April 20, 2020

Corporate Sustainability is The Good Stuff!

Mother Earth! We love her and she constantly is giving us so much (sometimes without us giving anything back). So just like we celebrate our own moms on Mother’s Day, you bet we are celebrating this beautiful planet we call home on Earth Day!

April 22, 2020 marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and here at Perry’s Ice Cream, we live every day like it’s Earth Day.  Perry’s corporate sustainability team formed in 2010 to include leaders from across the organization to develop the company’s vision and long-term goals for sustainability.

Our Environmental Responsibility

Today, sustainability integrates into our annual corporate goals. The  team is responsible for engaging  fellow  team members in sustainability through pro-active and consistent internal communications, company  challenges, annual corporate sustainability awards  and events (and you bet we are all eager to win those awards!).   

Each day, Perry’s commits to actively manage our impact on the communities we do business in and the environment through responsible business practices. Our integrated sustainability culture requires consideration of people, planet and performance. Our goal: to make sure that we are putting “the good stuff” into everything we do: our ice cream (of course), recycling efforts, clean energy, lighting upgrades, community partnerships, and so much more!  

These are Exciting Times at Perry’s Ice Cream 

We sat down with Gayle Perry Denning, vice president of strategic branding and sustainability, (and fourth generation family member), to chat about Perry’s sustainability efforts. She’s so passionate about this incredible cause, she couldn’t wait to share her excitement around what Perry’s has been working on over the years (and we didn’t even have to bribe her with her favorite flavor, Lemon Chillo!)  

Gayle Denning, VP of Strategic Branding and Sustainability

Q:  How have things changed over our 10 years of corporate sustainability efforts? 

A:  Perry’s sustainability journey has experienced the biggest change in the last decade with regard to culture. Team members are more informed, educated, aware and engaged. They are the experts in their field and are best equipped to impact Perry’s sustainability.  Our corporate sustainability team has evolved from a small, active, hands-on green team to a steering team focused on education, awareness, and corporate reporting.  All elements for sustaining an organization are in our corporate goals: people, planet and performance. 

Q:  What is your favorite part about working with the sustainability team? 

A:  Sustainability is a journey and at times it can feel overwhelming.  I like the way our cross-functional team works together on creative ways to educate and challenge team members regarding sustainability.  We know that our team members have many responsibilities. It’s rewarding the way we raise awareness and share the great work our people are doing to sustain Perry’s. 

Q:  What are you the most proud of that has happened because of our corporate sustainability efforts? 

A:  Wow, there is so much! 

  • The Journey Process that we took each team at Perry’s through to launch them on their sustainability journey was a great way to meet with so many team members and witness their passion for sustaining Perry’s, hear ideas and share concerns.  
  • Our annual reporting is another bright spot.  Our style of reporting and the metrics we track have evolved and those results are impressive as well: 37 new jobs added in 2019. Average team member tenure is nine years (more than twice the industry average). This was the 1st year of a new long-term community partnership with Explore & More. The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum in Buffalo, N.Y. 72% clean, renewable hydroelectricity powers the Perry’s facility. Plus, we reduced waste to landfill by 63% since 2010.
  • We have an annual sustainability awards program that recognizes team members for progress made in sustainability.  
  • As a result of sustainability initiatives, a community returns team formed. They’ve made such a positive impact while giving team members ways to participate and support local organizations while at work.
  • We are nearing our zero-waste goal sending over 60% less waste to landfill since 2010. 
  • Our Transportation and Direct Store Delivery teams’ focus on fuel efficiencies is impressive, increasing MPG 36% since 2010.  The drivers achieved this by managing idle time, cruise control and out of route miles.  
  • The requests from educators and students regarding our sustainability efforts offers a fun opportunity to engage with young people.  These college students are our future. It’s rewarding to share with them what we’re doing in our small part of the world to make it better.

Q:  What are you looking forward to in the future of sustainability at Perry’s? 

A:  I am looking forward to 100 more years of the good stuff! 

Q:  Anything else that you feel like our wonderful audience need to know? 

A:  100 + years, so we are doing pretty well sustaining Perry’s.  That can be attributed to our long history of using resources wisely and not wasting anything.  We are engaged and active in our communities, and also value people and the role each one plays in the job we do. 

How can you learn more about corporate sustainability? 

Thank you so much, Gayle!!   

Learn more about the super cool things Perry’s is doing to show our love to Mother Earth and sustain our organization into its 2nd century of business. Click this link to check out our 2019 Sustainability Report. 

And just like the old saying goes:  recycle, reduce, reuse, eat ice cream.  

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