According to Fruit Logistica Trend Report 2020: DO THE RIGHT THING (RIGHT), “To determine what effect any attempt at improvement on social and environmental issues may be having, registering and measuring performance is essential, as is comparing a product’s environmental and social impact. Effective measurement depends on accurate information; without metrics, it is impossible to monitor and manage sustainability-focused measures, or to judge their impact.”
“When repeated over time using consistent methods, this can provide a basis for tracking changes in performance.” Taking this into account, for the second consecutive annual period, UniSpice measured its carbon footprint through an independent agent. As part of phase 3 and 4 of this process for becoming carbon neutral, UniSpice is in the iterative process of identifying greenhouse gas reduction opportunities, implementing corrective action plans, and monitoring performance.
As per the Fruit Logistica fresh produce sustainability guide (2020), the Life Cycle Assessment method clearly identifies the specific stages where environmental impact occurs during the supply chain. Considering the three scopes from UniSpice’s 2020-2021 carbon footprint baseline, the contribution would reach approximately 65% and 70% according to the following graph:
The results of the carbon footprint analysis by export destination show that for the American and European markets it rounds up to 0.68 kg CO2-eq per exported kg (regardless of product or presentation). This coincides with the study carried out by the Consumers Association of more sustainable food in the Netherlands (2018) on fruits and vegetables in the supermarket, which states that per given kg: “The market mix of green beans of the Dutch supermarket comes to nearly 1 kg CO2-eq. This is made up of the proportion of different countries of origin with the corresponding mode of transport.” When considering 65% to 70% of this value, it coincides with the average value provided by Unispice per exported kg.
1 Greenhouse gas emissions are categorized into three groups or ‘Scopes’ by the most widely-used international accounting tool, the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. Scope 1 covers direct emissions from owned or controlled sources. Scope 2 covers indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, steam, heating and cooling consumed by the reporting company. Scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions that occur in a company’s value chain. Source:
As part of the actions taken, Unispice continually reviews its packaging strategy to analyze the benefits and drawbacks of different options. As Fruit Logistica reports, “The elimination of packaging (especially plastic) is a noble initiative, but this can have negative side effects, like causing more waste.” Taking this into account, packaging material waste has decreased from 0.15 to 0.10 kg of waste per exported kg between 2019 and 2021, respectively. The volume of recyclable materials has increased; the use of recyclables versus non-recyclables has risen from 45% to 51% in these years. Joining these two metrics and only taking into account the non-recyclable material, waste decreased from 0.084 to 0.050 kg per exported kg in these years (i.e. more than a 40% reduction).
Our new alliance with the IDH Farmfit Fund has helped us strengthen our environmental and social action plan; their experience in practices to accelerate transitions towards sustainability in international trade provide us with the knowledge and guidance to address social and environmental issues in our supply chain, in order to ensure that it is sustainable, inclusive and economically viable, as well as to comply with global ESG and sustainability standards and regulations.