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Case study

Nature’s Path

Emission Reductions:

  • Reduction of 917 tCO2e
  • Zero Waste certification
  • Reducing electricity by 757,184 kWh

Cost Savings:

  • $344, 000 annually


  • Staff commuting program
  • Intermodal shipping
  • Manufacturing process improvements

Nature’s Path Foods, Inc. is a family-run, fiercely independent, and sustainably-driven, organic breakfast and snack food company that believes in “always leaving the earth better than we found it.” Nature’s Path has been tracking its greenhouse gas emissions with Climate Smart since 2014 and has reduced its total GHG emissions by 917 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) or four percent. During this time, the company has employed a variety of innovative ways to engage staff and reduce emissions.

Green My Ride:

To engage staff and reduce emissions related to commuting to and from work, Nature’s Path has their “Green My Ride” program, where team members earn credits for each trip they take on transit, or by walking, cycling, or carpooling. The credits are redeemed either for monetary compensation or a donation to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. For staff members that commute by transit daily, the dollars earned defray approximately half the cost of a monthly bus pass. During Climate Smart training, Nature’s Path worked with TransLink to develop a commuting survey and is planning a future transit lunch’n’learn to further educate their staff.

This program has contributed to a 12-tCO2e, or 11 percent reduction in emissions associated with staff commuting compared to 2014.

Third-Party Shipping:

Transporting goods – such as sending raw ingredients to the plants or finished products to retailers – is a significant source of emissions for any food manufacturer. In 2016, Nature’s Path focused on how they conduct third-party shipping and has since saved 799 tCO2e (a reduction of 17 percent) by situating production closer to where their customers are, and by promoting efficient use of intermodal transport, rather than relying solely on trucks. Using different modes of transportation did lead to a rise in transportation of goods by rail (+457 tCO2e), but the strategy led to a 342 tCO2e (six percent) reduction overall.

Zero Waste:

Nature’s Path takes waste reduction seriously and as of 2017, attained Zero Waste certifications for all three of its manufacturing plants. This means they each divert more than 90 percent of waste from the landfill – amounting to a total of 2,875 short tons each year. Not only has this initiative made environmental sense, but it also makes business sense, with more than $344,000 in annual savings for the company. Nature’s Path continues to complete waste stream audits biennially at all its locations, which is one of the key actions that helped reach its zero-waste milestone. Following the audits, location-specific key performance indicators are set, as well as action plans around target waste streams identified in the audits.

In 2017, Nature’s Path continued its waste-free journey by encouraging its consumers to participate in waste diversion. Nature’s Path joined How2Recycle, a standardized labelling system that helps the consumer to properly recycle their cereal boxes and granola pouches.

Process Improvements:

For the past two years, Nature’s Path has focused on improved efficiency at its plants through
continuous improvement projects. The two major efforts have been:

  • Reducing the amount of waste and spills off the line and reducing overall production waste to below four percent in 2017. While waste product is composted or recycled, the energy spent recycling it is still wasted and leaves room for improvement.
  • Changeover and cleaning time reduction. Reducing the amount of time that the lines are “down” for cleaning and changeovers improves efficiency and reduces overall energy use.

Across all manufacturing plants, Nature’s Path saved 757,184 kWh, and 615 tCO2e.

Integrating Sustainability in Corporate Culture:

While many of these improvements were made at the manufacturing and supply chain levels, sustainability is woven into the fabric of the company’s corporate culture. Nature’s Path has sustainability goals and individual key performance indicators that engage all team members at all facilities, and top performers are recognized at a company-wide award ceremony. Team members are encouraged to live as sustainably as possible – from taking environmentally-friendly transportation to recycling their chopsticks – because each team member is on the same path to help leave the earth better than they found it.

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