SunOpta Releases 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance Report

May 4, 2023

SunOpta reported strong progress across four areas – products, planet, people and governance – as it seeks to advance its mission to sustainably fuel the future of food.

MINNEAPOLIS— May 4, 2023 — SunOpta (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a U.S.-based global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages, is proud to release its 2022 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report. This annual update outlines sustainability progress made in the 2022 fiscal year and the steps the company is taking to identify a path forward across four key areas: products, planet, people and governance.

As a manufacturer of plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages, sustainability is core to the nature of what SunOpta does – and how the Company operates. For example, the crops grown for plant-based milks require significantly less land and water and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than milk from cows1 and organic fruits greatly reduce use of pesticides and herbicides.2 

In 2022, SunOpta made progress toward its zero waste to landfill goal with six of its manufacturing facilities having achieved zero waste3 status and two others awaiting verification. The Company’s new production facility in Midlothian was sustainably designed and will help save 15 million freight miles and 59 million pounds of carbon emissions annually from our supply chain. SunOpta also developed a Food Loss and Waste Policy and standard operating procedures, laying the groundwork for donating the equivalent of more than 1.9 million meals to Feeding America.

As a company with a passionate focus on sustainability, innovation and community, SunOpta is working to find solutions to reduce electricity, gas and water and to achieve zero waste at its own manufacturing facilities. The company is also committed to developing innovative packaging solutions and using efficient modes of transportation. Through time-bound goals, SunOpta is able to efficiently track and share its sustainability progress. 

“Sustainability is at the root of everything we do as a producer of plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages. Since our founding nearly 50 years ago with a mission to elevate and nurture sustainability, we’ve built on that legacy by helping to transform the food and beverages people consume, the way they are made, and the communities where we live and work,” said Joe Ennen, CEO of SunOpta. “Driven by a spirit of continuous improvement, we are committed to doubling our business in the next three years and we aim to achieve this milestone while prioritizing the environmental and social efforts of our operations. This year’s ESG report highlights our commitments and actions as we continue working to advance sustainability and communicate transparently about our progress and challenges. We embrace the opportunities that lie ahead as we work to sustainably fuel the future of food.”

Following are highlights from the 2022 report:

  • Products
    • Received Upcycled Food Association certification for its nutrient rich OatGold upcycled oat protein powder 
    • 27 own branded products enrolled in the U.S. Non-GMO Project
    • Received a 96.5 External Food Safety Audit Score (.2 points higher than 2021)
    • Achieved a complaint per million units score of .09% 
    • Zero incidents of noncompliance with industry or regulatory labeling and/or marketing codes
  • Planet
    • 2.3 million pounds of food (the equivalent of 1.9 million meals) donated to Feeding America
    • 261 tons of carbon emissions saved annually from load mode optimization
    • 97.3% by weight of all packaging sourced by SunOpta is recyclable
    • 37.6 billion gallons4 of water saved based on plant-based production volume 
    • 6 facilities achieved zero waste to landfill and 2 are awaiting verification 
    • Launched a new, sustainable production facility in Midlothian, Texas that will:
      • Save 15 million freight miles annually from SunOpta’s supply chain, eliminating 59 million pounds of carbon emissions 
      • Save up to 20 million gallons of water annually with water reuse equipment 
      • Reduce energy consumption by 45% with an energy-efficient HVAC system 
      • Reduce power usage by 95% with LED lights and energy-efficient water heaters 
  • People
    • Launched a Latino Employee Resource Group across all locations
    • 45% of employees at the Director level and above are female and 37.5% of SunOpta’s Board of Director members are female 
    • Received an 80% average employee engagement score for the third consecutive year 
  • Governance
    • Created an ESG Action Committee
    • Implementation of Enterprise Risk Management through an ESG lens 

About SunOpta, Inc.

SunOpta (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY) is a U.S.-based, global pioneer fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based and fruit-based food and beverages. Founded nearly 50 years ago, SunOpta manufactures natural, organic and specialty products sold through retail and foodservice channels. SunOpta operates as a manufacturer for leading natural and private label brands, and also proudly produces its own brands, including Sown®, Dream®, West Life™ and Sunrise Growers®. For more information, visit and LinkedIn.

  1. Poore and Nemecek (2018), Science, Additional calculations, J. Poore BBC.
  2. Organic farming uses fewer pesticides, reduces dietary exposure on produce (2021), The Organic Center. (n.d.).
  3. SunOpta has adopted a zero-waste definition as 90% diversion of waste from landfill.
  4. This figure was determined with an estimated global average water savings of plant-based milk when compared to equivalent production of dairy milk based on SunOpta’s annual plant-based milk production volume consisting of almond, oat, soy, rice, and coconut milks which represent over 99% of SunOpta plant-based milk production. Data comes from Poore and Nemecek (2018) with additional calculations by Poore as published by BBC and Roos et al. (2018). The water savings estimations are not directly associated with water use from SunOpta plant-based milk manufacturing, but instead refer to global averages of water consumption from plant-based milk production.