Pacific Foods Sets a Great Example

We were excited to hear that our friends (and neighbors, since the company is just a few miles from Portland), Pacific Natural Foods recently earned praise for its deeply rooted commitment to sustainable business practices and shared annual results of its ongoing efforts. Way to go, Pacific Foods!

These are some of the cows that supply Pacific Natural Foods. The dairy is one of several that has been certified by the organization, Animal Welfare Approved.

The family-owned company received a 2010 Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tomorrow (BEST) award in the Large Organization category from the City of Portland as a result of its ongoing efforts to integrate social, environmental and economic considerations into its practices. Results of its efforts in 2009 include:

  • A 14 percent reduction of natural gas through a system of upgrades and a U.S. Department of Energy-supported boiler steam efficiency retrofit
  • Recycling 60 percent of its total generated waste, an 18 percent increase over the prior year
  • Reduction of overall energy consumption by 7 percent, exceeding its goal of 5 percent
  • Purchase of more than 45 million pounds of certified organic ingredients, 82 percent of its total purchases
  • Renovation of more than 6,000 square feet of warehouse space into a new employee lunch room using a variety of green building practices, including premium efficiency lighting, zero VOC paints and an 80% reuse/recycle rate for construction waste
  • Ongoing conservation and restoration of degraded wetlands habitat adjacent to company properties
  • Donation of 1.4 million pounds of food to the Oregon Food Bank and 132 hours of production line time
  • Established written policies and guidelines for environmentally preferable purchasing and event planning
  • Financial incentives for alternative commuting that resulted in 15 percent of Pacific employees participating in the company’s new Alternative Commuter Club last year

“We couldn’t have exceeded last year’s sustainability goals without the commitment and participation of our employees, and strong collaboration with local nonprofits and business partners,” said Rory Schmick, sustainability manager for Pacific Natural Foods. “Sustainability is a part of who we are and how we do business. We’re constantly working internally and with our partners to find new ways to lessen our environmental footprint.”

Looking ahead, Pacific established a new set of goals for 2010, broadening environmental Key Performance Indicators with a focus on energy use, solid waste and recycling, and the reduction of water and wastewater.

About the Author

Sarah

Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.