AppHarvest increases B Corp score 15% in recertification, issues 2021 sustainability report detailing ESG progress
Company outperforms on water conservation achieving more than 90 percent less use than open-field growing average
Increases B Corp score against added challenge of expanding farm network and ramping up production
Establishes Board of Directors-level oversight for sustainability
Earns Certified Living Wage Company designation
MOREHEAD, Ky., June 01, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AppHarvest, Inc. (NASDAQ: APPH, APPHW), a sustainable food company, public benefit corporation and Certified B Corp building some of the country’s largest high-tech indoor farms to grow affordable, nutritious fruits and vegetables at scale while providing good jobs in Appalachia, today announced its B Corp recertification score improved 15% over its original certification and published its 2021 “Fight the Food Fight” Sustainability Report measuring progress on its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. The “Fight the Food Fight” campaign is a call to action for consumers to join the company’s mission in creating a more resilient food system that delivers far more using far fewer resources for the wellbeing of people and planet.
B Corp Recertification
As both a Certified B Corp and a public benefit corporation, ESG issues are core to the AppHarvest mission. Since first becoming B Corp Certified in 2019, the company has increased its overall impact score to 95.4 – a 15% improvement. This increase came during a period of hyper-growth as the company went public, opened its 60-acre flagship farm in Morehead, Ky., and grew from a handful of employees to several hundred.
Key actions that helped boost the company’s recertification score include establishing a Board of Directors-level Sustainability Committee; tracking and reporting data for water, energy, carbon and waste; and ensuring the highest standard of health and safety are achieved.
“The increase in our Certified B Corporation score demonstrates our commitment to continuous improvement, and I’m so proud the team achieved this while working to rapidly ramp up production and expand the farm network,” said AppHarvest Founder & CEO Jonathan Webb. “Disrupting agriculture to build a climate-resilient, domestic food supply that is more sustainable for the next generation and beyond isn’t easy, but the B Corp validation is a symbol that we are committed to ‘Fight the Food Fight’ to provide good jobs and better access to nutritious fruits and vegetables while conserving the increasingly precious resource of water.”
The B Corp Certification is issued by B Lab, an independent non-profit organization that assesses a company’s entire social and environmental performance on more than 200 ESG topics. Certification is awarded to for-profit organizations that balance profit and purpose by meeting high standards in social and environmental performance, legal accountability and public transparency. An assessment must be completed every three years to maintain certification.
2021 Fight the Food Fight Sustainability Report
“Fight the Food Fight!” That’s the AppHarvest rally cry to build a robust, climate-resilient food system that’s better for both people and planet. It’s also the focus of AppHarvest’s third sustainability report detailing progress during fiscal year 2021 (January 1 to December 31, 2021) on the company’s three specific public benefit goals: empower individuals in Appalachia, improve the lives of company employees and the communities in which we operate and drive positive environmental change in agriculture. The report also discusses our approach to zero waste and actions we’re taking to reduce our energy and carbon footprint. The reporting in this report is in accordance with the GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) Content Index and SASB (Sustainability Accounting Standards Board)’s agriculture standards.
Highlights from the report that illustrate AppHarvest’s substantial environmental and social impact include:
- Hiring ~500 employees as of 2021 for certified living wage jobs in Central Appalachia and training them during COVID-19 while remaining safe.
- Continuously ramping up production at our first facility to deliver more sustainably grown tomatoes to top national grocery store chains and restaurants.
- Leveraging our closed-loop irrigation to use more than 90% less water than open-field agriculture while preventing runoff pollution of waterways in an era of exceptional water shortages around the world.
- Dedication to Integrated Pest Management as our primary line of defense against pests and disease and innovating in this space to reduce pesticide use.
- Progress on recycling and minimizing food waste.
- Leverage real-time data to optimize our production capabilities and innovate sustainability measures.
“2021 marks our first full year of operations, and we can more clearly see the opportunities, challenges and the critical need to leverage controlled environment agriculture (CEA) as a solution to many of the obstacles threatening our U.S. food supply —drought, wildfires, flooding, ice storms, extreme temperatures and exceptional wind events,” said AppHarvest Chief Sustainability Officer Jackie Roberts. “With our long-term commitment to doing right by our broad range of stakeholders across the ESG spectrum, we will continue to bring a focus on ensuring domestic food security and the ability for CEA to accomplish that while providing good jobs in agriculture in areas of the country that need it most.”
The full sustainability report is available here.
AppHarvest is a sustainable food company in Appalachia developing and operating some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms with robotics and artificial intelligence to build a reliable, climate-resilient food system. AppHarvest’s farms are designed to grow produce using sunshine, 100% rainwater and up to 90% less water than open-field growing, all while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional agriculture and preventing pollution from agricultural runoff. AppHarvest currently operates its flagship farm – about the size of 50 football fields – in Morehead, Ky., producing tomatoes. The company is developing a network of farms to produce a variety of vine crops, salad greens and berries with three more farms currently under construction that are expected to be operational by the end of 2022. For more information, visit https://www.appharvest.com/.
Certain statements included in this press release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements generally are accompanied by words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “estimate,” “continue,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “expect,” “should,” “would,” “plan,” “predict,” “potential,” “seem,” “seek,” “future,” “outlook,” “can,” “goal,” “target” and similar expressions that predict or indicate future events or trends or that are not statements of historical matters. All statements, other than statements of present or historical fact included in this press release, regarding AppHarvest’s intention to build high-tech CEA farms, the anticipated benefits of and production at such facilities, including implementation of a phased approach at each facility, timing and availability of tomatoes at top national grocery stores and restaurants, anticipated benefits of the second season harvest, AppHarvest’s future financial performance, as well as AppHarvest’s growth and evolving business plans and strategy, ability to capitalize on commercial opportunities, future operations, estimated financial position, projected costs, prospects, plans and objectives of management are forward-looking statements. These statements are based on various assumptions, whether or not identified in this press release, and on the current expectations of AppHarvest’s management and are not predictions of actual performance. These forward-looking statements are provided for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to serve as, and must not be relied on as, a guarantee, an assurance, a prediction, or a definitive statement of fact or probability. Actual events and circumstances are difficult or impossible to predict and will differ from assumptions. Many actual events and circumstances are beyond the control of AppHarvest. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including those discussed in the company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the SEC by AppHarvest on May 3, 2022, under the heading “Risk Factors,” and other documents AppHarvest has filed, or that AppHarvest will file, with the SEC. If any of these risks materialize or our assumptions prove incorrect, actual results could differ materially from the results implied by these forward-looking statements. In addition, forward-looking statements reflect AppHarvest’s expectations, plans, or forecasts of future events and views as of the date of this press release. AppHarvest anticipates that subsequent events and developments will cause its assessments to change. However, while AppHarvest may elect to update these forward-looking statements at some point in the future, AppHarvest specifically disclaims any obligation to do so. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing AppHarvest’s assessments of any date subsequent to the date of this press release. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon the forward-looking statements.
Media Contact: Darla Turner, Darla.Turner@appharvest.com
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/585f2a17-c626-4a42-994c-e40946bb8262