On June 9th, the members of the Sustainable Juice Covenant (SJC) came together online for their General Assembly. The objective: To update the members on the latest developments within the SJC, to inspire and to present new initiatives and projects to increase the sustainable juice volumes.
A lot has happened since the last General Assembly of the SJC half a year ago. The SJC has been growing steadily: the platform now counts 17 member companies from different parts of the supply chain and a new IDH SJC team is responsible for coordination and platform management. After a financial overview, the new strategic approach for communication was presented, including the launch of a Linkedin page and a new website to boost visibility of and interest in the SJC.
An important element with regards to the SJC objective of 100% sustainable juice by 2030 is verification and certification: The General Assembly saw updates from the Farm Sustainability Assessment and the Rainforest Alliance Certification. Their standards form the basis for a lot of sustainable juice projects and initiatives, such as the examples presented during the meeting:
Promoting FSA verification for apple production in Poland
Döhler presented a 3-year project in Poland that aims to increase the availability of sustainable apple juice from Polish origin. The challenge is to motivate Polish apple farmers to adhere and build a coalition willing to pursue a more sustainable approach in agriculture. In a collaborative approach, the project partners strive to guide about 100 Polish farmers on their way to FSA Silver verification, including biodiversity improvements. New partners are currently recruited and, pending approval, the project is expected to officially kick off in October 2021.
Project Farmgate: Supporting Indian mango farmers on their way to FSA certification
Riedel is spearheading project “Farmgate 2.0” in the mango sector in India. The objective is to help 100 smallholder mango farmers in the Ratnagari region to achieve FSA Silver verification and to accelerate responsible mango sourcing in the region at large scale. The project is implemented with the support of the local partner Farms&Inns. It addresses various environmental issues such as the climate impact of farming, pesticide management and crop traceability as well as the living wage gap. Partners are invited to join to further scale up the impact.
A “juicy” blockchain initiative for more transparency
An innovative means to improve transparency across the juice supply chain, accelerate the uptake of sustainable juice volumes and support customer and consumer-facing communication: To this end and with support from IDH, SJC members Eckes-Granini and Refresco have kicked off a blockchain-based traceability platform called “JuicyChain”. The platform was launched at the beginning of the year and is open for interested parties to join. More than 40 companies have already shown interest.
SIFAV: Environmental program to boost sustainable production
Following the great interest of the SJC members, an update was also given on the most recent developments on the environmental program within the Sustainability Initiative Fruits and Vegetables (SIFAV). For example, the Environmental Footprint Toolkit was introduced and has been made available to all SIFAV members since April. The toolkit allows for measuring the carbon footprint, food loss, waste and water use in the supply chain with the aim to reduce the environmental impact across the entire chain. Towards the future, SJC intends to build on the existing knowledge and to learn from SIFAV when it comes to setting up environmental initiatives.
Into the future – how to secure more sustainable juice volumes towards 2030
Towards the end of the meeting, the members also had the opportunity to exchange information and brainstorm during a break-out session. The key topics: challenges in achieving more sustainable juice volumes and how to overcome these obstacles. Based on the brainstorming sessions, several interesting avenues were explored and will be investigated further – such as communication with consumers, alternative approaches to get smallholders certified and challenges with the certification of producers of smaller types of fruit.