Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. (OSC) is a farmer-owned cranberry cooperative with over 700 grower-owners throughout the United States, Canada, and Chile. As the company builds out a comprehensive climate strategy, OSC enlisted the support of a graduate student team at University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability to:
i. Conduct a Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting of OSC’s operations in 2019 to determine its baseline carbon footprint and preliminary Scope 3 data collection and analysis of OSC Farms
ii. Research emissions reduction target-setting options and develop a business case for adopting such commitments
iii. Identify and benchmark competitor climate commitments and public communications
iv. Identify potential GHG emissions mitigation opportunities and implementation strategies
Cranberries are a specialty crop and are relatively sensitive to changes in weather and climate. Climate change will lead to earlier and warmer spring temperatures (particularly in North America), which will lead to earlier flowering of the cranberry bud. This will increase risk of crop destruction from a late frost. Although there is currently a surplus in the cranberry market, premature flowering could become a consistent issue which could ultimately impact entire regions of OSC farmers. Hotter summers can lead to berry scalding, which leads to a less marketable and less attractive product. Pests will become more resilient with warmer temperatures, and this could lead to an increased infestation of insects such as False Armyworm caterpillars and cranberry weevils. This may lead to lower crop yields and greater pesticide expenses. Precipitation is also expected to become more variable. Intense summer rains could lead to fruit rot, and the increased risk of drought could lead to requiring more irrigation and water consumption, which will lead to greater costs incurred by the farmers. Some regions are already experiencing these impacts, but these experiences are expected to be commonplace in North America by 2045.
Data for the GHG inventory was collected and stored in the Ireland based sustainability software, Accuvio. Within Accuvio, each facility (manufacturing, receiving, farm) was assigned a node and all applicable emissions activities (i.e., waste, water, fuel) were assigned to each node. Data were collected and uploaded to the software for each emissions activity using 2019 as the baseline year. From there, Accuvio automatically calculates the GHG emissions for each activity using a database of scientifically proven and proved GHG emissions factors. The software applies the most accurate emissions factor based on the geographic location of each source. To delineate the Scope boundaries of all of OSC’s methods, the GHG Corporate Standard was used. Scope 1 emissions are characterized by direct GHG emissions and include onsite mobile and stationary combustion. Scope 2 emissions include indirect electricity-related emissions from purchased and used electricity or steam. Scope 3 emissions include other indirect GHG emissions that OSC does not own or control. This includes transportation from between the facilities. Using the GHG Protocol's Agriculture Guidance, we characterized the farmers and their emissions as Scope 3 as they are not in the organization but rather can be thought of as an upstream supplier of cranberries. Additionally, using the GHG Protocol’s Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard documents, we characterized the purchased electricity in OSC’s corporate offices as Scope 2, and all other activities in the corporate offices as Scope 3. While we relied on the operational control approach when determining emissions scope, and the OSC corporate office facilities are under an operational lease, interviews with OSC management led us to conclude that operational management of the corporate office buildings does not substantially fall under OSC’s purview, and thus an exception to the operational control approach was applied to these facilities in accordance with the GHG Protocol guidelines.
The final GHG inventory was focused on Scopes 1 and 2 with a little focus on Scope 3. In 2019, total Scope 1, 2, 3, and biomass emissions from all manufacturing and receiving facilities totaled 184,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (CO2 e). Scope 1 emissions accounted for roughly 49% of the total emissions at roughly 91,000 tonnes of CO2 e. Scope 2 emissions were 79,000 CO2 e or 42%. Scope 3 accounted for 9,000 tonnes of CO2 e (5%) and biomass emissions accounted for 7,000 (4%). For the purposes of this report, Scope 3 categories only included wastewater, water, and solid waste and are not a complete representation of OSC Scope 3 emissions.