Native Forest is a brand that focuses on organic canned foods. Their parent company, Edward and Sons specializes in healthy foods that are convenient and diverse. Native Forest makes efforts to offer transparency in many areas including their farming practices and certifications. I would recommend Native Forest going above and beyond by providing more information on farming practices, labor practices, and transportation emissions. I believe Native Forest should try to shift to more local farming to decrease their carbon footprint of transporting the product internationally. For these reasons, I rate overall .76 planet.
Native Forest Mandarin Oranges ingredients are Organic Mandarin Oranges and Organic Mandarin Orange Juice. This is a great alternative to other brands of Mandarin Oranges that include added sugars and preservatives. These oranges are Certified USDA Organic. This certification means that the product is strictly without GMOs, antibiotics, herbicides, toxic chemicals. The product cannot be grown with synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, or sewage sludge.
The oranges are grown in Zhejiang, China on “organic islands”. Native Forests emphasizes that there is biodiversity with the orange trees and not monoculture practices. Farmers prune the orange trees to increase sunlight and ward off diseases. Farmers also “remove and destroy” infected fruit which explains how they do not use pesticides to ward off pests or diseases. The oranges are then harvested from October to December.
It is not made entirely clear the process of how orange trees are grown and if there are any concerns with water use or soil quality. Another citrus farm in San Francisco, California is organic as well. They achieve this by similar practices that Native Forest uses which is non-monoculture orchards with native plants which discourage disease and pests. Newly planted orange trees require deep watering once a week but once established (around 1-3 years), orange trees should not need this. This leads me to believe that orange trees are not water-intensive. Native Forest does not make their labor practices clear of the fruit picking which can be labor-intensive. For these reasons of organic farming, not a water-intensive crop, and unknown labor practices I would rate 1 planet.
Native Forest does not make clear the production process of the oranges. Referring to the general canning process, the oranges may be blanched to preserve flavor and then packaged into steel cans to be sterilized for long term storage. For the transportation, they do mention that once the oranges are harvested, farmers take the fruit to the mainland where they are taken to the canning facility 55 miles away. The travel distance is made transparent which is not too far to ensure the freshness of the fruit. Native Forest should explain further their transportation distances if they distribute to retailers internationally. This could provide information on how they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions or if there are goals to offset these emissions. For the packaging the steel cans are recyclable and they are also without BPA lining. BPA has links to cause health issues like reproductive issues and even cancer. I would recommend Native Forest to create goals in how they can improve in their transportation sector as the oranges are exported from China to long distances internationally. These goals could include offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and providing solutions to achieve carbon neutrality. For these reasons, I would rate .3 planet.
The parent company of Native Forest is called Edward and Sons which was founded in 1978 by Joel Dee. Dee’s mission was to provide delicious and convenient vegetarian food that focused on good health. Dee still is involved in the business and has met with many suppliers worldwide. Edward and Sons have multiple brands of organic foods including vegan cheeses, Japanese specialty foods, and more. Their website includes a sustainability page that lists all of the organizations they are involved in. This includes the recycled paperboard alliance that ensures their packaging is 100% recyclable. Some of their products are Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic. They also participate in Fair Trade as they are certified fair trade by the third party, More Than Fair. Further, they explain that they have supported community projects funded by fair-trade organizations that drilled wells and installed solar panels to farmers who did not have access to water or electricity. I would recommend Edward and Sons to go above and beyond by creating sustainability goals regarding their transportation sector by offsetting carbon emissions. I would also like to see more transparency of the labor practices. I believe Edward and Sons have good intentions to provide organic and healthy food but I think international farming is not the most sustainable as this may cause a high carbon footprint. For these reasons, I would rate 1 planet.