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, "Growing a Better Tomorrow," which is available on the Blue Diamond Growers website.
"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."