Sustainability, which focuses on simultaneously meeting environmental, economic and community needs through varied actions, is becoming increasingly important to the marketplace, as environmental degradation persists and economic challenges continue mounting.
As farmers, environmental conservation is a time-honored concept at Christopher Ranch, but present conditions demand a renewed emphasis on alleviating environmental risks and increasing supply chain efficiencies.
The company’s sustainable transition, focused primarily on waste and energy reduction, will evolve continuously, but several sustainable practices already exist and multiple changes are underway.
v Following strict crop rotation practices to reduce overfarming of the soil. Once a field is harvested, garlic will not be planted on that plot for four years.
v In 1995, our land became organically certified to farm organic garlic, shallots, boiler, cippoline and pearl onions. Organic acreage increases annually, and Christopher Ranch is continuously expanding the line, which consists of the aforementioned whole garlic, specialty onions and shallots, peeled garlic, peeled shallots, minced garlic, chopped garlic, chopped roasted garlic, chopped ginger, chopped shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and others.
v Multiple packaging adjustments, including removing bleached white cardboard from packaging options, increasing use of recyclable materials and using considerably less petroleum-based packaging materials. Christopher Ranch’s packaging is 90% recyclable, and we’re making steps toward 100% recyclability.
v Christopher Ranch recycles nearly all feasible paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, glass, Styrofoam, etc. The company is focused on expanding its recycling program in 2009.
v Utilizing an enclosed wash system for forklifts and trucks to avoid toxins and oils flowing from wash pad.
v Installing an ozone cleaning system to minimize chemical use during equipment cleaning.
v Updating motor fleets on trucks and forklifts to reduce carbon emissions. We’ve launched a preventative maintenance system that assesses load rates, amperage and other aspects and are transitioning propane forklifts to electric – a process that is one-third complete.
v Many of our lighting fixtures are equipped with T8 fluorescent lamps, which are more energy efficient than their T12 predecessors. The company hopes to increase its use of T8 lamps and also add T5 lamps, which enable further energy savings, in 2009. Estimates show that such changes can annually conserve up to 82,858 kilowatts an hour.