NatureSweet, the renowned tomato brand, and leading greenhouse-grown produce company, has achieved B Corporation Certification (B Corp), making it the largest Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) company in the world to earn this prestigious distinction. With a commitment to transforming the lives of agricultural workers in North America, NatureSweet has been dedicated to building a business model grounded in treating people with dignity, which has been the driving force behind its success for over 30 years. By pursuing B Corp certification, NatureSweet aims to inspire the $80 billion fresh produce industry to prioritize the well-being of workers and their communities as a foundation for growth.
Rodolfo Spielmann, President and CEO of NatureSweet, expressed pride in the company’s accomplishments, stating, “Our success comes directly from having the most committed and experienced workers growing and packing our produce. We created a model in which every Associate has the opportunity to earn a better income based on their individual effort while also providing education, psychological support, and healthcare services. We are the largest CEA company that is Fair Trade Certified, Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) Certified, and now B Corp Certified. I am incredibly proud of what our team has accomplished and look forward to strengthening our efforts. We hope our impact goes beyond NatureSweet and serves as a roadmap for the industry.”
NatureSweet achieved an impressive first-time certification score of 114 points, surpassing the minimum requirement by 34 points. The company’s commitment to its workers is evident in the superior quality of its fruits and vegetables and its remarkably low turnover rate of less than one percent, which is exceptionally rare in the agricultural industry. To earn B Corp Certification, NatureSweet had to meet rigorous benchmarks across various categories, including Workers, Community, Customers, Environment, and Governance. Here are some notable highlights:
NatureSweet prioritizes income sustainability for its workers by paying them more than double the minimum wage in Mexico. They earn almost 40% above the median wage of agricultural workers in Mexico and approximately 25% above the median wage of its main competitors. The company offers up to 300% in bonus compensation to its agricultural workers, and in 2022, 75% of NatureSweet’s agricultural workers earned livable wages, allowing them to access better housing, education, and healthcare. These wages are 53% above the average agricultural compensation in Mexico.
As a Fair Trade Certified company, NatureSweet has established an employee-run fund called the Fair Trade Premium, which generates millions of dollars annually. This fund supports community development initiatives such as improved education, access to quality healthcare services, accommodations, development projects, and other essential services. By empowering associates to take ownership of their work, NatureSweet fosters employee leadership and accountability within greenhouses, leading to higher-quality outputs and increased employee satisfaction.
NatureSweet has embraced innovative greenhouse growing methods and processes, positioning the company as a leader in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) and sustainable practices. The company utilizes drip irrigation systems that result in approximately 80% less water usage compared to open-field agriculture for small tomatoes. Instead of traditional soil, NatureSweet cultivates plants in coconut husk fiber, which allows for the direct absorption of water and nutrients, reducing water waste by 30%. The company also minimizes chemical products and fertilizers compared to conventional open-field agriculture. NatureSweet is 100% non-GMO, and 70% of its packaging material volume is made from recycled plastic. Moreover, the company voluntarily conserved over 120 acres of its land to protect endangered species.
By achieving B Corp Certification, NatureSweet joins the ranks of other Certified B Corporations globally, including renowned companies like Patagonia, Allbirds, and Ben and Jerry’s. These companies have been evaluated and verified to meet the highest standards of social and economic performance, public transparency, and accountability. B Corps harnesses the power of business to create positive impacts on communities and the environment. The certification process is conducted every three years to ensure ongoing adherence to the rigorous standards. This certification helps consumers identify companies that align with their values and have a strong mission beyond profit-seeking.
NatureSweet’s B Corp Certification is a testament to its unwavering commitment to social responsibility and sustainability. As the largest CEA company in the world to achieve this distinction, NatureSweet continues to lead the way in transforming the fresh produce industry.
Image provided by NatureSweet