Unilever, Starbucks, and Dairy Farmers of America join Vanguard Renewables in Farm Powered Strategic Alliance Committing to a Circular Solution to Food Waste and GHG Reduction

Unilever, Starbucks, and Dairy Farmers of America have joined, committing to food waste reduction and repurposing, and decarbonization goals

Boston, Ma. (Dec. 9, 2020 at 4:30 p.m. ET) – Major food industry leaders are joining forces alongside Vanguard Renewables to launch the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance (FPSA) aimed at accelerating long-term commitments to avoid or eliminate food waste first and repurpose what can’t be eliminated into renewable energy. FPSA first movers include Unilever, Starbucks, and Dairy Farmers of America. The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance commits to reducing food waste from manufacturing and the supply chain and repurposing any unavoidable waste that cannot be eliminated into renewable energy via Vanguard Renewables farm-based anaerobic digesters. The FPSA members also commit to begin exploring the process of decarbonizing their thermal energy usage by converting to farm-derived renewable natural gas.

“This unprecedented commitment by food industry leaders to the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is a call to action for others to follow to impact climate change and shape a sustainable future for America and the planet,” said John Hanselman, Chairman and CEO, Vanguard Renewables. “This transformative movement will repurpose food waste that cannot be eliminated into renewable energy and low carbon fertilizer for farm use. Working with our Farm Powered Strategic Alliance partners, we plan to expand our organics recycling facility footprint to all major metro areas nationwide.”

Hanselman explains that this is just the beginning. He expects the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance to grow to include other leading U.S. food manufacturers and retailers and adds that the FPSA has the potential to not only reduce the members’ direct climate challenges, but to also reduce the hard to move Scope 3 emissions from their supply chain partners. These are indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of the reporting company. Hanselman also emphasized the significant impact the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance will have on helping sustain farms across America for future generations.

In the United States, more than 40 percent of all food produced ends up being discarded. While eliminating that waste is a priority, some of this unavoidable food waste is still sent to landfills or incinerators, but can be repurposed to produce renewable energy. The food waste recycling revolution that started in Europe is now sweeping across the United States. Vanguard Renewables uses anaerobic digesters situated on farms to capture this energy and generate renewable natural gas or renewable electricity to be used in homes and manufacturing plants across the nation. Moreover, the process produces low carbon fertilizer that host farms use to support regenerative agriculture practices while it supports the American farmer with a diversified income stream.

“The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance is an impactful solution to tackling both food waste and carbon emissions,” said Michael Kobori, Starbucks chief sustainability officer. “We’ve made great strides in eliminating food waste at the store level with our Starbucks Foodshare program, which has helped divert 25 million meals from landfills. The Farm Powered Strategic Alliance offers an innovative solution for our supply chain, and brings us one step closer to our goal of a resource positive future.”

Vanguard Renewables is one of the country’s leading food waste recyclers, with seven operating facilities in the Northeast and more than 20 Farm Powered® anaerobic digester facilities in permitting and development nationwide. These new facilities will provide organics recycling capacity for the current FPSA partners and have capacity to recycle organic waste from future FPSA members. The Farm Powered anaerobic digestion process combines manure from the dairy farm with food and beverage waste in the anaerobic digester and microorganisms convert sugars, fats, and other compounds into renewable energy and low carbon fertilizer.

“Unilever is accelerating action to fight climate change, regenerate nature, and preserve resources. We are excited to join the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance and are inspired by their vision to repurpose our unavoidable food waste to support renewable energy production and regenerative agriculture practice on farms across America. We cannot transition to a low carbon economy alone and encourage other businesses to join us in this crucial alliance,” said Ale Eboli, Head of Supply Chain Operations for Unilever North America.

Organizations and institutions with greenhouse gas reduction targets such as Dairy Farmers of America can also join the FPSA.

“Dairy Farmers of America has been working with Vanguard Renewables for more than six years to empower family farms and support a more circular economy,” said David Darr, Strategy and Sustainability Officer, Dairy Farmers of America. “Anaerobic digestion can change the economics and carbon footprint of a farm, allowing generational sustainability and energy independence. We are excited to see many more of our farms and dairy processing facilities taking advantage of the new carbon economy to make a positive impact on America.”

In addition to recycling organic waste and generating carbon negative renewable natural gas, hosting a Farm Powered anaerobic digester on a farm makes a real difference for the host farmer.

“If you’re just going to milk cows or grow lettuce, that’s really hard because it’s cyclical; you need to be diversified and not depend upon just one income stream,” adds DFA member Peter Melnik of Bar-Way Farm in Deerfield, Massachusetts. “A lot of dairies have been really struggling; the Farm Powered anaerobic digester has been an important part of making our farm sustainable.”


About Vanguard Renewables

Vanguard Renewables is the U.S. leader in organics to renewable energy. The company collects and recycles food and beverage waste into renewable energy at its farm-based anaerobic digesters. The Farm Powered® process significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides a diversified income stream for the host farm. Vanguard also operates Organics Recycling Facilities to depackage and pre-process organic waste streams including expired goods and off-spec batches before sending them to an anaerobic digester to be recycled. Vanguard recently received the 2020 Energy Vision Leadership Award and was named 2018 Organics Recycler of the Year by the National Waste & Recycling Association. Vanguard Renewables won the 2019 American Biogas Council Up-and-Coming Project Award for its AD facility in Salisbury, Vt. and the 2019 American Biogas Council Longevity Award for its Rutland, Ma. AD facility. Vanguard’s Hadley, Ma. digester project won 2016 ABC Project of the Year honors. Please visit www.vanguardrenewables.com to learn more.


Vanguard Renewables Contact
Jennifer Forbes, (617) 275-8257, jforbes@vanguardrenewables.com


About Starbucks

Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting high-quality arabica coffee. Today, with over 32,000 stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at http://news.starbucks.com or www.starbucks.com.


Starbucks Contact

Starbucks Media Relations, 206-318-7100, press@starbucks.com


About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries and reaching 2.5 billion consumers a day. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Ben & Jerry’s, Breyers, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Dove, Hellmann’s, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Love Beauty and Planet, Magnum, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond’s, Popsicle, Pure Leaf, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, Simple, Sir Kensington’s, St. Ives, Suave, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TAZO, TIGI, TRESemmé and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies.


Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) underpins the company’s strategy and commits to:

  • Helping more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020.
  • Halving the environmental impact of our products by 2030.
  • Enhancing the livelihoods of millions of people by 2020.


The USLP creates value by driving growth and trust, eliminating costs and reducing risks. The company’s Sustainable Living Brands grew 69% faster than the rest of the business and delivered 75% of the company’s growth in 2018. Please visit unileverusa.com to learn more.


Unilever Contact



About Dairy Farmers of America (DFA)

Dairy Farmers of America is a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative focusing on quality, innovation and the future of family dairies. While supporting and serving more than 13,000 family farm-owners, DFA manufactures a variety of dairy products, including fluid milk, cheese, butter, ice cream, dairy ingredients and more that connect our Cooperative’s family farms to family tables with regional brands such as Country Fresh, Meadow Gold, Friendly’s Ice Cream, Borden® Cheese, Plugra® Butter and Kemps® to name a few. On a global scale, we work with some of the world’s largest food companies to develop ingredients their customers are craving, while staying committed to social responsibility and ethical farming. Please visit dfamilk.com to learn more.


Dairy Farmers of America Contact

Kim O’Brien, (312) 286-5855, kobrien@dfamilk.com