The diversity of Texas produces a large variety of food products featured on national grocery store shelves and restaurants. It takes effort at all points of the supply chain for environmental conservation. How do food and beverages get to your home? What are the products packaged in? Many food industry leaders are answering these questions by placing priority on the environment. From reducing waste to developing efficient buildings and supply chains, Texas’ food providers are working to ensure Texas’ natural resources are conserved.Farmer Brothers, the publicly traded manufacturer and distributor of coffee, tea, and foodservice items, is planting sustainable practices that are supported by its SEED (Social, Environmental, and Economic Development) strategic framework.
“Climate change is a central issue within each pillar of the framework,” says Molly Laverty, Director of Sustainability at Farmer Brothers. “Coffee plants are highly sensitive to ambient temperature, and as the climate warms, many traditional coffee growing regions may prove unable to sustain a coffee crop.”
She added, “In addition to the direct effects on our supply chain, we also believe that climate change is one of the most pressing environmental issues of the coming century.”
The Northlake, TX-based company’s SEED efforts are diverse. It achieved zero-waste goals in all roasting plants and distribution centers in 2019, and decreased consumption of electricity and transport fuels. Farmer Brothers publicly reports its carbon footprint each year through the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). It has also thrown its weight behind a sustainability program that carries out employee ideas, like fuel-efficient trucking across the fleet and cardboard recycling at various branches.
“Integrating sustainability into our employee culture is what has allowed Farmer Brothers to succeed in our environmental goals,” says Laverty.
The company has reclaimed and refurbished more than 6,150 pieces of commercial beverage equipment. At its Houston plant, Farmer Brothers replaced the roaster’s circulating systems to stop heat loss and reduce the carbon footprint, projected to save 138,000 kilowatt-hours and reduce energy consumption by 70 percent.
In Northlake, environmental efforts include sensors that turn off warehouse lights when there’s sufficient sunlight or no human activity in the building, low-flow plumbing fixtures, carpooling and HEV-preferential parking, low-irrigation native-plant landscaping, a reflective pavement parking lot and roof structure to reduce summer cooling loads, and insulated walls and windows to reduce heating needs in winter.
“We’re committed to delivering great products to our customers, with less greenhouse gases emitted along the way,” says Laverty.