Time Capsule: Earth Day Origins to Consumer Demands for Sustainability

Time Capsule: Earth Day Origins to Consumer Demands for Sustainability

April 8, 2020

It may be hard to imagine that before 1970, a factory could spew black clouds of toxic smoke into the air or dump tons of toxic waste into a nearby stream, and that was perfectly legal. They could not be taken to court to stop it. How was that possible? Because there was no EPA, no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. There were no legal or regulatory mechanisms to protect our environment.

In spring 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day to force this issue onto the national agenda. Twenty million Americans demonstrated in different U.S. cities, and it worked. In December 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries, which are now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

We all benefit from these efforts including those in the grocery sector.

Today’s grocery shoppers have a lot on their plates. Even though they’re time-pressed, they’re looking for real food that tastes great and is nutritious. They also want to work with companies along the food supply chain that are treating sustainability seriously.

Limoneira, for example, has a variety of sustainability efforts underway. The company has a 12- acre facility that diverts green waste from landfills. The resulting mulch is used in the orchards to reduce water, herbicide and fertilizer use. It also strengthens tree roots and gets more nutrients to trees. Seven solar installations across the company produce a total 7M KW annually, enable them to be 50 percent off the grid, and will reduce 86,830 tons of CO2 over 25 years. Limoneira uses patented technology to treat 30 million gallons of greywater from farmworker housing units and processing facilities bringing it up to CA title 22 drinking standards.

With Earth Day on April 22nd, consider how you can meet your shoppers’ need for planet health in addition to their personal health by sharing stories about the sustainability work of suppliers like Limoneira. Partner with internal colleagues to showcase efforts your retailer has in place to be greener. Help shoppers understand easy steps they can take in their personal lives to be more sustainable, such as the ideas shared by Limoneira’s Spokesperson Megan Roosevelt, RDN in this video.

Working together across the supply chain, we can honor the origins of Earth Day.