-- and where did Craisins® come from?
Kristine Young is sustainability manager at Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. Young will be speaking at Focal Point 2012: Capitalizing on Sustainable Technology on Oct. 10 in Stevens Point, WI. In an email interview, we asked her about sustainability initiatives at the grower cooperative, and how Craisins® came to be.
WIST: To what extent are the sustainability initiatives at Ocean Spray being driven from the ground up (grower interest), the top down (management interest) or by your customers?
Young: At Ocean Spray, we have been providing good-for-you products straight from the land we farm and care for since we began over 80 years ago. Consistent with our heritage as a farmers’ cooperative and our success as a beverage company, we recognize the importance of environmental sustainability and focus our efforts in two key areas: Sustainable Agriculture and Water Stewardship. We have an environmental sustainability policy with target metrics to integrate efforts throughout our enterprise, and abide by farm sustainability principles defined by our grower-owners to ensure the longevity of their family farms. Together with our grower-owners, employees, customers and suppliers, Ocean Spray is committed to managing our business in a way that minimizes our environmental impact.
WIST: Briefly describe how Craisins® came into being?
Young: The idea for sweetened dried cranberries (sold under the brand Craisins®) started in 1986 as a means for using the leftover cranberry hulls from the juice process. Once the juice is extracted from the fresh cranberries, it is filtered, packaged and sent to manufacturing facilities to be made into cranberry juices and juice drinks. The left over cranberry hulls are then bathed in sweetened cranberry juice, dried and sold as Craisins® Dried Cranberries.
WIST: Cranberries are a very important part of Wisconsin agriculture. Can you explain how Ocean Spray will continue to support sustainable cranberry production in the state in the years ahead?
Young: The growing of cranberries is the single most important activity in our supply chain. We are working with our Grower-Owners, in Wisconsin and around the United States, and BSR (a non-profit network with expertise in sustainable business solutions) to further our efforts in sustainable agriculture, help promote sustainable cranberry practices, and bring us closer to our goal of having all agricultural inputs evaluated using a rigorous standard for environmentally and socially responsible agriculture. Together with our grower-owners, we have developed both a set of Farm Sustainability Principles and collaborated on a Sustainable Cranberry Farm Assessment Tool to help Growers manage impacts in five critical management areas: soil conservation; watershed protection; nutrient and pest management; wildlife stewardship; and business operation. These efforts will continue to support sustainable cranberry production in Wisconsin in the years ahead.