How are sustainability practitioners transforming companies? In this interview, Brie Johnson, the sustainability manager of Straus Family Creamery, shares her best practices. The Straus family has long been known for their commitment to sustainable production of excellent milk products, but every company can make improvements. The first step is to measure. Johnson uses Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association (FTSLA)’s metrics, uniquely suited for use by producers of agricultural products. FTSLA provides metrics in 11 sustainability performance areas including water consumption, energy consumption, waste production, certifications, etc. Johnson has completed the first set of FTSLA metrics for Straus including scope one and two emissions. Her base audit covered direct and indirect impacts such as energy consumption at distribution. The base audit confirmed some assumptions, but also revealed some surprises. For Straus, CO2 contribution from propane was surprisingly larger than from electricity. Such surprises are one of the key reasons for performing an audit, so that assumptions can be tested prior to creating an improvement plan. Straus is now on track to decreasing energy and water by 20%, and decrease waste by 30% in the coming years.
Connie Kwan is a GreenTech Marketing professional based in Silicon Valley, CA. She is pursuing an MBA in Sustainability at Presidio Graduate School and blogs about sustainability and business at Sustainable Thinking: Applied. Follow her on Twitter @ConnieMKwan.