As part of its sustainability vision for the future, Northern Ireland, Co. Armagh-based White’s Oats, has unveiled a full sweep of A+ ‘eco-scores’ across its range of porridge oats.
These were awarded by Foundation Earth, a not-for-profit organisation, to reflect the environmental impacts of the company’s product range.
Using methodology developed by data-driven insights platform, Mondra, and borne out of research from Oxford University, the eco-scores are based on the Life Cycle Assessment of a business.
This measures impacts across farming, transport, processing, packaging and retail, from creating a product.
Products are awarded an environmental rating from A+ to G, communicated to consumers via a traffic light system and a front of pack score.
An A+ rating is the highest score that can be awarded and White's Oats said it is reflective of its short supply chains, minimal processing, low water usage and minimal impact on biodiversity when producing its products.
The announcement comes as White’s pledged to become carbon neutral in its scope ‘one’ and scope ‘two’ emissions within the year, through a combination of carbon reduction and offsetting with more ambitious targets set for becoming 'net zero' carbon in its operations by 2030.
White's supply chain
The company prides itself on sourcing 100% of its conventional porridge oats within a 60-mile radius of the mill in Tandragee, which is integral to supporting its local sourcing model and ensuring a fully traceable oat supply from farm to bowl.
White's Oats works in partnerships with its growers supporting a number of sustainable agricultural practices.
These include working with farmers who are involved in environmental stewardship schemes, from managed habitats such as wild bird cover to provide feed over winter and planting of wildflowers to attract pollinators to natural habitats - hedgerows, woodlands and wetlands.
Some of the farmer-suppliers to White's Oats are also LEAF accredited - a global assurance system held by farms which meet the rigorous standards of sustainable farming practice.
James Mathers, general manager of White’s Oats, told Agriland:
“We are proud that our porridge oats have achieved the highest eco-score from Foundation Earth. It signals a clear commitment on our part that we are focused on reducing our carbon footprint.
Our eco-score provides consumers with the confidence that they are making an informed choice and furthers our mission to deliver healthy, nutritious and sustainable oat-based product offerings.’’
Cliona Howie, CEO of Foundation Earth said:
‘Foundation Earth is inspired to see bold action from innovative companies like White’s Oats release their front-of-pack eco impact scores, offering consumers the credible information they need to make more sustainable buying choices.
“It’s a testament to the good work they’re already doing that their products rated highly. We’re excited to continue working with companies like Whites as our pilot continues to accelerate our food systems to net zero," she concluded.