Organic Valley Family of Farms, the nation's largest cooperative of organic farmers and one of the nation's leading organic brands, has joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership.
Launched in 2007, GreenChill is an EPA cooperative alliance with the supermarket industry to promote advanced technologies, strategies, and practices that reduce emissions of stratospheric ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases. EPA works with grocers and foodservice providers in reducing emissions from retail refrigeration.
As part of their role in the partnership, Organic Valley will advocate the program's benefits and membership, and reconfigure the refrigeration within its systems at the retail store and employee cafeteria at its La Farge, Wis. headquarters.
To chart its progress in the future, Organic Valley will create a baseline measurement of corporate-wide refrigerant emissions and develop a Refrigerant Management Plan to reduce those emissions each year moving forward. Compared to the rest of the supermarket industry, GreenChill partners are already emitting fewer ozone-depleting refrigerants and greenhouse gases than their competitors, and saving money at the same time. The six original supermarket partners saved almost $13 million in operating costs in 2007.
"If every supermarket in the nation joined GreenChill and reduced their emissions to the current GreenChill average, the industry could prevent the release of 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and 157 ozone-depleting potential tons annually," said Cecil Wright, vice president of sustainability at Organic Valley. "That's a tremendous step in fostering a more sustainable supply chain for the entire food distribution industry."
"We're delighted to be a part of this initiative and help promote the immense opportunities for cost-savings and contributions to the environment GreenChill offers."
The Organic Valley co-op already incorporates the innovative ammonia cooling systems at its Chaseburg, Wis., creamery and it's Cashton, Wis., distribution center. Ammonia has a superior thermodynamic property; therefore, it requires less energy when used in large industrial refrigeration systems. In addition to ammonia's economic advantages, ammonia is a natural refrigerant that is environmentally safe to the atmosphere. Ammonia does not destroy ozone, or contribute to the greenhouse effect.
Organic Valley Family of Farms: Independent and Farmer-Owned
Organic Valley is America's largest cooperative of organic farmers and is one of the nation's leading organic brands. Organized in 1988, it represents 1,332 farmers in 32 states and one Canadian province, and achieved $527 million in 2008 sales. Focused on its founding mission of saving family farms through organic farming, Organic Valley produces a variety of organic foods, including organic milk, soy, cheese, butter, spreads, creams, eggs, produce and juice, which are sold in supermarkets, natural foods stores and food cooperatives nationwide. The same farmers who produce for Organic Valley also produce a full range of delicious organic meat under the Organic Prairie Family of Farms label. For further information, call 1-888-444-MILK or visit www.organicvalley.coop, www.organicprairie.coop and the cooperative's farmer website, www.farmers.coop.