New Zealand Kiwifruit brand Zespri has launched $2 million annual fund to accelerate sustainable innovation. Zespri said in a statement on Tuesday that the firm is establishing a new innovation funding initiative, known as ZAG.
Powered by its purpose – to help people, communities and the environment around the world thrive through the goodness of kiwifruit, it said ZAG will play an important role in the company’s mission.
According to the statement, the $2 million annual fund will support future innovation initiatives and global strategic partnerships that strengthen Zespri’s ability to deliver on its purpose. It is noted that ZAG is designed to attract innovative problem solvers from around the world who can help address some of the key challenges the industry faces as it meets growing demand for kiwifruit.
Zespri is also seeking forward-thinking visionaries, disruptors, dreamers, and darers to help it better innovate in sustainable agriculture, technology, automation, packaging, supply chain, logistics and industry education.
“We have a very clear focus on creating sustainable long-term value for our growers and ZAG will enable us to partner with other innovators to explore ways to do this, whilst also helping restore nature and moving us to a place where healthy eating is a well-established habit,” said Jiunn Shih, Chief Marketing, Innovation and Sustainability Officer.
“We want to be the ZAG the food system needs. Our ambitions are greater than our capabilities, and with this in mind, we are inviting others to partner with us to help solve challenges that impact our fruit and the wellbeing of people, communities and the environment,” he added.
According to the statement, ZAG will support projects that are focused on four core priorities for Zespri: (1) initiatives that are good for kiwifruit by driving superior quality and lifting on orchard productivity; (2) initiatives that are good for people by promoting wellbeing through kiwifruit consumption; (3) initiatives that are good for the environment by protecting and enhancing nature; (4) and finally, initiatives that foster a thriving kiwifruit industry, benefitting growers and the local communities they are a part of.
As one of the world’s leading fruit brands, Zespri works with about 4,000 growers around the world to bring healthy and delicious fruit to more than 50 countries and has set of long-term sustainability targets and goals.
Shih said ZAG will be closely aligned with Zespri’s sustainability program. “While we’re making steady progress, such as a five percent reduction in our shipping emissions through improved charter vessel utilization, we know it’s new partners and solutions that will really unlock change,” he said.