As you in all probability already know, at SVZ we‘re captivated with sustainability – and unsurprisingly, so is our Sustainability Supervisor, Silvi Navarrete! We meet up with Silvi to speak about her imaginative and prescient for a extra accountable future, together with her plans for overcoming meals trade challenges and serving to construct a extra eco-friendly agri-food sector. Go forward, Silvi!
1. Are you able to inform us a bit about your skilled background, and why you have got chosen to pursue a profession within the F&B sector/sustainable growth space?
I’ve at all times been captivated with agriculture, particularly as a result of I’m from Colombia – a so-called ‘espresso nation’. We’re a rustic that’s depending on farming, and we take delight within the high quality and provenance of our elements. This curiosity took me to the Netherlands, the place I studied agriculture and fell in love with the topic! Beginning my profession in a non-profit firm, the place I labored intently with startups within the agri-food sector, was a good way to hone my abilities and get entangled in modern initiatives. I then moved to the company facet, the place I labored as a sustainability supervisor within the espresso trade – and the remaining is historical past!
The meals trade is so attention-grabbing to me: we eat thrice a day (typically extra!) and we don’t at all times cease to assume, the place is that this meals coming from? Sustainability has turn out to be my ardour on a private and skilled stage, and I’m dedicated to bettering our agricultural processes to make them extra environment friendly and local weather constructive. It’s why I really like my new function: contributing to decreasing greenhouse gasoline emissions by evolving the way in which we supply scrumptious fruit and vegetable elements.
2. What are your priorities as Sustainability Supervisor at SVZ?
SVZ already has sturdy sustainability values, which is what first drew me to the corporate. My precedence is to construct on the initiatives already in place and convey every little thing collectively in a structured manner. And maybe most significantly, unfold the phrase in regards to the good work we’re doing in fruit and vegetable ingredient manufacturing! All of it begins from inside the corporate, so we lately launched our Sustainability Passport: a collation of all our present initiatives that everybody can entry rapidly and simply. With every little thing in a single place, we are able to higher talk our values additionally to the exterior stakeholders and ensure we’re all on the identical web page.
We’re additionally going to begin taking a extra quantitative method to our sustainability efforts, utilizing information and key efficiency indicators (KPIs) to construct a greater image of the place we’re – and crucially, the place we wish to be. The result’s having extra information out there, on every little thing from water consumption to greenhouse gasoline emissions, to assist us make higher enterprise selections for our community of growers.
3. How would you describe the present state of sustainability throughout the agri-food provide chain?
Sustainability reporting has been required of enormous, public entities beforehand, however whereas there have been quite a few reporting frameworks through the years – such because the International Reporting Initiative (‘GRI’),
The Carbon Disclosure Venture (‘CDP’) and Sustainability Accounting Requirements Board (‘SASB’) – the trade was nonetheless missing a consolidated set of pointers. Now with the European Union’s new Company Sustainability Reporting Directive (‘CSRD’) laws in place, greater than 50,000 firms should report on set metrics and measurements, inside a typical reporting framework. This makes it simpler to gather and examine data, all of the whereas decreasing the potential for ‘greenwashing’.
The brand new regulation is a good begin, however its implementation stays a bit of obscure. Whereas the CSRD itself doesn’t impose a penalty for non-compliance, particular person European member states can select at hand down fines to firms they imagine are dodging the directive. However now firms must have their sustainability studies audited by a 3rd get together, it’s a constructive step. Identical to when the ISO requirements first got here into power that required manufacturing unit audits, we anticipate this laws to turn out to be the ‘gold normal’ throughout the trade. Watch this area!
4. What are the challenges in producing extra sustainable fruit and vegetable elements?
All of it comes all the way down to what’s taking place initially of the availability chain: the farm. One of many greatest challenges we face is how we are able to assist farmers in making the transition to extra sustainable agricultural processes. Firstly, farmers want technical help to assist them do their job in the very best manner. Secondly, farmers want sources to transition to extra sustainable farming practices. However this implies altering gear and supplies, which prices cash and requires extra sources. Subsequent, farmers want monetary sources to assist them navigate these typically pricey and dangerous transitions. Lastly, they should see peer-reviewed strategies in motion to inspire and set off change. Typically, farmers hearken to farmers – that’s why our aim is to begin with small-scale initiatives to show our idea and from there broaden to work throughout a wider community.
At SVZ, we now have a crew of agronomy specialists that work with our associate growers, providing sensible recommendation at each stage of fruit and vegetable cultivation. We organise coaching classes close to to processing websites, the place we convey farmers collectively to share experiences. These occasions are well-liked, bringing a way of group, as they’ll talk about what’s engaged on their farms – and the place they want further help. We’re additionally rolling out small-scale pilot programmes to supply sources and monetary assist to farmers.
5. Wanting forward: what are your targets and aspirations for SVZ’s sustainability programme over the approaching years?
On a private stage, I’m eager to boost higher consciousness of our sustainability initiatives internally, which is able to hopefully translate into actions. I’d prefer to decentralise sustainability, in order that it could possibly turn out to be embedded throughout the corporate – and hopefully encourage folks to strive new methods of working in each day life! Final 12 months, we reached 55% sustainable sourcing in our provide chain – an incredible achievement – and in 2023 we anticipate to achieve 60-70% with our present certification efforts. However we at all times have our eye on how we are able to do higher and attain that subsequent milestone. In reality, our primary goal is to extend our proportion of sustainably sourced elements to 100% by 2030.
For extra data on SVZ’s sustainability values, go to: Sustainable fruit and vegetable ingredients | SVZ.