At VECKTA we are always thinking about being more sustainable, and having a more sustainable Thanksgiving is top of our list this month! As we get into the holiday season, can we as consumers and business owners change our traditions slightly to be less wasteful and more eco-friendly?

How to have a sustainable thanksgiving

Why think about a more Sustainable Thanksgiving?

As the crisis in Ukraine continues, global food and energy markets are strained. Inaccessibility to essential commodities are resulting in a web of crises throughout the world. Here are just a few reasons to think sustainable this Thanksgiving:

  • The cost of food has increased by 50% since the beginning of 2022 as global food shortages drive record price increases.
  • Food transportation costs are increasing as diesel fuel costs have risen by 33% and are expected to reach above 50% by the end of the year.
  • There is significant food inaccessibility worldwide. Staple food items like wheat, corn, and barley have become more expensive and more difficult to acquire.
  • A lack of fertilizer is affecting agriculture in soil-depleted countries. A large portion of the global supply is in Russia.

How Sustainable Food Production Practices Can Help:

Transitioning to more sustainable food production practices can help alleviate some of these problems. Here are a few examples farmers, food producers, processing plants, and distribution centers can take:

Aim for lower carbon emissions and use more renewable energy sources for a sustainable Thanksgiving like these solar panels at AVBC.<br />

How Companies Can Be More Energy Resilient for a More Sustainable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving brings families together, but it often means the coming of freezing temperatures,  high winds, and winter storms. Businesses need to be prepared for such events and how they could impact fragile power grids, affect their workforce, and create unforeseen costs.

As an example, earlier last week, New York Governor Kathy Hochul issued a State of Emergency for upstate New York where a winter storm is expected to knock out power and bring in almost three feet of snow!

The combination of an unreliable grid, stormy weather, and the holiday season also creates a unique challenge. Businesses like grocery chains are at risk of not only losing power and heat, but thousands of dollars worth of food as they’ve already stocked up for the holidays.

Therefore, this is an important time to think about how your business will manage unexpected power outages and become more energy resilient. Our last blog on how to protect against outages due to wildfires and develop onsite energy solutions can help!

Companies Doing it Right This Thanksgiving

While we’ve focused in on the problems the holiday season can bring, there are several food and beverage companies that are ahead of the energy transition curve. In addition, there’s also companies that are considering their community during the holiday season, and putting their employees first.

Cream Co Meats

According to a study by Carnegie Mellon University, “a 16-pound turkey creates a total of 34.2 pounds of CO2 — the same amount produced by turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, rolled biscuits and apple pie combined.”

In an effort to allow meat eaters a more sustainable, responsible option for meat consumption, Cliff Pollard founded Cream Co. Meats in 2016. 

A transparent marketplace of responsible animal proteins, they focus on distributing, direct marketing, and directly investing in over 20 sustainable, regenerative, and family-owned farms. Their partner farms “undergo annual third-party auditing and carry sustainability, regenerative, and humane treatment certifications and verifications.” 

Organized by state or region on their website, their ranches, farms, and sources are easily accessible and described in detail, while every meat for purchase includes information about the producer. For the holidays, Cream Co. offers slow-grown, pasture-raised, regenerative turkeys, small-batch ham, and more.

King Arthur Flour Company

A certified B corporation, King Arthur Flour Co. emphasizes sourcing responsibly, creating equity for historically marginalized communities, and protecting our natural resources through regenerative farming practices. 

Suzanne McDowell, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability, at King Arthur Flour Co. explains that growing wheat is a long-term investment by nature, meaning that balancing doing what is right for the Earth and right for the profitability of the business is key to making a positive environmental impact. 

By 2030, 100% of King Arthur flour will be sourced from regeneratively grown wheat. Regenerative practices include cover cropping and crop rotations, limited to no-tillage, and maintaining affordability and accessibility of crops.

Currently, all of their white whole wheat flour is supplied by Farmer Direct, a collective of regenerative farmers. They are also partners with The Bread Lab, supporting the creation of wheat that is resilient against fluctuating effects of climate change.

Fetzer Vineyards

Choosing more eco-friendly wines to pair with your Thanksgiving meal is sure to make an impression. And with Fetzer being a certified B corporation and a Certified California Sustainable Winery, you can do just that!

Fetzer is the first winery in the U.S. to receive a CarbonNeutral® certification and by 2030, aims to reach net zero operations. 

The winery powers its facility with renewable energy from rooftop solar panels while purchasing wind and geothermal energy. 

For any non-renewables used or greenhouse gasses produced, Fetzer buys carbon credits to compensate.

In addition, Fetzer is TRUE ZeroWaste Certified and the company reuses or recycles around 97% of its waste.

To reduce your own costs and cut emissions with onsite energy generation, like Fetzer’s solar panels, check out how VECKTA can help you discover the optimal options!

REI: Recreation Equipment Inc.

Considering your community is equally important in the pursuit of a more sustainable Thanksgiving for your business.

REI’s Opt Outside movement is a great example of a company practicing sustainability in regard to its community. The holiday season is all about being grateful for what we have and practicing generosity with those around us. 

Practice a sustainable thanksgiving like spending time outdoors and in your community.<br />

And to celebrate this, since 2015, REI has been closing its doors on Black Friday to encourage its employees and members to spend time outdoors. This year, and for all future Black Fridays, REI is paying all of their employees, over 15,000 across 165 stores, to spend time outside, instead of at work. Opt Outside will remain a permanent employee benefit.

“Opt Outside has always been about prioritizing the experience of our employees—choosing the benefits of time outside over a day of consumption and sales,” said Eric Artz, President and CEO, REI Co-op.

A great takeaway from REI’s OptOutside is to consider what your employees, vendors, suppliers, and customers need this time of year. Create a better work-life balance internally for your team. Build community amongst your partners. Express gratitude for efforts big and small. 

How to Create A More Eco-Friendly Holiday at Home or at the Office

And finally if you want to bring this full circle, here are just a few tips to make this holiday season a little more eco-friendly at home and in the offfice.

Instead of:

  • Cooking a giant turkey
  • Buying cut flower bouquets and chopping down a tree
  • Sending Christmas cards
  • Using wrapping paper, ribbons…
  • Driving in hours of traffic
  • Using paper plates and plastic utensils
  • Sitting in front of the TV for hours

You could…

Create a more sustainable Thanksgiving at home or in the office<br />
  • Serve plant-based food
  • Shop local (Small Business Saturday is coming up!)
  • Buy in-season fruits and veggies
  • Reduce food waste- get creating with the leftovers!
  • Create an e-card or holiday video!
  • Use cloth napkins, real plates, and silverware (we know your Grandma’s china needs some love)
  • Try no-bake desserts (oven time = energy costs)
  • Spend time outdoors- Do a Turkey Trot with the family- walk, run, or race it!