The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Sustainability Series: Tropicana

Sustainability Series: Tropicana


April 26, 2009

Founded in 1947, Tropicana Products, a division of PepsiCo, is the leading producer and marketer of branded fruit juices in the world, distributing its products in 23 countries. We talked to Tim Carey, Director of Sustainability and Technology for Tropicana, about the company’s commitment to providing nutritious, natural orange juice for families, while doing their best to reduce their impact on the environment.

How does your business define sustainability?

We define sustainability as a commitment to being respectful of the environment and responsible in our use of natural resources. Though we realize we cannot do it alone, we are dedicated to pursuing initiatives that help preserve the natural environment for generations to come. We are continually looking for new ways of reducing the impact of our operations and those of our suppliers.

At Tropicana, we believe sustainability lives in the core of our brand proposition – caring for your family and future generations through the natural goodness of orange juice. 

How are you incorporating sustainable practices into your business?

As part of PepsiCo's company-wide "Performance with a Purpose" initiative, we are committed to reducing our overall environmental impact. Understanding what contributes to the carbon footprint of our products is critical to achieving both our sustainability commitments and to driving efficiency gains across our global business. To that end, we have aligned ourselves with trusted partners in the eco realm, like Carbon Trust – a UK government backed independent organization established to address climate change, and Waste Management – the largest residential recycler – who we have recently launched a national initiative with.

Additionally, in partnership with the non-profit Cool Earth, Tropicana has created the "Rescue the Rainforest" campaign. Through 2009, specially marked cartons of Tropicana Pure Premium products will carry a unique code consumers can enter online at to save 100 square feet of rainforest.

Here are some other important facts about Tropicana's sustainability practices:

• In 2008, Tropicana continued its legacy of packaging source reduction by reducing secondary packaging use by more than 4%.  
• Tropicana's juice manufacturing plant in Ft. Pierce, Florida, currently uses landfill gas for a portion of its operations. In 2007, approximately 30% of the facility's thermal energy demands were derived from this renewable resource. 
• Tropicana's production process aims to utilize the full life-cycle of the orange. For example, Tropicana recycles peel and seeds to make 150,000 tons of beneficial cattle feed, avoiding more than 700,000 tons of raw peel becoming landfill waste annually.
• Tropicana delivers a large portion of product across the country using fuel-efficient rail transportation, including 514 refrigerated railcars, which are three times more fuel-efficient than other road alternatives.    
• The paper board in Tropicana's carton recently received certification from the Sustainable Forestry Initiative under its fiber-sourcing certification program.
• Tropicana has launched a recycling initiative with Waste Management and the Carton Council, which includes global manufacturers Dean Foods, Evergreen Packaging, Tetra Pak and Elopak, working toward increasing the number of cities accepting all of its cartons for recycling. 
• In a first for any consumer brand in North America, Tropicana had the carbon footprint of its 64-ounce Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice certified with the Carbon Trust, a U.K. government-backed independent organization established to address climate change. This process provides valuable information and gives Tropicana and its parent company PepsiCo a benchmark against which to measure progress in reducing carbon emissions.
What are your short term and long term goals?

Tropicana is committed to being a good steward of the environment and continuing to find ways to reduce our environmental impact. 

Currently we are in the midst of continuing to educate ourselves. We recently obtained our carbon footprint certification and now we have benchmarks to work with and track our progress against, as we continue to focus on making our operations and products even more sustainable. We strive to do three things at once in our conservation efforts: improve juice quality, reduce environmental impact and drive down costs. 

Where do you think you’ll have the biggest impact?

We feel all of our initiatives are a step in the right direction but it will be the collective efforts of ourselves, retailers and consumers that will make the biggest difference. That's why we believe education and awareness are critical.

How do you measure your progress?

We will track our progress in multiple ways such as (but not limited to) how much we are able to reduce our carbon footprint, how many total acres of rainforest we preserve and how many municipalities accept cartons for recycling.  

How do retailers factor into your efforts?

Our retail partnerships are so important and we continue to look for ways to partner with them to help educate and engage consumers.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the food industry?

We feel sustainable business practices are important in all industries and the food industry is no exception; it is the collective effort that makes the big difference.

Why are sustainable business practices important to the consumer?

Consumers know they have a role in protecting the environment and that the most important decision they make is what product they buy and what that product manufacturer is doing to help the environment. Consumers can feel great knowing that Tropicana is both good for you and that we also have a team of professionals dedicated to protecting the environment.

In upcoming issues, we will feature interviews with food companies that are making strides in their sustainability efforts. If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing to get involved please contact Allison Bloom