The climate and ecological crises are an existential threat to humanity. If we don’t act as fast as possible to tackle global warming and biodiversity decline, we cannot hope to provide a safe future for the generations who must live in our wake.
At Riverford, we consider the environmental impact of all our decisions – but the technology, systems and innovation needed to support widespread change often sit outside of our normal, day-to-day activities. That’s why we’ve decided to ringfence money which can be used outside of everyday business, to speed up our investment in major sustainability projects.
We’ve seeded our new Planet Fund with an initial £1.8 million from our profits (possible thanks to an exceptional year in 2020-21), and committed to adding to this every year. The fund will support what we’ve dubbed ‘Riverford Planet Action’, our work to help build a more sustainable world.
This is split into three key pillars: our Climate Plan (we’ve pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions in the operations under our direct control by 2030), Biodiversity Plan (encouraging wildlife on our farms and beyond), and Farming for the Future Plan (working with our suppliers to develop more sustainable ways of producing food).
Parts of these plans cover core aspects of how we work every day. Electric vans, solar panels, or carbon emission monitoring; we consider these non-negotiable ‘brilliant basics’, which need to be factored in as part of how we do business, and not paid for out of the Planet Fund. We will continue to invest in them separately, as we have done for some time.
Instead, this exceptional funding will be used to drive projects which go above and beyond the everyday – such as early adoption of green technology (e.g. electric HGVs), innovative biodiversity improvements, ways to sequester carbon in the soil, hedges and woodlands of our own and our suppliers’ farms, and lots more.
Several brilliant projects are already underway; we’re supporting a fruit tree planting project in southern Ethiopia, providing nutrition and extra income for local people as well as sequestering carbon. And a biodiversity project is ongoing on our Devon farm, improving the habitat for all sorts of wildlife.
We’ll share all the details of these and many more projects in the coming months – watch this space. Find out more at riverford.co.uk/planet-action.