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New Zealand’s Pan Produce Organisation Praised For Global Leadership

Dr. Hans Maurer

AUCKLAND, Wednesday 20 June 2024

United Fresh is receiving international acclaim for its efforts to promote sustainability within the fresh produce sector, with New Zealand being hailed as a “pioneer” in a leading US publication.

It follows a presentation by United Fresh Technical Advisory Group members, Dr Hans Maurer and Jacob Lawes, who were invited to speak at the International Sustainability Summit in Vancouver in April.

The annual summit is hosted by the International Federation of Produce Standards (IFPS) and the Global Coalition of Fresh Produce (GCF) and is attended by key players across the international supply chain. The invitation to speak was a unique chance for New Zealand’s fresh produce industry to lead key conversations around climate action and how to reduce poverty, hunger, and inequality.

An article summing up key learnings from the summit has just been published in The Produce News which boasts 80,000+ digital subscribers across the globe. It highlighted the opinions of Leah Lex, Sustainability Manager for Volm Companies who supply packaging solutions to the fresh produce sector. Lex attended the summit and described New Zealand as a thought leader.

“The industry has already learned many valuable lessons thanks, in part, to jurisdictions that have paved the way. New Zealand, for example, has been a pioneer. The industry there has had success aligning produce supply chain practices with UN Sustainability Development Goals. Of the many lessons learned, New Zealand has shown us the value in having a solid structure to guide progress.”

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During their April presentation, entitled Aligning Global Produce Supply Chain Sustainability Practices with UNSDGS – Lessons to date, Dr Hans Maurer and Jacob Lawes outlined our local industry’s efforts to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by the New Zealand Government in 2015.

“Last year United Fresh unveiled guidelines for New Zealand’s fresh produce value chain to support individual businesses and organisations, from field to fork, to take the initiative and to start contributing towards achieving the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals,” explains Lawes.

“These guidelines are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. United Fresh has essentially led the global fresh produce industry by developing this resource. We were keen to share our experience at the sustainability summit so other countries can help their fresh produce industries to follow suit.”

In The Produce News article, Lex also points out that sustainability efforts must be ongoing. “Continuous is a key word because sustainability is not a goal that you reach, complete and forget about. It’s something that needs to be consistently prioritised,” she says.

Lawes agrees with this assessment. “As an industry, we now need to follow through more consistently to live up to our reputation. United Fresh is grateful to be able to contribute to global fresh produce thought leadership, through the work of our Technical Advisory Group.

“The focus must also now shift to implementation of the guidelines that United Fresh has developed. We want to see individual organisations and associations figuring out what they need to do to meet the SDGs and beginning their journey in terms of practical implementation – not just talking, thinking or planning but actually doing.”

A copy of the guidelines are available on United Fresh’s website: https://unitedfresh.co.nz/technical-advisory-group/united-nations-sustainable-development-goals.

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