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HelloFresh Amps Up Efforts to Reduce CO2 Emissions, Food Waste

For 1st time, company commits to tangible environmental targets
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
HelloFresh Amps Up Efforts to Reduce CO2 Emissions, Food Waste
As part of its carbon offset, HelloFresh is supporting a project that captures methane emitted from farms.

As one of the world’s largest meal kit providers, German company HelloFresh is setting a clear precedent for sustainable growth by establishing concrete goals on emissions and food waste reduction by 2022.

While the company has said that it exceeded its sustainability plans for 2020, it intends to further expand its efforts for 2021 and beyond. HelloFresh's recently published Sustainability Report 2020 highlights key achievements, in line with the "Sustainable Development Goals" defined by the United Nations. The report also details HelloFresh's plans for this year, including for the first time  unveiling its emissions and food waste reduction targets. 

"In 2020, we offered our customers a safe, convenient way to source fresh ingredients when they needed it most. Our responsibility for our planet and our people has significantly increased with the size of our company, which is why we've continued to radically focus our efforts on progressing our sustainability agenda over the past year," said Thomas Griesel, co-founder of the meal kit provider.

HelloFresh’s tangible environmental targets specifically include:

  1. Reducing production facilities' CO2 emissions per euro revenue by 60% by 2022.
  2. Reducing food waste to landfill or incineration per euro revenue by 50% by 2022.

The baseline for both targets is 2019.

"The targets, in two of the most important and impactful areas of sustainability, provide the necessary framework for significantly progressing our efforts and will enable us to set standards for measuring other areas of environmental impact," added Griesel.

Last year, a total of 96,310 tonnes of carbon from production, deliveries to customers, offices, and corporate travel were offset through partnerships with TerraPass and Planetly. In doing so, HelloFresh has become the first global carbon-neutral meal kit company and will continue to offset emissions over the course of 2021.

First reduction initiatives also resulted in emissions at HelloFresh's production facilities decreasing from 9.3 to 4.1 grams per euro revenue. This was driven by improved operational efficiency as well as replacing conventional energy sources with renewable energy and investments in solar photovoltaic installations in HelloFresh's production facilities. These initiatives will also continue to contribute to the goal of reducing emissions in production facilities by 60% by 2022.

While HelloFresh's lean, make-to-order business model inherently reduces food waste, the company is further strengthening its ambitions by aiming to halve food waste to landfill or incineration per euro revenue by 2022. From 2019 to 2020, HelloFresh already succeeded in reducing its amount of food waste from 0.6 to 0.4 grams per euro revenue. Out of the nearly 5,000 tonnes of surplus food from the company's operations, 73% was donated to various organizations and communities across local markets. Further efforts to reduce food waste include managing supply chain efficiencies, continuous improvement of packaging solutions, and ongoing collaborations with research partners.

Not only was 2020 a great year to celebrate HelloFresh's sustainability achievements, it was also a record-breaking year in terms of revenue. The company's revenue more than doubled for fiscal 2020 in the United States (up 102.3% year over year) and globally (up 107.3% year over year) as the company saw revenue rise to $1.3 billion, delivering more than 600 million meals to customers in 14 markets. Its fourth quarter was particularly impressive, as sequential growth in the number of active customers reached 5.3 million at the end of the quarter, and strong order rates and an increase in average order value were achieved. 

HelloFresh operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Australia, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden, France and Denmark. HelloFresh was founded in Berlin in November 2011 and went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in November 2017. It has offices in New York, Berlin, London, Amsterdam, Sydney, Toronto, Auckland, Paris and Copenhagen.

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