Sustainability the Zespri way

The essence of Zespri’s commitment to sustainability lies in the roots of our industry. Over the years, we’ve enjoyed excellent growing conditions, the kiwifruit we produce are in demand around the world for their great taste and the nutritional boost they offer, we tread relatively lightly on the land and as an industry we’ve built strong, thriving communities in New Zealand and across the globe. 

But we know there’s more for us to do. Our consumers, communities and our environment expect this of us. As we do of ourselves. 

There are many challenges ahead. By 2050, the world’s temperatures are at risk of having risen by around 4 degrees. This means we’re likely to see more extreme weather events, a potential decline in the population of some of the world’s natural species, and increasingly visible pollution in our air, on our lands and across our seas. 

As a result, conversations across the world are changing. No longer is there a need just for awareness, but for urgent and unprecedented action.

We are consumer-led

Our consumers have made clear that they want to truly connect with the companies who produce their food and see how Zespri not only recognises the importance of sustainability but embraces it across our supply chain.
That’s why today sustainability sits at the heart of our company purpose — to help our people, communities and the environment around the world thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit. 

And it’s our purpose that shapes how we’re addressing some of the significant environmental and societal challenges we’re facing today. 

What we’re working on

Over the past year, we’ve been working alongside our industry to develop our sustainability framework – it will guide the priorities we work on together and help us show how we’re making progress over time.

It will include making sure we’re adapting to climate change, reducing our carbon footprint, minimising the use of plastics in packaging and leading the way in preserving access to water and ensuring its quality.  

We’ll add to the work we’re already doing to improve our industry’s labour conditions, fostering our sector’s talent and making a positive contribution to not only the lives of our growers and consumers, but to the wider communities we operate in, both in New Zealand and beyond.  

We’ll be talking more about this and our targets early in 2020.​

Our Environment

​​We are striving to address how production, supply and sales impact on and enhance the environment, with a strong focus on packaging, water quality and climate change. This area includes information on our environment.​

Consumers around the world are demanding changes to packaging, Zespri has a commitment to help create a circular economy. This means moving away from society’s traditional ‘take, make and dispose’ model of production to one that ensures we minimise waste and make the most use of our resources by recovering and regenerating other products and materials from them. It’s also about building on some of the progress we’ve already made. For example, our transport packaging is ninety-five percent cardboard. Zespri is proud to have been the first fruit company in the world to introduce compostable eco-labels across all of our organic kiwifruit. And we’re rolling out a reduction in the weight of the plastic liners in our cardboard transport packs by almost 20 percent. 

A biospife is a spoon-knife utensil for cutting, scooping and eating kiwifruit. It is sold in retail packs of Zespri products. The biospife is made using technology that transforms kiwifruit residues into a plastically processable material, which can then be formulated with other plastics, such as polylactic acid. The biospife, is both renewable and compostable. In an industrial composting facility, a biospife will degrade within six months. It will break-down in a garden compost, but at a slower rate. 

Fruit labels

​We’re reviewing our consumer packaging materials to make sure that not only is the material food safety compliant and able to maintain fruit quality, but also recyclable, re-usable or compostable. We’re also closely monitoring developments in the fruit labelling space.​ ​​​

​Food waste

Reducing fruit waste is an integral aspect of Zespri Kiwifruit’s production system — for both environmental and cost reasons. Our industry has invested in information systems to improve inventory managem​ent, introduced lean manufacturing concepts, and improved fruit temperature monitoring — all helping to cut down on the amount of fruit that is wasted. ​

Water management

The spotlight on water has never been greater with an increasing need to preserve water for future use and protect its quality. The industry has developed a  water strategy with a vision of protecting and enhancing water resources for our people, our environment and our communities while enabling the industry to grow. ​This includes looking at how we use water, and how we can do so in the most sustainable way, and how we can gather data to measure our progress and improve.

Zespri uses direct shipping to reach consumers across the world. Shipping is responsible for the greatest contribution to the total carbon output in the Zespri supply chain. It is also our greatest opportunity to reduce emissions. Zespri uses direct shipping to supply our kiwifruit to consumers across the world. From 2020 onwards, all ships Zespri use will burn low sulphur fuel. This is a significant step taken by international shipping to play its part in reducing the impact of fuel emissions on our environment, and we fully support it.​​

Climate change and carbon

One of the challenges ahead is how we benchmark our carbon footprint performance and show progress on our sustainability measures in the coming years. Historically we haven’t done this as well as we’d like, so we’re putting effort into updating the carbon footprint of a kiwifruit, as well as understanding the amount of carbon we store on orchard. We have made a number of improvements in the efficiency of our supply chain, particularly in relation to shipping which is the largest portion of our carbon emissions as an industry. In addition, from 2020 onwards, all ships Zespri use will burn low sulphur fuel – one of the steps taken by international shipping to play its part in reducing the impact of fuel emissions on our environment.

Our Communities

We want to make a positive contribution to peoples’ livelihoods and wellbeing, through the returns we provide to growers, working conditions for our people and contributions in our markets. This area includes information on our communities.

​​ ​Community investment 

Visit our Zespri in the Community​ page to learn more about how we contribute to a happy and healthy community, a sustainable environment, and a skilled industry.

Our Kiwifruit

Through our kiwifruit we aim to help people live healthier lives with great nutrition, supported by the highest standards of food safety. This area includes information on our kiwifruit.

​Health and nutrition

Zespri Kiwifruit means vitality. Zespri Kiwifruit fans have been enjoying this ​vitality for years and scientific studies have proven that eating kiwifruit improves mood and vitality.​ Visit our Nutritious and Delicious page to learn more about the health benefits of Zespri Kiwifruit.

Food safety 

Zespri is committed to producing, sourcing and supplying safe food that meets customer’s ​and consumer’s expectations and all regulatory requirements for Food Safety. Click here to view our

Zespri Food Safety Policy for suppliers.​​