Bowery cut our energy footprint, reduced water use, and updated packaging in the last year.
Bowery cut our energy footprint, reduced water use, and updated packaging in the last year. And we have big sustainability plans for the years ahead.
This Earth Day, let’s look ahead, and look back.
Bowery is working every day to secure the future of food, and sustainability is core to that mission. We believe that sustainability isn’t just a talking point, but rather an essential commitment that is good for the planet, good for building a more resilient food system, good for our customers, and good for our business.
So how are we doing with our sustainability efforts? Let’s take stock of what we’ve achieved and our goals for the years ahead.
Sustainability, In Action at Bowery
Repurposing a Former Brownfield Site: In 2022, Bowery opened our largest, most technologically advanced farm yet in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. What was once a former Bethlehem Steel brownfield site is now modern farmland that is bringing fresh produce to a population of 50 million people within a 200-mile radius. Bowery repurposed this non-arable land, where it was once thought food would never grow, into a smart vertical farm, aka a Bowery. When we grow indoors, we can reduce the pressure on clearing more land for farming and encourage more land to be used for conservation efforts.
Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency: In 2020 we set a goal to power our farm network with 100% renewable energy by the end of 2021. We achieved that goal and our Bethlehem Bowery has been powered by renewable energy since Day 1, but the work doesn’t stop there. Energy efficiency is a secret weapon in tackling the climate crisis and also a key way to drive down operating costs. Bowery is pushing boundaries with cutting energy use, and in just a one year period improved the energy efficiency in our production by over 35%. As new boweries join the network we are able to leverage the data from previous farms with the most advanced systems to drive additional gains in energy efficiency.
Water Optimization: In the last year, Bowery reached significant milestones in water optimization. Bowery Bethlehem launched with an industry-leading water recirculation system. It recaptures all the water that might otherwise be lost through our HVAC system as condensate, resulting in water use that is 90-95% more efficient in growing produce than traditional agriculture. Bowery’s crops require less than one gallon per pound — that’s 11 fewer gallons per pound than crops grown traditionally outdoors. Additionally, Bowery is excited to share that our system of harnessing recycled HVAC condensate now accounts for an impressive ⅔ of Bowery’s daily irrigation water use.
Launch of Flex Film: There is more work to do with reducing plastic, but Bowery took a significant step forward in 2022 with the launch of flex film lids. Almost all Bowery greens are now packaged with a flexible, resealable lid, reducing plastic use by 45% compared to traditional hard-top clamshells. Two plastic bottles are used to create each Flex Film pack; the tray can then be recycled to continue the cycle. By using 100% recycled plastic we have avoided hundreds of metric tons of CO2 equivalent from being emitted into the atmosphere (compared to if we used virgin plastic).
Sustainability, Looking Ahead
A total of ⅓ of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the food system. Securing the future of food will require scalable mitigation and adaptation solutions for the climate crisis. Bowery is serious about making informed decisions when it comes to sustainability, and the first step on that journey is data.
Bowery has teamed up with leading experts, and regularly works with environmental organizations and peers in the indoor agriculture industry to better understand and quantify our collective impact. Preliminary findings have informed our strategies to further reduce the climate impact of our products.
Additional sustainability efforts looking ahead include the continued exploration of innovative alternatives to traditional plastic packaging, the continued expansion of Bowery’s cross-functional ESG work to define and implement the company’s ESG goals, and the acceleration of momentum in cutting our carbon footprint across our supply chains and in our operations.
Wherever food is needed, we can grow it.
Sustainable choices are key to growing produce smarter. With data and technology, Bowery is meeting demand for local, pesticide-free produce, all while using a fraction of the resources.
More with less? Oh yes, so everyone eat up.