Image source: Columbia University
Greenwashing is a very real phenomenon and unfortunately, one that happens far too often. As a company that stands for sustainability and one that’s championing forward the closed-loop agriculture movement, we too need to assess our operations. We’ve had the pleasure of working with a number of sustainability-focused consultants over the years, even having carried out a lifecycle analysis (LCA) of our product with the likes of NYP2I. At the same time, our Head of Business Development & Strategy, Riyana, has used her background in sustainability to set a number of targets – one of which was to assess the environmental impact of our manufacturing process.
To do this, we decided to work with students from The Sustainability Management Program (SUMA) at Columbia University. Every semester, their students are required to complete a capstone project in order to complete their graduate degree. Through this capstone, the students work directly with a real-life client, carrying out pro bono consulting within an industry of their choice. Combining the tools and knowledge acquired from their Masters program, as well as by leveraging on their previous work experiences, these students came together to help their client achieve specific goals.
We were given the opportunity to work with some of these students and the outcome far exceeded our expectations. The students delivered on the following:
- Creation of an Environmental Impact Measurement Tool which quantifies our GHG emissions, waste generation, and water consumption
- A baseline impact inventory using historical production data
- Accompanying analysis and research
- Strategic recommendations for the future, including suggestions on how to integrate the tool into our manufacturing software
The students worked diligently to refine the scope of work and were resourceful and creative when coming up with solutions or facing any obstacles. We were thoroughly impressed with the detail put into the tool, as well as their ability to determine what recommendations would make the most sense for Re-Nuble based on where we are now as well as our future goals.
So, what’s next? Over the course of the next few months, we will begin the roll-out of the tool, as well as implementation of their recommendations. Our goal is to show that we aren’t just asking indoor farmers to take a more sustainable route, but that we also determine any gaps as well as opportunities to be 100% closed-loop on our end. If this is something you'd like to learn more about, talk to us.