SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NatureSweet®, the number one tomato brand and leading greenhouse-grown produce company has earned B Corporation™ Certification (B Corp™), becoming the largest Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) company in the world to do so.
NatureSweet has achieved this distinction as a result of more than 30 years of transforming the lives of agricultural workers in North America. The company is driven by the conviction that doing the right thing and building a business model grounded on treating people with dignity is not in conflict, but the reason for its success. NatureSweet pursued the B Corp certification to invite the $80 billion fresh produce industry to make the well-being of workers and their communities a cornerstone for growth.
“For more than three decades, NatureSweet has revolutionized the fresh produce industry with the best tasting and highest quality products,” says Rodolfo Spielmann, President and CEO of NatureSweet. “Our success comes directly from having the most committed and experienced workers growing and packing our produce. We created a model in which every Associate has the opportunity to earn a better income based on his or her individual effort, while also providing education, psychological support, and healthcare services. We are the largest CEA company that is Fair Trade Certified, Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) Certified, and now B Corp Certified. I am incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished and look forward to strengthening our efforts. We hope our impact goes beyond NatureSweet and serves as a roadmap for the industry.”
The company’s first-time certification score of 114 points is 34 points above the minimum requirement. The proof that the NatureSweet model is working lies in the superior quality of the fruits and vegetables it cultivates and its less than one percent turnover rate, which is extremely low in the agricultural industry. To become B Corp Certified, NatureSweet met rigorous benchmarks in several categories including Workers, Community, Customers, Environment, and Governance. Below are a few noteworthy highlights:
- NatureSweet is committed to transforming an industry that has not historically placed its workers at the center or treated them as the most precious driver for success. NatureSweet has created income sustainability for its workers by paying them more than double the minimum wage in Mexico. They earn almost 40% above the median wage of agricultural workers in Mexico, and approximately 25% above the median wage of its main competitors. NatureSweet agricultural workers have the opportunity to earn up to 300% in bonus compensation. In 2022, 75% of NatureSweet agricultural workers earned livable wages enabling them to have better access to housing, education, and healthcare. These wages are 53% above the average agricultural compensation in Mexico.
- As a Fair Trade Certified company, NatureSweet has an employee-run fund (known as the Fair Trade Premium), that generates millions of dollars annually and supports community development initiatives such as improved education, access to quality health services, accommodations, development projects, and other basic services. In prioritizing the authority of its Associates, NatureSweet created systems that cultivate employee leadership and accountability within greenhouses. When associates take ownership of their work, they are happier, which translates into higher-quality outputs.
- NatureSweet also created an educational program so that agricultural workers can learn how to read and write and earn their elementary, middle, and high school diplomas. By the end of 2023, more than 2,000 employees will have benefitted from the program.
- NatureSweet’s innovative greenhouse growing methods and processes have positioned the company as a leader in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) and sustainable practices. The company’s drip irrigation systems result in approximately 80% less water usage than open-field agriculture for small tomatoes. Rather than using traditional soil, NatureSweet plants are cultivated in coconut husk fiber. This allows plants to absorb water and nutrients directly, thus reducing water waste by 30%. NatureSweet uses fewer chemical products and fertilizers compared to conventional open-field agriculture. NatureSweet is 100% non-GMO, and 70% of the company’s packaging material volume is from recycled plastic. Recently, the company voluntarily conserved more than 120 acres of its land to protect endangered species.
NatureSweet joins other Certified B Corporations around the world including companies like Patagonia, Allbirds, and Ben and Jerry’s, which have also been evaluated and determined to meet the highest verified standards of social and economic performance, public transparency, and accountability. B Corps utilize the power of business to do more than seek profit, positively impacting communities and environments and are reevaluated every three years. The certification is designed to help consumers identify companies that have a mission that aligns with their values.
“As a sponsor of NatureSweet’s B Corp initiative I am proud of the tremendous efforts by so many Associates throughout this rigorous process,” says Skip Hulett, General Counsel and VP of NatureSweet. “The Associates went above and beyond to show how much it means that NatureSweet be recognized as a force for good.”
For more information about NatureSweet and its efforts to transform the lives of agricultural workers in North America, visit www.naturesweet.com.
For more information about B Corp, visit www.Bcorporation.net.
NatureSweet® is the single-source solution for greenhouse-grown vegetables and is the #1 best-selling brand in snacking tomatoes. The largest vertically integrated agriculture company in North America, NatureSweet guarantees great tasting produce year-round, both organic and conventional. Our vegetables are carefully grown, harvested, and packaged by more than 6,000 directly employed company Associates. NatureSweet tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers are handpicked at the peak of freshness and sold at major supermarket retailers throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. NatureSweet is dedicated to having a positive social, environmental, and economic impact within our communities, and our commitment is to transform the lives of agricultural workers throughout North America. This work, as well as our efforts regarding sustainability, have led us to earn B Corp, Fair Trade, and EFI certifications.
B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials. To achieve certification, a company must demonstrate high social and environmental performance by achieving a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and passing our risk review. They must also make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and achieve benefit corporation status if available in their jurisdiction. B Corps must also exhibit transparency by allowing information about their performance measured against B Lab’s standards to be publicly available on their B Corp profile on B Lab’s website. There are currently over 6,000 Certified B Corporations in more than 80 countries and over 150 industries.