Thursday 20th April 2023
Earth Day is on Saturday 22nd April and we’re taking the time to reflect on the good choices we’ve been making for over 25 years. In an interview with My Green Pod, we’ve shared five ways Yeo Valley Organic continues to support the environment.
Farmers see firsthand the incredible things that nature can produce – and the many ways in which humans have the potential to damage living systems. Everyone has a role to play in protecting and helping to preserve our planet for future generations. By respecting the natural world and working with natural relationships and cycles, organic farming is a healthier approach for both people and planet.
1. Regenerative farming projects
Regenerative organic farming looks a lot like a return to traditional farming methods. In organic farming, no chemicals or artificial fertilisers are used, and with both organic and regenerative farming soil disturbance is minimised and plant diversity is maximised. In 2021, here at Yeo Valley Organic, we took soil samples at three different depths, across 25 supplier farms, as part of a new carbon soil project. The six-year, £2 million programme will explore the impact of soil health on our climate crisis and guide the actions of farmers in the future.
The potential of regenerative organic farming to be part of the solution for mitigating climate change is hugely exciting for Yeo Valley Organic owner, Tim Mead. “Helping to regenerate the world’s soil carbon stocks is one of our greatest opportunities to help combat climate change”, Tim said. “The work we’re doing on our own and our supply farms is all about weaponising soil. As farmers and custodians of the soil, it’s time to recognise that our natural ally is right under our feet.”
2. Reducing food waste
More than a third of our food is wasted – that’s over 6.6 million tonnes of food every single year. In a bid to combat unnecessary waste, we switched ‘use by’ labels to ‘best before’ dates on butter, cheese, milk and natural yoghurt. “Investing in best before labelling puts the power of deciding when to eat back in our customers’ hands”, explains Yeo Valley Organic’s Beth Katuszka. “It allows us to use our senses – look, smell and taste – to prevent delicious dairy from ending up in the bin.”
3. Closing the loop
In recent years, Yeo Valley Organic has been working towards making our packaging fully recyclable and from 100% recycled plastic. A few significant changes include taking the plastic lids off big yoghurts pots, which will remove 145 tonnes of plastic a year.
Last year, Yeo Valley Organic introduced a new 1-litre milk carton made of renewable materials, using 70% less plastic than previous bottles. This followed a world-first move in 2020 that saw Yeo Valley Organic Super Thick Yogurt pots produced using 100% recycled plastic.
4. Renewable energy
On home soil at Yeo Valley Organic HQ, all electricity is from renewable sources – including solar power from our own family farms and many of our manufacturing sites. There’s a whole acre of solar panels on the roofs of its cowsheds, and over 10,000 solar panels have been installed at distribution and production sites in Somerset. It’s all part of our commitment to become 50% self-sufficient in electricity usage over the next 10 years.
5. Food miles
The UK imports half of its food, which can lead to shortages in the supermarkets. Making the small change of purchasing food locally and focusing on where your food comes from can reduce carbon emissions while supporting the best of British produce, like home grown organic dairy. It’s important that we remember the good choices we can all make every day – from taking part in ‘no mow May’ to supporting wildflowers and struggling pollinators by opting for organic yoghurt or milk when you’re in the dairy aisle.