Last week, Vericool, Inc. announced a new partnership with ButcherBox to deliver our meat with their environmentally-safe, high-performing Vericoolers. You can read the press release here. We are excited to work with Vericool as the next step in our goal of becoming an environmentally-friendly meat delivery business.
One of the phrases we started using in the early days of ButcherBox that really captured our mission was “Back to Nature.” It is a movement that we see ourselves at the forefront of, and it is an idea that we, as humans, should be eating food the way nature intended. No hormones, no antibiotics, no inhumane treatment of animals, and an eye towards environmental stewardship. Clean, healthy meat is central to living that life.
A part of nature’s place in our mission is making the meat industry environmentally-friendly. In our business, thinking about the impact your operations have on the earth is not an easy or simple undertaking. The task requires a fair amount of difficult introspection.
For us, “Back to Nature” includes a stewardship of the earth that should go hand-in-hand with building a business. Running ButcherBox requires a lot of intricate operations and people to work together. Taking a thoughtful approach to how we balance the impact of our business on the environment is a difficult task.
And while we are by no means perfect, we are striving to set the tone for this industry by examining as many different ways as possible to have a positive influence.
To be fully transparent, anything we do has to make sense for the business first. We are not going to do something that could hurt the experience for the members. And so, every initiative needs to add value or improve our overall efficiency.
So one piece of the puzzle we are improving is with the actual box that gets shipped to customers’ doors. We have experimented with various different packaging options, from styrofoam, which is an industry standard, to dry ice. Finding Vericooler will be a boon for our supply chain, and, in the end, our members.
We believe that packaging is one area where we can tilt the balance of the environmental impact of our business. The changes won’t make ButcherBox carbon neutral — although that is a goal in the long term — but, it is a step in that direction. The box we will be testing on the West Coast creates more efficiency in our supply chain. It will improve the experience for our members by decreasing the dry ice usage and make the box easier to recycle.
We searched extensively for someone to partner with on this project and found a great business to work with called Vericool. The company’s Vericooler, a sustainable cold-chain packaging product, allows us to ship our frozen meat more affordably and with less dry ice included in the box. Made from post-consumer materials, the box and compostable insulation are an innovation that makes an immediate impact.
According to Vericool, when businesses change their packaging to Vericooler it reduces the overall amount of EPS/styrofoam packaging waste that ends up in a landfill each month by 20 to 50 truckloads of the material.
For us, this is important not just for the environment, but for our members. The previous shipping solution was not as ideal as we wanted. By using the Vericooler and reducing the amount of dry ice, which also has an impact on the environment, we improve the overall experience of getting frozen meat delivered. This will reduce the weight of shipping, use less gas, and create ripple effects across the supply chain.
The new box is just one step to reducing our environmental impact. We have said before that we understand the negative press around the carbon impact of raising and shipping cattle. Currently, are working with multiple organizations to try to fully understand the impact of grass-fed products on the environment. We will be sharing more about this topic in the upcoming months as we pursue truly carbon neutral meat.
We are trying to improve our impact throughout the supply chain and other aspects of the business. That means everything from finding more facilities to work with to decrease the amount of shipping t0 working with farmers like John Arbuckle and John Gilbert who practice sustainable and regenerative farming.
We still have a lot of improvement to make, but we are actively seeking out ways to both improve the ButcherBox experience and create the least amount of negative environmental impact we can. It is a tall task, but we are getting closer to truly getting “Back to Nature,” small step by small step.