Gentle on the earth

We live by the land so doing the right thing by it – environmentally and socially – is second nature to us.

Growing Green is T&G’s commitment to the land on which we grow.

It leads to healthier, more natural produce, and it aids the health and development of our growers’ communities. We know our biggest business partner is the planet on which we live and grow. We’re committed to treating the earth gently and balancing what we take out of it with what we give back.

To ensure what we do is sustainable and responsible, we’ve put in place some important policies, measurements and standards to live up to every day.

Making best practice even better

When it came down to formalising our best practices, we chose to work with independent experts Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) who we knew would set us high benchmarks in a set of guidelines and a framework like that adopted by OECD, the UN Environment Programme, UN Trade & Development and many others.

From environmental issues like energy, emissions, waste, water, biodiversity and transport to social initiatives like health, safety, community and diversity – it’s a big part of who we are. And how we exist.

Biodiversity

Our business relies on healthy soils and waterways, so giving back to the land makes sense in every way. A key part of that is land management that supports biodiversity.

With the help of Sustainable Coastlines, a young multi-award winning NZ charity whose mission is to enable people to look after the coastlines and waterways they love, we’ve already started native tree-planting events around the country. T&G staff have already begun planting saplings in along streams that run through our orchards. This helps with combating erosion and reducing excess nutrients ending up in our waterways, with the shade also reducing evaporation and keeping waters cool to avoid the growth of algae blooms and supporting the aquatic life. In September, we planted over 1,700 native trees both along our apple orchard in Hastings, and our kiwifruit orchard in Kerikeri. See more information and the great images from the day by clicking here for Hastings and here for Kerikeri.

Energy

We started our biggest energy efficiency drive to date in 2013. Since then, we’ve upgraded to energy efficient lighting at our 14 locations around New Zealand and completed numerous other electrical upgrades which were identified by our energy consultants.

So far, we’ve saved over 1,500,000kWh in energy and in turn cut CO2 emissions by about 257 tonnes and counting! We’ve mapped out a company-wide Energy Management plan with EECA (Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority) to reduce our energy use by 2018 by  2,000,000 kWh. That is the equivalent of 265 average New Zealand households annual power consumption. We will achieve this target by continuing our lighting upgrades, ensuring energy efficient fan control on our market floors, ensuring our large refrigeration systems are running efficiently, as well as other smaller identified opportunities.

Waste

Our goal is not only to reduce waste generated at our sites but to treat it as a resource where possible as well as making smarter decisions at a procurement level.

At a site level T&G Global follows the “refuse, reduce, recycle” guidelines. We continually look for more sustainable options across our business including packaging so that waste is eliminated at source. Our largest market floor sites have ample recycling bins and we’re focused on educating our people and visitors on the importance of reducing and recycling waste. These initiatives help us achieve our objectives of lowering our waste to landfill ratio.

We also have a range of projects around looking at innovative methods for recycling or repurposing our waste – this includes repurposing our used Rockwool (growing medium) into insulation panels, and looking at smarter ways to separate plastic clips and strings from our crop waste. We are supporting a start-up business, Green Spot Technologies, who have begun to trial the production of fermented apple flour using T&G pomace, a by-product of the pressing of our apples to obtain juice. This partnership is perfectly aligned with our environmental sustainability goals and we are excited to determine the results of the trial.

Materials & Packaging

We’re trying to be smarter in the way we use and source materials. So we’re looking at everything we source through third parties for materials that are more sustainable, with a life-cycle that has less impact on the environment.

 

Emissions

Along with our reduction of  our indirect emissions naturally achieved through our energy efficiency work, we also have completed some great projects around natural refrigeration systems that has reduced our direct CO2 emissions and other ozone depleting emissions such as HFCs. We have done this by moving away from using traditional synthetic gas refrigerants in some of our coolstores to natural propane, CO2 and water based systems with efficient engineering practices that has taken place at our large coolstores in Kerikeri and Auckland.

This not only a win for sustainability, but it has also improved product quality and consistency and improved the reliability of the overall system due to increased control and monitoring capabilities.

Driving our Growing Green philosophy is our 100% eco-friendly electric car which does its bit to reduce emissions by running on a clean energy source. Look out for it on the road.

Health & Safety

T&G is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace where everyone gets to go home without harm, every day.

All visitors, no matter how frequent, must sign in at site reception. Wearing supplied high visibility vests is mandatory in any non-office environment, and you may be required to wear personal protective equipment and be accompanied by a T&G employee while on site. For safety reasons we don’t permit anyone under 16 on any of our sites without the explicit approval of the site manager.

Community & Sponsorship

Working with Garden to Table Charitable Trust our Community Programmes aim to boost health and wellbeing by fostering New Zealand children’s passion for growing and enjoying healthy fruit and vegetables. We also offer an annual Massey University scholarship award to support sustainable development in the New Zealand horticultural industry.

Diversity In Employment

T&G Global is committed to being an equal-opportunities employer, with an active focus on achieving a diverse, productive workforce. We have over 30 different cultures represented among our staff with an increasing number of women in leadership roles.