Rabobank Recognizes its 2022 Food and Agribusiness Leadership Award Winners

Rabobank Contacts
F&A leadership awards

Aramark, Pivot Bio and Afresh celebrated during Rabobank F&A Leadership Awards

NEW YORK (December 1, 2022) – 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 corporations and fast-growing emerging companies that are setting remarkable examples of industry stewardship, sustainability, and innovation within the North American F&A space.

Finalists were reviewed by an independent panel of judges representing industry, academia, non-profits, media, and the investment community. Award recipients were determined based on an enhanced set of criteria specific to each award – Excellence in Food & Ag Leadership, Leadership in Sustainability and Emerging Leadership in Innovation.

Leaders from the three winning companies were honored today during Rabobank’s annual North America Food & Agribusiness Summit in New York City.

“We’re living through a challenging time that has shone a real spotlight on the food and agribusiness industry and its importance in creating a vibrant and safe food system for people around the world,” said Paul Beiboer, CEO, Rabobank North America. “Today, we celebrate three outstanding F&A companies that are setting examples in their fields through thoughtful, innovative and sustainable solutions that will drive their workplaces, customers, and the future of food.”

Rabobank Award for Excellence in Food & Ag Leadership

This overarching award recognizes a large-scale market leader in North America that has created outstanding and lasting impacts in its sector.

The winner of the Rabobank Award for Excellence in Food & Ag Leadership for 2022 is Aramark, a leading global provider of food services to businesses colleges and universities, schools, healthcare institutions,  sporting and conference venues, and vacation destinations, including many of the U.S.’s National Parks. The company, which also provides facilities management and uniform services worldwide, was founded in 1959 and has its headquarters in Philadelphia, PA.  Aramark demonstrates environmental stewardship with its food services,  and models corporate citizenship with its philanthropic initiatives. Aramark has showcased its leadership in the Food & Ag space not only through its business expansions, but by developing plant-forward, climate-friendly menus and by setting ESG goals in sustainability, diverse hiring, and a variety of other programs.

Aramark’s new plant-forward menu innovation initiative led to the development of 400 new plant-based recipes and reduced the amount of red meat recipes by 12% between 2015 and 2020. With the No-Deforestation Policy, Aramark established a cage-free egg goal by 2025 in the U.S.  Through its “Be Well Do Well” sustainability plan, Aramark aims to:

  • Reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 across operations
  • Reduce single use plastic and packaging across global food operations by 2022
  • 25% of all U.S. company spending be with small and diverse businesses by 2025
  • Reach net-zero value chain emissions by 2050

“Be Well. Do Well. captures our dedication to reduce inequity, support and grow our communities, promote diversity, and protect our planet, all while continuously strengthening the core values of our company,” said Aramark CEO John Zillmer.

“We don’t just do this by talking about it — we do the work through our programs and everyday practices,” he added. “From responsible and inclusive sourcing to strengthening local communities and protecting the planet, we want to lead the way. We are honored to be recognized by Rabobank.”

Rabobank Award for Leadership in Sustainability

This award celebrates a high-impact organization that has transformed agriculture through its unique products and has encouraged greater business, environmental, social, and governance sustainability.

The recipient of the 2022 Rabobank Award for Leadership in Sustainability is Pivot Bio, a pioneer in microbial nitrogen fertilizer that is paving the way for new startups who are also focused on providing the world’s farmers with more efficient and sustainable tools. Founded in 2011, Pivot Bio’s microbes capture and metabolize nitrogen from the atmosphere, enabling farmers to replace synthetic nitrogen and create a future with cleaner water and air.

In 2022, Pivot Bio launched a new class of products, PROVEN 40 On-Seed and RETURN On-Seed, that integrates nitrogen with the seed during planting, becoming the first-ever products to deliver nitrogen-producing microbes on the seed for crops like corn, sorghum and spring wheat. These innovative products not only reduce nitrogen – a critical component to food production that has negative environmental impacts – but also enhances crops’ potential all season by providing a dependable nitrogen source with no loss to leaching, denitrification, or volatilization. The company’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in ag and fertilizer production is evident from their game-changing, microbiome technology that has successfully met environmentally focused goals including:

  • Replacing the equivalent of a train car full of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer with a single gallon of PROVEN 40 On-Seed and RETURN On-Seed
  • Eliminating emissions that result from the production and transport of synthetic nitrogen; 140M tons of which annually uses 2% of the world’s energy
  • Efficiently delivering nutrition to crops without the environmental loss associated with synthetic nitrogen

“Pivot Bio serves farmers while improving the health of the planet by delivering more sustainable, better performing nitrogen. On behalf of the entire Pivot Bio team, thank you to Rabobank for recognizing our progress with the 2022 Leadership in Sustainability Award,” said Karsten Temme, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Pivot Bio.

“Microbial nitrogen fertilizer has the potential to permanently and immediately deliver reductions in GHG emissions, while providing farmers with greater confidence in their nutrient management. We’re committed to expanding the availability of this technology and are grateful to partners like Rabobank for helping to accelerate its adoption,” added Temme.

Pivot Bio is a two-time Rabobank Leadership Award winner, having won the Emerging Leadership in Innovation award in 2019.

Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation

This award honors a fast-growing young company that addresses issues in the food and agribusiness space in a new, innovative way.

The 2022 Rabobank Award for Emerging Leadership in Innovation was presented to Afresh, a fresh-first technology company  that has set out to streamline the complexity of perishable categories for brick-and-mortar retailers. The company’s platform uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to inform critical inventory and demand decisions  , allowing their clients to minimize waste, maximize freshness and multiply business profitability.

Afresh’s data-driven approach to reducing food waste and improving margins at retail, has the potential to drive significant advances in sustainability across the produce industry, overall consumer satisfaction and consumption. On average, stores using Afresh reduce shrink by over 25% and have increased their top-line revenue growth by 2-4%. Founded in 2017, the company’s innovative technology has already prevented 7.9M lbs. of food waste, 3.8k metric tons of GHG emissions and saved 140M gallons of water.

Afresh goes beyond traditional inventory solutions, addressing systemic inefficiencies in the food supply chain and considering the unique characteristics of fresh foods – including perishability and seasonality. In 2021, Afresh tripled its consumer base, and will serve 7% of U.S. grocery stores by the end of 2022.

“On behalf of the entire Afresh team, we’re honored to be recognized by Rabobank for the Leadership in Innovation Award,” said Matt Schwartz, CEO of Afresh. “We’re on a mission to eliminate food waste and make fresh food accessible to all, and are excited to partner with grocery retailers like Albertsons Companies and Cub Foods that are embracing innovation in the fresh food supply chain.”

About Rabobank

Rabobank Group is a global financial services leader providing wholesale and retail banking, leasing, and real estate services in more than 38 countries worldwide. Founded over a century ago, Rabobank today is one of the world’s largest banks with over $660 billion in assets.

In the Americas, Rabobank Wholesale Banking North America is a premier corporate and investment bank to the food, agribusiness, commodities and energy industries. Rabo AgriFinance, a subsidiary of Rabobank, is a leading financial services provider for farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses in the United States. Together, we provide sector expertise, strategic counsel and tailored financial solutions to clients across the entire value chain. Visit www.RabobankWholesaleBankingNA.com and www.RaboAg.com.