Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Pompeian's Sustainable Agriculture Success: Strengthened Relationships, Enhanced Practices, and Global Leadership Goals


The Challenge

Transitioning towards a more sustainable future in olive oil production posed a wide array of obstacles. Many farms within the Pompeian collective are owned by growers, such as Pompeian’s Sunrise Olive Ranch in California, which was the initial farm certified by Pompeian. Others are cooperative ventures comprising numerous traditional family-owned farms. These smaller operations lacked the economies of scale enjoyed by larger industrial farms, necessitating additional support from Pompeian to stay competitive globally.

Moreover, various growers encountered distinct regional and financial hurdles that hindered efforts for change. For instance, some Pompeian collective farmers in regions like South America and the Mediterranean faced difficulties in preserving traditional farming methods, adapting to rapidly changing climates, navigating governmental regulations, and lacking adequate public services like waste management and recycling facilities, all while striving to enhance crop yields. As a corporate entity,

Pompeian acknowledged these challenges and committed not only to addressing them but also to exploring advancements in science and business practices to enhance yields, soil health, labor conditions, community engagement, and overall farm sustainability.


The Resolution

After conducting an extensive evaluation of existing food and agriculture sustainability standards and recognizing the absence of specific standards for the olive oil industry, Pompeian chose to partner with SCS Global Services and their Certified Sustainably

Grown program to rejuvenate Pompeian’s farming practices and sustainability initiatives at the farm level. Spearheaded by a team of women, Pompeian provided comprehensive support to farmers to ensure their compliance with the Sustainably Grown Standard. This support included pre-audits, training, assistance with record-keeping, and addressing region-specific needs.

These efforts empowered growers to embrace various sustainability enhancements, encompassing practices like soil conservation, water management, and cover crop planting, all implemented under the Sustainably Grown® standard. Consequently, farmers witnessed significant improvements in grove productivity, biodiversity, operational efficiency, resource utilization, and, in some cases, financial rewards for workers based on farm performance. Pompeian further financed third-party certification audits by SCS to validate and independently verify these achievements.

"As the first Pompeian farm to achieve Certified Sustainably Grown status, Sunrise Olive Ranch is proud of our accomplishment. We hope our certification sets an example for other farms and olive oil companies to follow suit," said Lorena Antoun, Quality and Sustainability Manager at Sunrise Olive Ranch

Key Achievements

  • Pompeian strengthened its relationships with farmers, fostering greater trust and morale within the community.
  • Growers reaped numerous benefits from their endeavors to embrace sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Growers acquired knowledge and implemented practices for soil conservation, water management, and cover crop planting, resulting in enhanced growing conditions.
  • Adoption of the Sustainably Grown standard contributed to the improved health of olive trees.
  • Enhanced resource efficiency: targeted strategies led to decreased usage and demand for fertilizers.
  • Flourishing biodiversity: Embracing the holistic, nature-centric approach of the Sustainably Grown standard, farmers undertook initiatives such as constructing owl houses, attracting wild pollinators, and pruning trees to create wildlife habitats.
  • Demonstrated dedication to Sustainably Grown excellence bolstered Pompeian's reputation as a leading global player in olive oil production.
  • Pompeian aims to achieve 100% certification of its extra virgin oil suppliers as Sustainably Grown by 2028, with olive growing sites in Portugal, Turkey, and Tunisia slated for certification next.
  • Pompeian also intends to extend certification to additional product lines in line with the Sustainably Grown standard.

“When we tell other olive growers that we are certified with Sustainably Grown, they are always so impressed because the standard is so rigorous. It’s prestigious. So each time one of our farms achieves this certification we consider it to be the best way for us to demonstrate our excellence and commitment,” said Paula Lopes, Vice President of Quality, R&D and Environment, Pompeian.

“We wish to see SCS Sustainably Grown become the standard for the entire olive oil industry. It has brought our farmers and our farms so much goodness. Sustainably Grown offers a level of satisfaction and sustainability that is unmatched — it’s the best for the groves, the olives, and the people. Especially for the farmers and their families,” said Teresa Garcia López, Director of Sustainability and Environment, Pompeian.