Framed by a rigorous methodology, we quantified the environmental impact (i.e., the greenhouse gas emissions) of our products, processes or services. Here’s what we discovered!
AGRICULTURE - 81% OF OUR IMPACT
Each ingredient requires important natural resources and energy to grow and be harvested. That’s why in the case of most food products, the environmental impact due to farming is surprisingly much higher than the impact due to transport or even packaging.
Reducing our environmental impact therefore starts from the ground up. By choosing ingredients that are 100% organic, we avoid the negative impact of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on our soil, our water and our air. Vegan ingredients also reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as water and fossil fuels usages. But more can be done. And so we’re turning to farmers to help us lead the way in sustainable agriculture to reduce our global footprint. Find out more about our commitment to organic ingredients here.
INGREDIENTS TRANSPORT - 8% OF OUR IMPACT
It comes as no surprise that transporting ingredients from farms to factory has an impact on the environment—mainly by the emissions of greenhouse gas. But what’s interesting to know is which ingredients have the biggest transport impact. Our assessment showed that higher volume ingredients traveling long distances by truck have a higher carbon footprint. So although distance might initially seem like the main deciding factor for ingredient selection, the reality is more complex. This insight supports our conscious effort to maximize our truck capacity and prioritize intermodal transportation using boats and trains when possible to reduce our carbon footprint.
PACKAGING MATERIALS - 5% OF OUR IMPACT
Packaging exemplifies the importance of looking at a product’s entire life cycle to determine its environmental impact. Paper products (including cardboard) have a larger impact at the beginning of their life cycle, when it is being produced, because of deforestation and CO2 production emissions. Plastic, on the other hand, is more detrimental to the environment in its end life, when we dispose of it, due to its accumulation in our oceans. A life cycle assessment exposes the full scope of impact from packaging choices so that no matter if it’s paper or plastic, we use it responsibly.
At PRANA, we use flexible plastic bags for our products and low-weight cardboard boxes filled at their maximum capacity for shipments. As a result, our packaging impact is low (5%). Reducing and optimizing our cardboard packaging alone saved 12+ tons of paper products from ending up in landfills in 2017. That’s the weight of 8 cars!*
Paper or plastic?
Our use of cardboard has a bigger impact on the environment than plastic, contributing to 58% of our overall packaging impact (vs plastic with 34%). That is why we have focused our efforts on reducing cardboard consumption. Although plastic is produced from non-renewable materials, its conservation properties help us reduce food waste by prolonging shelf life of oxidation-sensitive ingredients like nuts.
MANUFACTURING AND OFFICES ACTIVITIES - 4% OF OUR IMPACT
Energy consumption, water usage and waste generation all have a considerable impact on our planet. In our case, energy consumption is the biggest culprit, with more than 97% of the environmental impact of our factory being attributed to the natural gas broiler that cooks our maple nuts and sumsuma sesame squares. By transitioning toward renewable energy sources, e.g., switching to LED lighting and purchasing renewable energy certificates (REC) in support of wind energy, we are working towards reducing our carbon footprint.
Other eco-friendly initiatives
Other eco-friendly initiatives are already implemented at PRANA:
- Renewable energy credits for our energy consumption
- Compost and recycling in the factory and office
- Reduced cardboard consumption by maximizing its use
- Conservation energy equipments
- Secondhand office furniture and equipment
- FSC-certified paper and notebooks made from recycled paper
- Biodegradable cleaning products
- Biodegradable gloves for factory employees
The most important part of a LCA isn’t the big picture it draws, but the opportunities it exposes for us to take action. In line with our vision to reduce our environmental impact, our team is looking into the broader implementation of sustainable farming practices amongst other initiatives. Read more on our commitment to organic farming and find out more about our global mission as a snacktivist company!
*The commercial and consumer realities were not taken into account for our LCA. The environmental impact of points of sale (energy consumption) or of consumer behaviour (CO2 emissions from store to home) are not reflected in PRANA’s life cycle assessment.