Silk®, a Danone North America brand, offers plant-based products including soy, almond and cashew beverages. Since its founding, Silk has been out to make the world a healthier place – not just for the people who use its products, but for everyone. As part of its commitment to making the world a healthier place, Silk is working with partners to preserve and renew natural resources and to support biodiversity in agriculture. In direct partnership with Woolf Farming Co., a California almond grower, and the non-profit Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Silk has developed a program focused on supporting the health and habitat of pollinators that are essential to our ecosystem.
Why does it matter ?
Pollinators like bees and butterflies are a keystone of agriculture, contributing to the lifecycle of more than two-thirds of the world’s leading food crops, whose seeds and fruits account for over 30 percent of the food produced globally (Klein et al., 2007*).
A diverse community of pollinators generally provides more effective and stable crop pollination than any single species; and pollinator diversity, including wild pollinators, helps with pollination even when managed species like honey bees are present in high numbers (Potts et al., 2016*).
Regional and national assessments of insect pollinators have shown high levels of threat, particularly for bees and butterflies, where assessments often show that more than 40 percent of species are threatened (Potts et al., 2016*).
How does it work ?
In partnership with Woolf Farming Co., and as part of its commitment to pollinators, Silk planted more than 25 linear miles of drought-resistant, flowering, native California hedgerow plants, such as wild rose, coyote brush, redbud, wild lilac and elderberry, in Woolf Farming Co. almond groves.
In addition to providing habitat for bees, these flowering plants also support a huge range of songbirds, butterflies, raptors, and other wildlife. They also serve as living fences that reduce wind erosion and potentially sequester 6 to 12 tons of carbon from the atmosphere per year.
Aside from planting hedgerows, the partnership has installed 90 acres of annually flowering pollinator habitat including 50 million flowering cover-crop seeds to provide a rich, ongoing source of nectar for pollinators.
How does it create value ?
Silk believes that by taking steps to support the health of pollinators, it is contributing to a more sustainable future and food supply. Implementing these types of conservation practices helps to combat the causes of wild pollinator decline by providing habitat, reducing the spread of disease, and decreasing exposure to pesticides.
Through these efforts Silk is working to ensure a more resilient and sustainable almond supply for our business and for the farmers who grow them.
Photo credit © Peter Allbright
Klein, A.-M., B.E. Vaissiere, J.H. Cane, I. Steffan-Dwenter, S.A. Cunningham, C. Kremen, and T. Tscharntke. (2007). Importance of pollinators in changing landscapes for world crops. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B: Biological Sciences 274(1608), 303-313. https://dx.doi.org/10.1098%2Frspb.2006.3721
S.G. Potts, V. L. Imperatriz-Fonseca, H. T. Ngo, J. C. Biesmeijer, T. D. Breeze, L. V. Dicks, L. A. Garibaldi, R. Hill, J. Settele, A. J. Vanbergen, M. A. Aizen, S. A. Cunningham, C. Eardley, B. M. Freitas, N. Gallai, P. G. Kevan, A. Kovács-Hostyánszki, P. K. Kwapong, J. Li, X. Li, D. J. Martins, G. Nates Parra, J. S. Pettis, R. Rader, and B. F. Viana (eds.). (2016). IPBES: Summary for policymakers of the assessment report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on pollinators, pollination and food production. Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Bonn, Germany, pages xvii-xlix. Retrieved from https://www.ipbes.net/assessment-reports/pollinators.