Tag Archives: sustainability

Nelson-Jameson Joins Forces with The Dairy Sustainability Alliance®

Sustainability is a word that carries a lot of weight. One of the more common associations that is connected to the term is taking care of our environment. The release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report last month (a UN panel) certainly was an eye opener for many about the severity and potentiality of climate change in our world. From changing weather patterns, to droughts, to flooding, the reach of global climate change can have a severe impact on the affordability and accessibility of food, including the production of nutrient dense products.  Tackling this challenge will require a lot of teamwork in the dairy and food industries. Afterall, the health of our planet and our people isn’t a competitive advantage.

Though a large task, there is some power in taking a few incremental steps. Nelson-Jameson is proud to announce that we are the newest member of The Dairy Sustainability Alliance®, a collaborative and pre-competitive group to “support socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound dairy food systems that promote the current and future health and well-being of dairy consumers, communities, cows, employees, businesses, and the planet.”  

The Alliance is made up of a vast array of dairy companies (including A LOT of NJ customers!), governmental, academic, industry organizations, suppliers, dairy farmers, and beyond. The Dairy Sustainability Alliance “is open to companies and organizations all along the dairy value chain who are committed to being leaders in sustainability and demonstrate their desire and ability to further the dairy community’s social responsibility goals.”

Housed through the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy (check out our article here to learn more about the Innovation Center), whose areas of focus include sustainable nutrition, the community, food safety, animal care, and environmental stewardship, the Alliance is a place to help the industry collectively take on shared priorities (like U.S. Dairy’s 2050 environmental stewardship goals), discuss new ideas and technologies, and collaborate on responsibly moving dairy forward in partnership with each other. From the cows, to the dairy farmers, to processors, and finished product producers, we all have a part to play in bringing safe, quality dairy products to the market in the most responsible way possible.    

We hope to work closely with the Alliance, our customers, and our suppliers/manufacturers to critically engage in finding sustainable solutions (products, programs, services)  for the food industry that will guarantee a safe food supply, great products, and less of a negative footprint on our environment. Whether it is through new product innovation or helping our customers consolidate shipments/resources, we’re excited to see what we can accomplish.       

If you would like to learn more about the Innovation Center and their work, including the “Net Zero Initiative” which is creating on-farm pathways to help farmers and the dairy community meet its collective 2050 environmental goals, please click here. To learn more about The Dairy Sustainability Alliance’s (even how to become a member) please click here.      

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Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy: Bringing Together People with Resources and Education

Nelson-Jameson strives to not only be a resource of products, programs, services, and industry expertise, but to also be of service to the food industry and focus on the mutually shared goal of food safety and quality. This allows us to work with a whole host of professional organizations, academic programs, regulatory agencies, etc. Over the past several months, we have enjoyed engaging and becoming active with the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Food Safety Team. You may or may not be familiar with this volunteer organization, and even if you are, you may be surprised by the remarkable scope of resources available…   

The Innovation Center for US Dairy is a consortium of dairy industry producers, educators, and organizations that gather to align “pre-competitive priorities, drive progress and speak with one voice.” In terms of what Nelson-Jameson does on a daily basis, the Center’s food safety programs/materials have been especially beneficial as a welcome food safety resource. Their approach to their Food Safety Committee is based on four core strategies:

  1. Industrywide sharing of best practices to drive continuous improvement.
  2. Disseminate best practices via training, tools, and guidance documents.
  3. Support artisan, farmstead, and small dairy manufacturers.
  4. Identify new solutions through research.

This involves numerous industry stakeholders aligned into several key areas: the Innovation Center Committee, the Artisan Cheese Advisory Team, the Artisan Ice Cream Advisory Team, and a targeted Listeria Research Consortium. Along with pushing best practices and research forward, the Innovation Center heavily focuses on sharing information and resources for use by all industry stakeholders focused on each of these areas.      

If you browse through the  Innovation Center website, you will find an array of workshops, webinars, Spanish-language tools, etc. in areas as diverse as sustainability, animal care, nutrition, food safety, and community relations. Whatever portion of the dairy industry you fall into (and even for those outside of the industry interested in topics like food safety), exploring the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will provide you a tremendous resource to assist with the process of making safe, quality food.   

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Healthy People, Healthy Products, Healthy Planet

earth-day-foodToday is Earth Day, and our blog usually focuses around Nelson-Jameson’s social and environmental sustainability practices. This year, however, we’re taking a “big picture” approach, and exploring the overall food industry’s sustainability outlook. We’ll take a closer look at the ways in which food manufacturers, distributors, suppliers and retailers are taking steps to increase sustainability and reduce waste in the supply chain.

So, what is sustainability? Well, in this context it means that a business’s industrial practices and strategies create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony while permitting the fulfillment of social and economic needs of present and future generations. For the food industry, sustainability is a major strategic issue for the entire food supply chain—agriculture, manufacturing, packing and distribution.  With an expected 60% increase in global food demand by the year 2050, the food industry is facing increasing pressure regarding raw materials, ingredient sourcing and food production in a competitive environment of constant supply chain optimization and control. Given the circumstances, achieving sustainable practices seems pretty daunting. So, what can be done?

One of the largest and most popular initiatives involves focusing on food waste. Food waste is food that is discarded or unusable, and it occurs at all levels of the supply chain. An estimated 40% of all food produced in the United States is never eaten. General food waste solutions focus on three overall strategies—Reduce, Recover and Recycle. Food waste can be reduced by improving product development, storage, packaging, procurement, marketing, labeling and cooking methods. It can be recovered by connecting potential food donors (food service providers, food retailers and food processors) to hunger-relief organizations. Finally, food waste can be recycled to feed animals or to create compost, bioenergy and natural fertilizers. In addition to the positive environmental and social implications, managing and reducing food waste is also advantageous to the food industry’s overall financial health. Food waste is estimated to cost the commercial food service industry in the US approximately $100 billion per year, US consumers approximately $43 billion per year and global food processors approximately $750 billion per year.

Another way in which the food industry is increasing sustainability is through strengthening the links between industry and agriculture. Agribusiness is said to build sustainable food systems by providing more nutritious, healthy and foods and assuring increased food security. Many food manufacturers are reevaluating their ingredient and raw material sourcing, and are finding that building direct relationships with local agribusiness is efficient from both a cost and energy standpoint.

Using environmentally-responsible packaging is another example of a strategy in which many sustainably-minded members of the food industry are engaging. Americans recycle at only an average rate of 34.5%, so the majority of food packaging ends up in landfills or as street litter. Therefore, there’s a general perception that the onus to reduce packaging waste and increase recycling is on the makers of packaged foods and beverages. Although packaging only makes up a small part of a product’s environmental impact, packaging heavily influences buying decisions—especially those of sustainably-minded consumers. Therefore, many manufacturers are seeking ways to reduce plastic and paper waste in their packaging, while finding ways to make it easier for consumers to recycle, reuse or compost that packaging.

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Every Day is Earth Day at Nelson-Jameson

MC900440106Today is Earth Day 2014. Earth Day was founded by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1970 as a grassroots demonstration supporting environmental issues. Millions of people participate each year, and it has developed into a day that inspires awareness of and appreciation for the earth’s environment.

Like many of you, Nelson-Jameson has incorporated both sustainable and green practices into our everyday functioning. We feel that it’s the responsible thing to do—not just as a corporate entity, but as a distribution partner in a global supply chain. Our core business model of goods procurement – providing a wide line of products in multiple categories from hundreds of manufacturers – naturally facilitates a reduced logistical footprint through consolidated shipping, receiving and packaging.

Additionally, our manufacturers and customers benefit from the resulting cost-savings advantage that is gained from these distribution standards and processes. So basically, it’s a win-win.

Other external green and sustainability measures that Nelson-Jameson takes include:

• Recycling supplier/customer packaging materials and pallets that pass through our warehouses as a function of the normal course of trade.

• Recycling pallet wrap and shredded paper for packing outgoing shipments.

• Encouraging customers and suppliers to utilize electronic methods for receiving purchase orders, invoices, quotes, order confirmation and other order statements.

• Utilizing electric fax and invoice processing.

• Banking as much as possible through ACH methods.

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