New York – December 3, 2020
PepsiCo, General Mills, and Imperfect Foods honored during annual Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Summit.
Rabobank, a leading global food and agribusiness (F&A) bank, today announced the recipients of its annual Rabobank North America Leadership Awards. The awards celebrate both large-scale F&A corporates and fast-growing emerging companies that are setting admirable examples of industry stewardship, sustainability and innovation across the region.
This year’s awards included an enhanced set of criteria, including companies’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic and social responsibility criteria focused on employee and community efforts, as well as proactivity toward fostering racial equity. Finalists were reviewed by a panel of judges across industry, academia, non-profits, media, and the investment community.
Representatives from the three winning companies were presented with the awards during Rabobank’s annual Food & Agribusiness Summit today, which is taking place virtually this week.
“The challenges of 2020 showed why responsible leadership, commitment to sustainable practices and innovative solutions in the food and agricultural industry are more critical than ever before,” said Paul Beiboer, CEO, Rabobank North America. “The companies we’re honoring today have made remarkable progress toward a more resilient and flexible food system while promoting a more inclusive world.”
Rabobank Award for Excellence in Food & Ag Leadership
This overarching award honors a large-scale market leader that has made lasting impacts in its sector. Among other accomplishments, this organization has demonstrated outstanding corporate citizenship and agility in response to COVID-19 while setting standards of excellence within the industry.
This year’s winner is PepsiCo, a leading global food and beverage company headquartered in Purchase, New York. The company’s “Winning with Purpose” vision is reflected across its numerous achievements in corporate responsibility. PepsiCo committed $400 million over the next five years to advancing racial equality initiatives and has invested $38.5 million in improving gender equality in agriculture. The company has committed to sourcing 100% of its energy for direct operations from renewable sources and has shifted to a more sustainable packaging supply chain to substantially reduce its use of plastic. It also launched an accelerator to help advance purpose-driven solutions for the food and beverage industry.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, PepsiCo has provided charitable donations to more than 60 organizations, contributed millions for those in need of relief, and offered enhanced paid time off benefits for employees to quarantine or care for sick family members.
“As one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, PepsiCo embraces our responsibility to help build a more sustainable and regenerative global food system, and we want to be a clear leader in improving planetary health, both the health of the environment and the health of society,” said Jim Andrew, PepsiCo’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “We have to be focused as a company on caring for the environment and the people across our supply chain, using our scale as a force for good. We know there is a lot more to do, and we are committed to taking bold action and making rapid progress using science as our guide.”
Rabobank Award for Leadership in Sustainability
This award celebrates a high-impact organization that has achieved unique steps toward business, environmental, social, and governance sustainability.
The 2020 Rabobank Award for Leadership in Sustainability was presented to General Mills, a leading global packaged food company based in Minneapolis, for its bold regenerative agriculture projects, sustainable sourcing, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and commitment to 100% renewable energy in operations by 2030. The company further solidified its position as a leader by engaging with its partners, communities, and consumers on the importance of regenerative agriculture.
In response to the coronavirus crisis, General Mills and its Foundation increased and adapted their giving to help equip charitable organizations with greater financial and food resources to meet the unprecedented need. Their charitable response of $14 million included a “manufacture to donate” initiative where General Mills facilities manufactured and immediately donated product to Feeding America food banks, in addition to grants, locally and in key markets worldwide, to provide communities with relief and mitigate hunger.
“Thank you for recognizing General Mills’ commitment to sustainability – an area that means so much to me and our company,” said Mary Jane Melendez, Chief Sustainability and Social Impact Officer, General Mills. “Our business depends on the earth and its resources. Stressors to natural resources impact our ability to feed a growing population. To drive both planetary and business resilience, we are focused on regenerating the natural resources upon which we all depend. We are honored to receive this award and will continue to accelerate our efforts in support of the planet, people and the communities we serve.”
Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation
This award recognizes a fast-growing young company that addresses issues in the food and agribusiness space in an innovative way.
The 2020 Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation recipient is Imperfect Foods, a San Francisco-based company with a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone by delivering “imperfect” produce and grocery items directly to consumers through its ecommerce platform. The company, which is also an alum of Rabobank’s global startup discovery platform FoodBytes!, has demonstrated its commitment to corporate responsibility through the creation of an internal diversity and inclusion board and charitable donations to the NAACP and Appetite for Change, among other initiatives.
Imperfect Foods also awarded 18 grants through its grant program, the Feeding Change Fund, to help support emergency food distribution efforts in response to COVID-19 and matched donations to Feeding America.
“In the U.S. alone, 40% of food goes uneaten and $160 billion worth of food is wasted each year,” said Philip Behn, CEO at Imperfect Foods. “We are reimagining grocery delivery for a kinder, less wasteful world. We deliver sustainable, affordable groceries that make the weekly chore of shopping an effortless and delightful experience. Since 2015, Imperfect Foods has saved over 130 million pounds of food from going to waste. I am honored to receive the Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation, and without my incredible team and their commitment, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, and real estate services in more than 40 countries worldwide. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank today is one of the world’s largest banks with over $640 billion in assets. In the Americas, Rabobank is a premier bank to the food, agribusiness and beverage industry, providing sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire food value chain. Additional information is available on our website or on our social media platforms, including Twitter and LinkedIn
Rabobank is also creating a powerful engine for ongoing collaboration and innovation with food and agriculture startups, leading companies and investors who want to feed the world sustainably through its FoodBytes! platform. Learn more at foodbytesworld.com or on FoodBytes! social media platforms, including LinkedIn and Twitter.
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