Q&A: Board Room to Work Boots

How visibility, progress and risk gird sustainable food waste systems

As a company committed to sustainable food waste systems, Green Field Solutions takes pride in its ability to repurpose with purpose. In fact, GFS manages more than one billion of pounds of food waste material each year. From turning near-expired milk into nutrient-rich animal feed ingredients, to capitalizing on recyclable materials, to making sure aging equipment doesn’t devalue a company’s by-products, we solve some of the food industry’s most complex problems.

We asked Commercial Manager, Huntley Leverenz, what it looks like to problem-solve, to continually improve, and to manage risk as it relates to sustainable food waste systems. 

Huntley Leverenz

What does problem-solving look like?

Green Field Solutions solves problems within the food industry by helping clients find the most economical and sustainable solutions for their various waste streams. An example of this is our work with a large-scale food production company that was looking to secure a better price on their upcoming contract. The incumbent service provider was leveraging the food production company with its already installed waste management equipment.

GFS was able to structure a deal that relieved the food company of its equipment hurdle, while getting them a better rebate. We created a higher revenue stream in the short-term — making their new contract more economical — and we solved their aging equipment problem down the road — making their new contract more sustainable. 

Case Study: When Aging Equipment Stalls Value

Why is continuous improvement important?

Companies cannot rely on doing something a certain way because it made sense 10 years ago. In the food production industry, we see a lot of companies that don’t address their waste management holistically. All they know is farmer so-and-so takes one waste product, company such-and-such takes another, and the rest may be a complete mystery. What Green Field Solutions does is tie it all together. 

As consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs) grow and personnel within those companies changes, company-wide visibility can become more difficult. With additional food production facilities comes additional waste streams; however, there may not be the volume to bring much revenue to each individual facility. GFS consolidates all of this information for a company to see its entire program in a way that creates visibility from the board room to the work boots.  

I’m currently working with a food production customer that has been unsure of what their waste program looks like. Some small volume streams such as cardboard, scrap metal, and plastics haven’t been previously tracked. GFS gives them a big-picture view of what their volumes are so they can make more economical and sustainable decisions. The same tool allows them to easily access invoices, automatically generate sustainability reports and oversee their entire waste program. 

How do commodity markets impact waste management?

Since we are dealing with materials that have a nutritional content, we can value almost all organic waste streams against a commodity market. Often, we can use the yellow corn market. Compared to 30 years ago, it’s a market that is relatively volatile. In the 1990s, if the corn market moved five cents in a day that was a big market swing. Now, if it moves 25 cents in a day, it’s just another Tuesday. 

During a time of increased market volatility, it’s important to be aware of where you have a position and available options to manage risk. How Green Field Solutions engages its customers is completely up to the customer. We outline multiple rebate options, and it’s up to the client to decide their risk tolerance. Meaning, if they would like to participate in the market, they may opt for the variable option to take advantage of market upsides, while assuming some downside risk. Customers with less of a risk tolerance can choose a fixed-price contract to remove themselves from market risk over the life of the contract.