Blue Diamond Growers is kicking off 2023 by sharing sustainability accomplishments from the past year. Highlights are included in the cooperative’s first-ever sustainability report.
“We are proud of where we are on our sustainability journey,” said Dr. Dan Sonke, Director of Sustainability, Blue Diamond Growers. “Because we are a cooperative, for 112 years we have enabled family farms to compete in a volatile world. Our almond expertise extends from the orchard to processing facilities and the consumer. And through our stewardship program, we lead the world with more acres of almonds in a sustainability program than any other company.”
Sonke explains that Blue Diamond Grower sustainability efforts focus on six key pillars, including: sustainable agriculture, water stewardship, biodiversity and pollinators, climate and energy, people, and resilient communities. Key achievements in 2022 alone include:
$45 million in funds awarded to Blue Diamond Growers by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of a climate protection partnership activation that will be used to help growers expand existing implementation of cover crops, conservation plantings and hedgerows, and whole orchard recycling.
More than $1.74 million paid directly to growers through the Blue Diamond Growers Orchard Stewardship Incentive Program (OSIP). The OSIP now covers 40% of all Blue Diamond member acres representing more almond acres in a sustainability program than any other company in the world.
95% of Blue Diamond member orchards in the stewardship program report using efficient micro-irrigation systems. That’s nearly two times the rate found in other California crops.
29% of Blue Diamond orchards reported planting cover crops for soil quality and pollinator benefits.
18% reduction of materials going to landfill at the Salida facility through increased recycling.
A new project to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the replacement and modernization of a steam boiler system at the Sacramento plant. The project is expected to reduce natural gas consumption by more than 30% and water use by 20%.
$140,000 in community grants committed to 14 organizations, along with $25,000 donated in matching funds to contribute to 807 Future Farmers of America (FFA) jackets for high school students.
190,000 lbs. of almonds and almond products – valued at more than $700,000 – provided in product and in-kind donations to food banks and other nonprofit organizations.
“We are certainly proud of the accomplishments so far, but we know that sustainability – in all its facets – is an ongoing journey,” said Sonke. “We look forward to continual progress in the days, years and generations ahead.”