06
January
2022
|
08:30
Europe/Amsterdam

Brazil’s iFood delivers on sustainability goals

Brazil’s largest food distribution network has set ambitious sustainability targets and is making rapid progress toward them


iFood, Brazil’s leading “foodtech” company, is well-known for the innovative ways it uses technology to bring consumers, restaurants, and delivery partners together. But while food and technology are the company’s focus, there’s another theme that runs throughout what they do: sustainability. To put that value into action, the company recently made two big commitments.

The first commitment is two-pronged: to be carbon neutral and have 50% of their deliveries be non-polluting by 2025. The second commitment is to end plastic pollution by 2025.

The reason for these ambitious commitments is simple, according to iFood’s Head of Sustainability André Borges. “iFood believes companies must do their part to transform the world for the better. The first step toward this goal is for companies to understand the impacts of their business and move toward sustainability.” And that’s exactly what iFood is doing. 

A powerful carbon commitment

In fact, iFood's promise to be carbon neutral by 2025 has already been fulfilled. This comes through a carbon calculation project that allows iFood to accurately offset emissions that it’s not able to reduce even further through investments in projects to preserve the Amazon Forest.

Now, iFood is investing heavily in reducing its own emissions through the use of electric and people-powered vehicles. In fact, by March 2022, André expects iFood to make more than one million orders per month in a non-polluting way. “We are on our way to that goal,” he says proudly. However, he knows there is much more work to be done.

 There’s one other key piece of this carbon reduction ambition: regeneration. The regenerating strategy is focused on investing in projects to mitigate or reverse negative environmental impacts.

André points to a partnership with SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation, a Brazilian NGO dedicated to protecting Brazilian forests. They’ve teamed up with iFood in the planting of seedlings in the “Mata Atlântica” (Atlantic Forest) area, the largest reforestation project in Brazil.

The project also includes biome monitoring, research studies, public and private engagement, and advocacy on behalf of the regeneration project. The SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation works in 17 states of Brazil and has already planted 40 million seedlings.

No plastic pollution

iFood is also dedicated to its goal of zero plastic pollution from operations. The first step is to reduce plastic in shipments to customers. For this, iFood has developed an in-app solution that allows the user to choose whether or not to receive plastic cutlery and straws in their order. Since April of 2021, more than 50 million orders have been shipped without these single-use plastic items.

The company is also developing sustainable packaging to replace plastic. Sustainable packaging isn’t common in Brazil. In fact, sustainable packaging is almost 10 times more expensive than conventional plastics. “That's why iFood has chosen to invest in R&D in this area,” André explains. “So we can increase our options and reduce the price. We want restaurants to have the right to choose sustainable packaging at a competitive price compared to conventional ones.”

 Other examples of this progressive thinking are the ‘Friends of Nature’ advocacy program in the iFood app for customers and restaurants, as well as consumer education campaigns and co-sponsorship of a ‘Packaging of the Future’ contest for designers and creatives.

With a successful short-term roadmap and long-term innovative thinking, André is confident that his plastic reduction goal will be met, if not surpassed.

Beyond the key commitments.

The carbon and plastic reduction pillars are the centrepieces of iFood’s sustainability strategy, but they’re not the only areas where the company shows its dedication to social responsibility.

One example is their recycling efforts. iFood has already nearly 100 sponsored waste collection points and has been investing in recycling cooperatives to leverage material volumes.

iFood is active in food redistribution as well. This is a salient concern in Brazil, where one-third of food produced in the country is wasted, and more than half of the population live with some form of food insecurity.

“We have an opportunity to better balance this equation,” André says. The Todos à Mesa (Everyone to the Table) campaign sees iFood partnering with Carrefour, Nestle, and M. Dias Banco to redistribute food. They recently managed to get 70 tonnes of food to homes and families that might otherwise have gone without.

The effects of these initiatives don’t just have a striking impact outside the company, there are knock-on effects on employees as well. André says he’s seeing sustainable projects emerging organically, as a culture of social responsibility takes root.

As he explains, “Our restaurant experience team has created a program called Chef’s Advantage, where they help restaurants and foodservice businesses green themselves, via solar energy, water efficiency and energy-saving measures. Our stakeholders value our commitment to sustainability, and shows there’s an appetite for these kinds of actions.” 

André has enormous enthusiasm for the work he does. It’s a longstanding passion. “I was always in love with nature as a kid,” he explains. “That’s why I chose the path I did so that I can have a positive impact. My job is to leave the world a better place than I found it. For my son, and also for my grandchildren. iFood allows me not only to dream but to put this dream into action.”

Boilerplate

About Prosus:

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities.

The group is focused on building meaningful businesses in the online classifieds, food delivery, payments and fintech, and education technology sectors in markets including India and Brazil. Through its ventures team, Prosus invests in areas including health, logistics, blockchain, and social commerce. Prosus actively seeks new opportunities to partner with exceptional entrepreneurs who are using technology to improve people’s everyday lives.

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About Prosus

Prosus is a global consumer internet group and one of the largest technology investors in the world. Operating and investing globally in markets with long-term growth potential, Prosus builds leading consumer internet companies that empower people and enrich communities.

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