As a company with over 160 years behind it, we have first-hand, multi-generational experience with sustainable business practices.
We’re prudent about the resources we use. We’re mindful about how we live and work. And we care about our neighbors, our colleagues and the places we grow. But like every facet of the fresh produce business, we understand that there is room for continued growth and improvement in this area, too.
We believe that sustainability is not an obligation, but an opportunity. Through this lens we strive to better understand and manage the impacts of our products from farm to fork.
We place an emphasis on managing the environmental and social aspects of growing operations through the implementation of new technologies, best practices, and socially responsible certifications that contribute to operational viability, ultimately benefiting the communities in which we operate.
Oppy is proud to have spearheaded an adopt-a-highway initiative in Peru that has led to cleaner, healthier communities that are already starting to take ownership of the project. By engaging with a local partner, Fair Trade Certified grape grower Agropiura, we successfully initiated and executed a six-month program that involved cleaning up a stretch of highway in Peru’s Piura region. This has benefited over 310 families in the community, with the success of the program inspiring lasting change and expanding to include stakeholders from the private and public sectors.
Post-harvest and packing
We work closely with our partners across the supply chain to exceed standards for food safety, worker welfare and environmental considerations. We collaborate in the design and production of packaging solutions, and invest in research that will help safeguard the supply chain of the future by contributing leadership and resources to the Center for Produce Safety.
Warehouse and manufacturing
We understand the importance of monitoring energy usage and pursuing new approaches that increase efficiency, and extend shelf life in order to reduce waste and maximize the supply of high-quality produce.
We recognize the need and value of reducing the carbon footprint of our transportation and distribution network in addition to ensuring the health and well-being of our drivers.
Retailers, wholesalers and foodservice customers
We will continue to deliver an abundance of safe, flavorful, high-quality produce by ensuring that we work with partners who adhere to the best practices of food safety.
We communicate transparently with consumers who are increasingly aware of—and seek—the story behind the food they eat and take pride in sharing with their friends and families. We are committed to helping them better appreciate where their food comes from, through labeling and marketing, and fulfilling their ever-evolving needs.
Planting our best foot forward
With so many opportunities to reduce waste and conserve resources across our vast supply chain, we’ve prioritized those we feel we feel we can affect with the greatest breadth and depth.
Reducing and removing plastics
Oppy approached the Canadian produce industry to collaborate in an effort to address the issue of single-use plastics across all items. The CPMA responded by developing a task force involving experts across the international produce community to work toward meaningful solutions encompassing packaging alternatives and other innovations.
Closer to home, the manufacturing area of our Vancouver warehouse entails a Top Seal machine for repacking bulk items. This method reduces necessary plastic by about 30% in comparison with traditional clamshells, while increasing the appeal of our products to key customers.
We have also pioneered an industry-leading first; bagasse fiber-based packaging which is plastic-free, tree-free and compostable, for our KeeWee brand. This has been met with marked enthusiasm by the media and our retail customers.
As well, we are active with the BC Marine Trails Network Association, donating toward its plastic clean-up initiatives. Oppy is continuously exploring new initiatives and technologies in this space, with more progress expected in 2020.
Avidly recycling in our office locations, Oppy makes an even greater positive impact as a member of How2Recycle, a movement that educates consumers about how to recycle used packaging properly via information on labels like our produce clamshells.
Combating food waste in our supply chain
Via partnerships with food banks, we donate over 50 tons of produce annually while our efforts to conserve resources and reduce waste have led us to find other uses for fruit termed “imperfect” that would otherwise never have entered the supply chain.
Through our partnership with Enterra, a BC company that specializes in the development and manufacture of ecological insect protein, Oppy reduces food waste by over 500 tons annually.
Achieving Fair Trade Milestones
Fair Trade™ Certification in produce was brand new when Oppy first marketed Costa Rican pineapples under in this socially responsible program in 2004. Since then, we have offered Fair Trade certified peppers, avocados, cucumbers, grapes, blueberries and more. Premiums are addressing many needs, including urgent health, education, and fresh water access initiatives in worker communities in Mexico and Peru.
Since 2013, Oppy has generated over $4.3 million in premiums thanks to growing our sales of Fair Trade Certified produce. In 2018 alone, Oppy contributed over $839,000, with a 32% increase in Oppy’s sales volume from H1 the first half of 2018 to H2 the first half of 2019. Oppy is in fact a leader in terms of market share for Fair Trade Certified bell peppers, providing 85% of the market volume in North America.
Rolling toward fuel efficiency
To achieve our goal of becoming one of the greatest sustainable companies in the world, we know we have to work toward developing and integrating an environmental and social strategy aligned with the aspirations of our business. A simple example of our dedicated approach includes making Oppy warehouses and loading dock areas idle-free zones.