Catalysing change - Coolstore of the Future

Sustainability credentials of kiwifruit is a significant factor for many of Zespri’s overseas markets, and one that is growing quickly. As a fiercely competitive part of the kiwifruit industry, the post-harvest sector is relatively independent of industry marketing body, Zespri. Yet, sustainability performance of the post-harvest businesses which run a fast-growing network of coolstores is a factor that reflects on the brand overall and the life-cycle carbon footprint of fruit. With rapidly growing fruit volumes, there will be significant investment in new coolstores over coming years. And, although it can’t control or directly influence post-harvest sector investment decisions, Zespri has a keen interest to ensure those investments support and reinforce its brand for high quality and sustainable fruit.

Working in partnership with Bay of Plenty firm, Catalyst, Proxima developed a project to understand the investment dynamics of the post-harvest sector; and to examine current best practice in coolstore operations. This would enable us to ascertain how future investment intentions aligned with best sustainable design approaches and new thinking.

The project convened a small body of experts on the kiwifruit industry, coolstores and refrigeration systems to identify cutting edge technology and thinking about coolstore design. A broad engagement with the post-harvest sector followed to identify how well the sector’s investments were adopting new technology and design, and why. The aim was to identify how Zespri might be able to do to support post-harvest businesses to invest for outcomes that added more sustainability credential to kiwifruit over the long-term.

The project identified a number of possible project interventions that could help catalyse investment in more efficient and sustainable technology, as well as some fresh ideas that could lift the environmental and social performance of the sector overall.

For more information about this and similar projects, contact Simon Harvey.