Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery was recently able to talk to Julia Person, sustainability manager, Bob's Red Mill, Milwaukie, Oregon, about the company's sustainability initiatives, including environmental responsibility.
Liz Parker: How is Bob’s Red Mill prioritizing environmental responsibility, as well as building on its momentum from 2021?
Julia Person: Sustainability has always been an important value we uphold at Bob’s Red Mill, and we’re committed to making continuous strides in this area. Our vision is to be a global leader in promoting a healthy planet through our company practices and individual behaviors. In 2021, [I was brought on as] our sustainability manager to lead and grow the company’s existing efforts. [I am] assessing our current efforts and putting a number of additional ones in place, alongside the Sustainability Committee—which led to the Leader in Sustainability Gold Certification award by Oregon’s Clackamas County, the county's highest honor given to a business leading the charge in minimizing waste, conserving energy and water, and preventing pollution.
LP: What initiatives were already in practice?
JP: Some of our ongoing initiatives that focus on nourishing a healthy planet include minimizing the impact of our packaging, partnering with Energy Trust of Oregon on world-class efficiency in our operations, and supporting a plant-based diet as an effective way to combat climate emissions.
The company is also focused on our carbon emissions, and in March of 2021, we installed a 120-kW solar panel system at our Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store, Restaurant, & Bakery in Milwaukie, Oregon to provide renewable energy. Already we’ve saved 92 tons of CO2 with these solar panels. That’s the equivalent of planting 1,400 trees, and the renewable energy helps power electric vehicle charging stations for customers.
LP: What initiatives is Bob's Red Mill planning on implementing in 2022?
JP: We have a lot planned for 2022 and beyond. A sneak peek at a few elements we’re planning at this point include:
- Creating a carbon inventory that will measure our emissions, both direct and supply chain. Some of this important work will be centered on ingredients in our value chain, and we have 10 priority ingredients to examine: Wheat, Oats, Rice, Corn, Coconut, Sugar, Cocoa, Cassava/Tapioca, Quinoa, and Almonds
- We’ll also measure the water impact, soil health, and biodiversity of our priority ingredients—eight key metrics overall. Because of this, we will be able to say, here’s our current impact, and here’s where we need to work to improve.
- Electrifying our fleet by installing electric vehicle chargers and converting our heavy and light duty owned vehicles to EVs.
- Mapping out mitigation opportunities to care for the wetlands on our property. It’s extremely important for us to be stewards in restoring habitat and improving water quality.
LP: What consumer packaged goods (CPGs) does Bob's Red Mill offer?
JP: We carry a wide variety of CPGs, from baking mixes to hot and cold cereals like our line of granolas and oatmeal cups and packets, bars, crackers, grains and seeds, pulses and beyond. Below are more details on what we offer:
- A full ready-to-eat line of snacks and cereals, such as our gluten-free Oat Crackers, Bob’s Bars made with whole grain oats, peanut butter and organic honey, and our Homestyle Granolas, including our newest addition to the lineup, Peanut Butter Homestyle Granola.
- Easy baking mixes like Buttermilk Pancake & Waffle Mix, Gluten-Free Pancake Mix, Gluten-Free Pie Crust, and Grain-Free Brownie Mix.
- A bountiful selection of stone-ground, whole grain, organic, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly flours fit for any kitchen. Specific examples include Paleo Baking Flour, Gluten-Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour, Cassava Flour, Chickpea Flour and more.
- Whole grain oats, including Gluten-Free Organic Old Fashioned Rolled Oats, Gluten-Free Organic Quick Cooking Rolled Oats, and Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats.
- Grains, beans, and seeds such as Organic Quinoa, Organic Farro, Organic Chia Seeds, Golden Flaxseed, and more.
Overall, we have around 200 Bob’s Red Mill products. You can find the full line at BobsRedMill.com.