West Pak Avocado commits to growing a ripe legacy with first sustainability report
West Pak Avocado, the global supplier of premium avocados, is pleased to unveil its inaugural sustainability report. The report covers West Pak’s domestic and international operations, which consists of the company’s headquarters, regional offices, packing houses, and ripening and distribution centers. Dubbed Growing a Legacy of Responsibility the report is designed to communicate West Pak’s sustainability commitments, efforts, and performance to its various stakeholders.
“We support responsible sourcing, sustainable agriculture, and a deeply rooted respect for people along the entire value chain and beyond,” stated West Pak Avocado CEO Mario Pacheco. “We have long recognized that sustainable environmental and social practices are not only the right things to do but are also good business practices. This idea shapes our decision-making and sustainability strategies across our business.”
Although the reporting period is for the 2019 calendar year, West Pak’s sustainability report includes past efforts and context data. Results serve as a baseline for goal-setting and assessing future performance. To guide the report development, West Pak referenced the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards to identify and prioritize relevant sustainability topics and impacts. Other resources included United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), leading environmental, social and governance (ESG) frameworks; regulatory context; sector initiatives; peer benchmarking; and desktop research, along with company strategy, core competencies, risks and opportunities, policies, and practices.
West Pak formalized its commitments to sustainability by creating the cross-functional Sustainability Council. The advisory group includes members of West Pak’s executive team who will continue to serve as stewards of the company’s values, ensuring these values are always reflected in all aspects of business.
In addition to formalizing the commitment through its Sustainability Council appointment, West Pak has issued the first official carbon footprint analysis through the close of 2019. Third-party support oversaw the development process, data compilation, and the calculation of the company’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. One of the key insights highlights that the company’s multiyear capital investments throughout its network are simultaneously driving efficiency and sustainability. While avocados sales increased more than 25 percent from 2017 to 2019, West Pak’s energy intensity and associated GHG emissions intensity (based on tons of avocados sold) decreased by more than 73 percent, and related GHG emissions intensity fell by nearly 6 percent over the same period. Moving forward, West Pak is concentrating on ways to drive further improvements, including setting reduction targets.
West Pak is also focused on sustainable packaging options that reduce single-use formats. From 2017 to 2019, the company increased the use of reusable plastic containers or RPCs by more than 50 percent. In 2020, they project tripling the number of RPCs in their network from its 2019 usage, representing more than 20 percent of the volume. West Pak is also working on integrating Earthbag, an environmentally-friendly, recyclable packaging solution for bagged avocados, which is plastic-free.
In addition, West Pak vows to leverage its influence to support sustainable growing practices and fair labor practices across the value chain. In the long term, West Pak strives to positively influence the entire industry in this area.
Another way West Pak is showing positive influence is by leading the effort to give back to local communities. To commemorate the company’s inaugural sustainability report, West Pak Avocado donated the equivalent of 100,000 meals to Feeding America Riverside|San Bernardino to help those in need.
“As a company, we believe in doing our part to make a difference in the lives of others,” added Pacheco, pointing out the value of giving back. “We felt this was the perfect opportunity to set a good example and invite others in our industry to do the same in their communities.”
West Pak’s local donation and the launch of their sustainability report both coincided with #GivingTuesday, which was celebrated on December 1, 2020, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. The company is also launching its Do Avo Good (#DoAvoGood) social sustainability campaign early January 2021.
In closing, Pacheco stated, “Through our operations and our work with our customers, growers, suppliers, and other partners, we strive for eco-efficient operations, safe and fair working conditions, and business practices that benefit all of our stakeholders. As we look to the future, we feel confident in our positioning to prosper and grow along a sustainable and equally bright path. With a solid foundation that respects people and our environment, we look forward to pursuing the opportunities that the rapidly growing global avocado market presents.”
To download the full report, please visit www.westpakavocado.com/sustainability.