- Animal-free dairy producer Perfect Day has announced the eight founding members of its new Sustainability & Health Advisory Council. They include former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman and actor and climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio, along with experts in nutrition, health and wellness, food policy, sustainability and agriculture.
- The council will advise Perfect Day, which creates dairy through fermentation, on how to have the greatest impact in addressing food and environmental issues and hold the company accountable in how its business operations support these goals.
- As part of these efforts, Perfect Day commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for its non-animal whey protein. Performed by a third-party company, the LCA concluded that the product generates at least 85% and up to 97% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than conventional production methods.
Perfect Day is further burnishing its sustainability credentials with these latest efforts, announced just a few days ahead of Earth Day, April 22.
The company first debuted its animal-free dairy protein in 2019 as an ingredient in its own branded ice cream. Since then, it has partnered with Swedish-style Nick's Ice Cream on a vegan product that features its whey proteins, which it says are identical to dairy protein, providing the same taste, texture and nutritional qualities but in a more sustainable way that avoids factory farming and the use of hormones and antibiotics. Other partners include Brave Robot and Graeter’s, which use its whey protein to make "kinder, greener" ice cream products, and ingredients giant Archer Daniels Midland, which is commercializing its whey proteins.
Forming for an advisory council and commissioning an LCA lends additional credibility and transparency to Perfect Day’s sustainability efforts. An LCA typically consists of an audit performed by an independent agency to determine the carbon footprint of a company or its products. The move has become an increasingly popular play for companies that want to show they aren’t simply greenwashing. Other brands that have used LCAs to demonstrate their products' sustainability credentials include Oatly, Quorn, Beyond Meat, and White Oak Pastures.
While the LCA addresses transparency, Perfect Day's new sustainability council is tasked with holding the company accountable. Its membership reflects the range of issues that Perfect Day considers critical. Beyond Veneman and DiCaprio, members include Okezue Bell, a biotech and AI developer; Katharine Kreis, country director for Peace Corps Eswatini; Dariush Mozaffarian, a professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University; Danielle Nierenberg, the president of Food Tank, a think tank focused on food sustainability; agtech expert Mary Shelman; and pediatric allergist and immunologist Dr. David Stukus.
Tapping seasoned industry veterans and celebrities as advisors also helps raise Perfect Day’s profile — and it follows in the footsteps of other food startups. Last year, high-tech greenhouse company AppHarvest added Martha Stewart and best-selling author J.D. Vance to its board of directors, while Joaquin Phoenix has been an outspoken advocate for Impossible Foods' Impossible Burger.
Other companies have also seen the merits of forming advisory councils focused on sustainability to keep them accountable. Griffith Foods maintains a Global Sustainability Advisory Council. Nestlé launched a Nomination and Sustainability Committee in 2016.
As an ingredients company, Perfect Day has the potential to help other companies improve their sustainability efforts. This is as consumers have been laser-focused on the issue even as the pandemic disrupts their daily lives. With Perfect Day expanding into other product segments and considering an IPO, the new sustainability council and LCA will only help polish its brand halo.