Country Sweet Produce: Pioneering Sustainability in Agribusiness

THE MISSION

Efficiently comply with Walmart’s Project Gigaton requirements, meet diverse customer sustainability demands, and adhere to California’s SB 253 & SB 261 regulatory standards.

THE OUTCOME

Over the past two years, SustainaBase has streamlined Country Sweet Produce’s carbon footprint tracking, simplifying their reporting process for Project Gigaton and other carbon footprint inquiries.

THE IMPACT

Country Sweet Produce joined Walmart in their Project Gigaton efforts and partnered with SustainaBase to set targets and take science-based, measurable action to report and reduce emissions. Using SustainaBase services and platform, Country Sweet gained confidence in their reporting and continues to stay ahead of compliance and work toward emissions reporting and reduction goals.

SERVICES
  • Data Ingestion & ESG Data Concierge™
  • Dynamic Carbon Footprint™
  • Organizational Data Mapping
  • Monitoring & Support
  • Dynamic ESG Data Dashboards & Visualizations
  • Dynamic Intensity Metrics Tool
  • Dynamic Strategy Tool
  • Dynamic Target Setting Tool
CERTIFICATIONS & DISCLOSURES ACHIEVED

Walmart Project Gigaton
California SB 253 & SB 261


Rooted in Tradition, Leading in Sustainability

Nestled in the fertile San Joaquin Valley of Bakersfield, CA, Country Sweet Produce stands as a testament to enduring agricultural traditions and forward-thinking environmental stewardship. A family-owned farm since 1944, Country Sweet Produce has built a legacy on the lush “California’s Sweet Spot,” renowned for its nutrient-rich soil.

For more than three generations, Country Sweet Produce has championed regenerative agriculture, tirelessly honing methods that rejuvenate the earth. Their approach encompasses meticulous soil management through strategic tillage, nurturing with cover crops, and intelligent crop rotation. Complementing these soil-centric practices, Country Sweet Produce implements water-saving techniques like drip irrigation and utilizes sustainable materials such as reusable CHEP pallets and RPC boxes, ensuring their entire operation aligns with their commitment to environmental integrity, underscored by their USDA and CCOF Organic Certifications.

Embracing Change: Evolving Sustainability Demands

Country Sweet Produce began their shift toward environmental accountability in direct response to changing customer expectations, prominently influenced by a major client — Walmart — to comply with their Project Gigaton initiative. As this journey progressed, Country Sweet Produce observed a growing trend of sustainability requests and requirements from other clients as well. Simultaneously, they were acutely aware of the evolving governmental regulations concerning corporate climate emissions, signaling a clear shift in the broader operational landscape.

Recognizing this shift as a pivotal moment, Country Sweet Produce began to organically refine their sustainability strategy, maintaining vigilance over the fluid terrain of regulatory changes and diverse client expectations.

Country Sweet Produce initiated their collaboration with SustainaBase, now going into its third year, to address the growing complexities in complying with Walmart’s Project Gigaton reporting standards. Although Country Sweet Produce has participated in Project Gigaton for four years, Walmart’s escalating rigor and required resource intensity in the reporting process necessitated a more streamlined and efficient approach, which led them to seek SustainaBase’s expertise.

Overcoming Data Drudgery

Before partnering with SustainaBase, Country Sweet Produce’s sustainability reporting was a Herculean task.

Annual reports to Project Gigaton involved mining intricate data on Sold Control Units (SCUs), product IDs, and packaging weights — all managed manually. This labor-intensive process meant starting from scratch every year, relying heavily on spreadsheets and data from disparate sources. The burden of data compilation fell on the sales director, which ate into time devoted to routine sales operations turning a crucial sustainability endeavor into an annual ordeal.

Reporting to Walmart Project Gigaton & Streamlining Carbon Data with SustainaBase

Country Sweet Produce’s partnership with SustainaBase revolutionized the company’s approach to reporting on their carbon footprint. Previously reliant on numerous spreadsheets and databases, Country Sweet Produce used SustainaBase’s platform to transition to a centralized, regularly updated dashboard. This integration not only streamlined the process but also made the data required for Project Gigaton reporting easily accessible and manageable.

In 2023, a significant update from Walmart transformed the reporting landscape for Project Gigaton participants like Country Sweet Produce. The new requirement mandated that companies striving for Giga Guru status must disclose Scopes 1 and 2 emissions in their reports. Fortunately, Country Sweet Produce, with SustainaBase’s tools at their disposal, was well-prepared for this change.

Hannah Rocha, Replenishment Analyst at Country Sweet Produce, reflects on the evolution.

“This year when I saw they were requiring the carbon footprint I briefly panicked but then remembered, ‘Oh yeah, SustainaBase. We should have that information already,’ and we were already ahead of the curve. So that was pretty nice to not have to worry about doing all that manual calculation.”

SustainaBase’s platform freed up valuable resources and allowed Hannah to quickly address reporting requirements around carbon emissions then move on with her day.

The benefits of this partnership extended beyond streamlined data management. SustainaBase’s commitment to client service meant that Country Sweet Produce consistently received prompt and effective support and up-to-date data on emissions when needed. This reliable collaboration greatly facilitated Country Sweet Produce’s compliance with the intricate demands of Project Gigaton and other client requirements. Furthermore, the positive experience was mirrored by Walmart as well, who provided responsive, constructive support throughout the reporting period to make for a smooth process.

Setting the Pace in Environmental Compliance and Innovation

Country Sweet Produce’s strategic decision to partner with SustainaBase and proactively track sustainability metrics has proven to be a wise move, extending far beyond mere disclosure to Project Gigaton. This partnership has been instrumental in embedding sustainable practices into the very fabric of their business operations. Moving from a predominantly compliance-driven mindset, Country Sweet Produce is now embracing sustainability as an intrinsic part of their operational ethos.

This proactive approach was particularly evident when California introduced new environmental regulations, SB 253 and 261, in 2023. Thanks to their foresight and SustainaBase’s efficient platform, Country Sweet Produce wasn’t just compliant, but ahead of the curve. The readiness of SustainaBase’s carbon accounting platform facilitated a smooth alignment with the new state regulations. This proactive stance has propelled Country Sweet Produce to actively consider additional environmental initiatives. They are currently conducting a thorough cost-benefit analysis of transitioning to electric vehicles and forklifts, anticipating a future where such sustainable practices might shift from incentivized options to mandated requirements.

Sustainable Insights: Country Sweet Produce Shares Key Lessons for Environmental Stewardship

Reflecting on their journey, the leaders at Country Sweet Produce offer sage advice for others embarking on similar paths. Their top takeaways:

Takeaway #1: Clarify company sustainability goals.


Understanding and defining your company’s sustainability objectives, especially in reducing carbon footprint, is key. This clarity is essential for effective collaboration with partners like SustainaBase, who offer specialized tools and expertise for tracking and measuring these goals. A well-defined sustainability aim allows for a more productive partnership, enabling partners like SustainaBase to customize services that meet your specific environmental targets.

Takeaway #2: Proactively adapt to change.


In the rapidly evolving climate landscape, it’s critical to be proactive and stay ahead of regulatory and market changes. This proactive approach is essential, not just in responding to immediate changes but also in maintaining a competitive edge and long-term success. By being vigilant and agile, continuously monitoring and adapting to industry shifts, a company can ensure resilience and responsiveness to the ever-changing environmental and business challenges.

Takeaway #3: Align with corporate sustainability trends.

“If you’re somebody who knows you want to get in with a really big company, a lot of these companies are making shifts toward sustainability and carbon footprint reduction. So it’s definitely a good place to start.”
Hannah

For those aspiring to collaborate with major corporations, it’s crucial to recognize and align with the growing emphasis on sustainability and carbon footprint reduction in the corporate sector. This shift towards environmental responsibility is a fundamental aspect of contemporary business strategies. Partnering with platforms like SustainaBase positions you advantageously in this evolving landscape, providing a solid foundation to engage with these corporations effectively. Understanding and adopting sustainability practices is not just advantageous; it’s essential for those looking to make their mark in the current corporate world, where environmental stewardship is increasingly valued.

Embracing Sustainable Agriculture in California’s Heartland

Country Sweet Produce’s story is more than a tale of environmental compliance; it’s a narrative of proactive adaptation, innovative partnerships, and strategic foresight. Their collaboration with SustainaBase serves as a beacon for other companies navigating the complexities of sustainability in today’s dynamic business environment. As Country Sweet Produce continues to blend traditional farming values with modern environmental consciousness, their story stands as a testament to the power of collaborative innovation in the face of global sustainability challenges.


Connect with Country Sweet Produce

WEBSITEhttps://www.bakosweet.com/

LINKEDINhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/country-sweet-produce/

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