telling our story about our sustainability and how it can also help us align with our consumer base. Our consumer base is interested in our efforts and those actions,” said Dennis Christou, Vice President Marketing N.A. “We need this to inspire other players to bring hope to the new generations because these new consumers are excited and are willing to engage with companies that make that investment and are doing the right thing.”
Dennis added that the team has seen an increase in demand for such stories on the buy-side, and that the company is working with partners to answer that demand.
“In general, we’ve seen that our retail partners have become more interested in increasing awareness and demand on the part of their consumers, who want to understand where their food is coming from, especially for the younger consumers—food defines who they are," Dennis remarked. "So, in the past, the retailer’s interest was to ensure the products were produced in a safe, sustainable manner, and now they want to get the story behind it. People want to relate to the farm, they want to relate to the environment.”
Intent on adding multiple layers to its existing legacy, Fresh Del Monte Produce is looking to spread its knowledge and its reach to potential partners that want to maximize the benefits of sustainable actions. We can’t wait to see what like minds join this initiative and the results it creates!