Rabobank, a global food and agribusiness bank, has announced the recipients of its annual Food & Agribusiness (F&A) North America Leadership Awards, celebrating companies in the region that demonstrate exceptional achievements in innovation, sustainability and market leadership.

Hundreds of companies, from fast-growing startups to large corporations, were nominated across the three award categories of Emerging Leadership in Innovation, Leadership in Sustainability, and the top award of Excellence in Food & Ag Leadership. Finalists were reviewed by a panel of judges across industry, academia, non-profits, media and the investment community.

Representatives from the three award-winning companies were honored today at Rabobank’s annual Food & Agribusiness Summit in New York City.

“It’s important to recognize and celebrate the achievements of food and agribusiness companies that go above and beyond to foster a more sustainable and responsible food chain,” said Paul Beiboer, CEO, Rabobank North America. "This year’s recipients are making significant and long-lasting actions that will have positive effects for years to come.”

The overarching Rabobank Award for Excellence in Food & Ag Leadership honors a large-scale market leader that has demonstrated great and lasting impact in its sector. Among other achievements, this organization has achieved substantial success while demonstrating outstanding corporate citizenship and setting standards of excellence within the industry.

Wegmans, a family-owned supermarket chain, is the winner of the 2019 Rabobank Award for Leadership & Excellence. Founded in 1916 and still headquartered in Rochester, New York, the company has 101 stores in seven northeast and mid-Atlantic states, and sources a significant portion of its fresh produce from a network of grower partners near its stores. The growing chain has made great strides in reducing in-store plastic packaging and single-use plastics and donates about 14 million pounds of food to local food banks each year. Wegmans was recognized as a 2018 and 2019 Outstanding Safer Choice Retailer by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and was ranked #1 for Corporate Reputation in the 2019 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient Study.

“Thank you for recognizing our commitment to helping our customers live healthier, better lives through food,” says Colleen Wegman, president & CEO, Wegmans. “One of the most impactful ways we’ve been able to accomplish this is through our organic farm and orchard, where we try new varieties and new growing techniques and, then, share what we learn with our grower partners.  We are honored to receive this prestigious award.”

The Rabobank Award for Leadership in Sustainability celebrates an organization that has taken major strides in business, environmental, social and governance sustainability. The 2019 award is given to Grupo Bimbo S.A.B. de C.V. (Grupo Bimbo), the Mexico City-based international baking products manufacturer that is also an industry leader in driving sustainability in its supply chain and focusing on renewable energy sources. In addition to consistently improving the nutritional profiles of its products, the company has announced its commitment to use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2025. It has drastically reduced its CO2 emissions and operates 71 self-sufficient solar rooftops, including the largest in Chile and South America. Grupo Bimbo was named a 2018 and 2019 Energy Star Partner of the Year by the U.S. EPA for its U.S. operations and was included on the 2019 List of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute.

“It is an honor for me to receive this award on behalf of the more than 138,000 associates around the world who share a common mission: to nourish a better world,” said Tony Gavin, executive vice president, Bimbo Bakeries USA. “Every business decision we make must support our purpose – to build a sustainable, highly productive and deeply humane company. This important recognition inspires us to continue working on this path, taking care of the environment and supporting the communities in the 32 countries where we operate.”

The Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation is given to a fast-growing young company that is addressing challenges and market gaps in F&A with a novel and disruptive business model. The 2019 award is presented to Berkley, California-based Pivot Bio, a company that provides a microbial nitrogen crop nutrition solution to farmers that reduces the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, helping farmers improve their profitability and sustainability. Pivot Bio was recognized as one of the Most Innovative AgTech Startups of 2018 by Forbes and one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2019 by Fast Company.

“On behalf of the entire Pivot Bio team, we are honored to be recognized by Rabobank for Emerging Leadership in Innovation,” said Karsten Temme, Ph.D., Pivot Bio CEO and co-founder. “This recognition is made possible by the multitude of people who believe there is a better way to provide nitrogen to corn. We are inspired every day by the innovative farmers who use our product. Thank you to them as well as our investors, partners and employees who, working together, have made it possible to deliver a solution that is better for the farm, the farmer and our planet.”

For more information about Rabobank’s Food & Agribusiness Leadership Awards, visit https://www.rabobankwholesalebankingna.com/leadership-awards/.