We build sustainable solutions across the juice value chain
Juice is the only business where LDC grows agricultural goods itself. As such, from our 38 citrus farms in Brazil to our juice merchandizing activities in destination markets, our sustainability efforts truly cut across the full value chain.
With farming activities in Juice, LDC employs approximately 8,000 people at peak season, primarily in Brazil.
This responsibility involves a massive commitment to training in order to run our operations as safely, efficiently and sustainably as possible.
Each year, we run hundreds of training sessions covering a range of topics, including workplace safety, product quality and agricultural best practice.
We go to great lengths to ensure that the work environment at LDC aligns with industry best practice – including on employment terms and work conditions.
Our juice operations are Rainforest Alliance CertifiedTM at two levels: farm level certification and chain of custody certification.
Chain of custody certification tracks a product from a certified farm to its final destination, giving consumers full confidence in the product’s supply chain. The Rainforest Alliance certification has strict standards covering:
- Effective planning and management
- Biodiversity conservation
- Natural resources conservation
- Improved livelihoods and human wellbeing
LDC is an important employer in the Citrus Belt, Brazil’s main region for juice production, generating income for local communities and helping to improve their quality of life. As such, we continually contribute to social projects that aim to improve the living conditions of local residents.
We also run our own best practice communication programme, Programa Compartilhar, to share our know-how with external partners and third-party fruit suppliers, including training on LDC policies and sustainable production methods.
We have invested close to US$40 million in two purpose-built, eco-efficient vessels, both of which were began operating in 2020. These state-of-the-art vessels are dedicated to the transport of citrus juices and by-products in climate-controlled tanks, from our export terminal in Brazil to destination markets in Europe and North America.
Each ship is 180 meters long and 30 meters wide, with a mobile tanks storage solution that allows modular flexibility and scalability. Together, the vessels can transport up to 50,000 tons of juice, increasing annual static shipping capacity by around 20% compared to our previous three-vessel fleet.
The old fleet included vessels that shared capacity with third parties, resulting in less control over the routes they took. The new vessels, which LDC own outright, give us more autonomy to operate across preferred export routes, which has increased efficiency and helped reduce fuel consumption by 70% per metric ton of product transported.
Our juice production is a zero waste process, with every part of the fruit used.
Juice is extracted, oils are recovered and all remaining pulp is transformed into citrus-pulp pellets. These pellets are used as an animal feed ingredient, rich in energy and fiber. Oil essences and aromas are primarily used by the flavor and fragrance industries.
LDC has invested in the construction of a state-of-the-art dry-peel plant, which produces dry peel from our ripe oranges, lemon and lime. This is used for pectin extraction. Pectin is sold on to the food industry as a gelling agent, thickening agent and stabilizer in food.
In addition, we are making significant strides in measuring and improving our environmental footprint during juice production itself, across the following areas:
- Industrial energy consumption
- Carbon footprint
- Water usage
- Waste generation
Trace.com, LDC's juice traceability portal, allowed us to be the first juice supplier to track products from grove to glass using blockchain technology. Simply scanning a QR code provides product data such as origination and processing information, quality indicators and certifications. The technology offers customers and consumers:
• Rapid access to traceability information;
• Transparent supply chain transaction data, avoiding fraud and encouraging increasingly responsible production; and
• Assurance on product origin and reliability, for clarity in consumer choices.
Higher Tech, Lower Emissions
In 2020, the majority of LDC-managed citrus farms implemented a telemetry system on our tractors to optimize operational efficiency and reduce our environmental impact through real-time monitoring and control of tractor engines. Throughout the year, 323 onboard computers were installed, covering 100% of tractors at 30 farms and approximately 18,000 hectares of orange groves.
Some farms also implemented a dual pruning system and optimized vehicle routes in farm corridors, to reduce fuel consumption. Along with the tractor telemetry system, these actions increased daily operating efficiency and drove a 6% reduction of machinery usage and a 5% decrease in idle engine time.
This contributed to a 5% reduction in CO2 emissions for all our farms combined, compared with 2018, our base year for environmental KPIs, and an associated cost saving from lower fuel consumption.