Wednesday, 22 November 2023 15:55

Zespri unveils innovation fund

Written by  Staff Reporters
Zespri has unveiled a new innovation funding initiative. Zespri has unveiled a new innovation funding initiative.

Zespri has announced the establishment of a new innovation funding initiative, known as ZAG.

The company says ZAG, a US$2 million annual fund set up to support future innovation initiatives and global strategic partnerships, will play an important role in the company’s mission going forward.

ZAG is designed to attract innovative problem solvers from around the world who can help address some of the key challenges the industry faces as it meets growing demand for kiwifruit.

Zespri is seeking forward-thinking visionaries, disruptors, dreamers, and darers to help it better innovate in sustainable agriculture, technology, automation, packaging, supply chain, logistics, and industry education.

Jiunn Shih, Zespri’s chief marketing, innovation and sustainability officer, says the company has a clear focus on creating sustainable long-term value for its growers and he says ZAG will enable it to partner with other innovators to explore ways to do that while also helping to restore nature and moving to a place where healthy eating is a well-established habit.

“We want to be the ZAG the food system needs,” he says. “Our ambitions are greater than our capabilities, and with this in mind, we are inviting others to partner with us to help solve challenges that impact our fruit and the wellbeing of people, communities and the environment,” he says.

ZAG will support projects that are focused on four core priorities for Zespri: (1) Initiatives that are good for kiwifruit by driving superior quality and lifting on orchard productivity; (2) Initiatives that are good for people by promoting wellbeing through kiwifruit consumption; (3) Initiatives that are good for the environment by protecting and enhancing nature; (4) And finally, initiatives that foster a thriving kiwifruit industry, benefitting growers and the local communities they are a part of.

Shih says ZAG will be closely aligned with Zespri’s sustainability programme.

“While we’re making steady progress, such as a 5% reduction in our shipping emissions through improved charter vessel utilization, we know it’s new partners and solutions that will really unlock change,” he says.

“We’re inspired by our growers and supply chain partners who are prototyping actions as part of our carbon-neutral trial,” Shih explains. “And we’re pushing forward a partnership approach on shipping by asking other businesses and governments to come with us, so we can stimulate the demand that’s needed to accelerate the deployment of greener solutions.”

“We’re really excited about the potential ZAG has to increase our efforts in this space. We look forward to working with agri- and food-tech innovators as well as other solution providers, to help Zespri and the kiwifruit industry achieve an even brighter future,” he says.

To apply for the fund, visit https://www.zespri.com/en-NZ/zagfund

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