Clover Sonoma, a third-generation family-owned and operated dairy based in Petaluma, Calif., announced its B Corporation recertification and the first fully renewable plant-based milk carton in the United States as part of its continued focus on sustainability.

As a result of better employee and community engagement, environmental standards, and corporate governance, the company said it received an improved score of 100.5 during its B Corporation recertification. Clover Sonoma attained a 96.9 score during its original certification in 2016. During its three-year certification term, Clover Sonoma’s commitment to curating its relationships with farmers, employees, community, suppliers and consumers across California has improved its social and environmental impact, and influence as a mission-driven business.

Clover Sonoma also said it is the first dairy in the United States to switch to a fully renewable plant-based milk carton. The company will be converting more than 10 million cartons this year and additional milk cartons until the entire line of milk cartons is fully renewable.

There are two main components to a milk carton — the paperboard and the lining. The paperboard for the company’s new carton will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, which means that consumers who purchase the renewable milk carton are supporting responsible forest management and helping to protect forests for future generations. FSC certification helps ensure that the soils, water quality, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, special areas, social rights and biodiversity are all protected, Clover Sonoma said.

“Owning more than 50% of the branded dairy market in Northern California means we have a responsibility to do what’s best for consumers,” said Clover Sonoma CEO Marcus Benedetti. “We’ve baked sustainability into our DNA and continue to look for ways to foster growth within our organization, and aim to set the bar high for our community and other brands across our industry.

“Packaging is a big part of our focus as we try to find innovative ways to decrease the use of fossil fuels, utilize less plastic and encourage recycling,” he continued. “Our new fully renewable milk carton is a first for the U.S., and we hope to transition the carton across our fluid milk line within the next few years.”

In the past, Clover Sonoma made the conscious decision to reduce plastic waste by saying “no” to plastic caps on paper cartons. In doing so, the company said it prevented more than 227,000 pounds of plastic from entering landfills in 2019 alone. With its new Organic DHA Omega-3 + Choline Milk line, the company took its commitment a step further by partnering with 1% for the Planet to donate a portion of proceeds of the sale of the product to non-profit Plastic Pollution Coalition.

The lining inside and outside of the carton will be made of fossil fuel-free green plastic made from non-GMO sugar cane. Bioethanol made from sugar cane is used for a low-density polyethylene coating inside and outside of the carton, the company said.

The carbon footprint of Clover Sonoma’s renewable plant-based milk carton is less than 50% of that of conventional cartons (according to a European study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research). Both the paperboard and liner materials are also traceable to their origins. Renewable resources can be replenished naturally over time, and more importantly, they enable a move away from fossil fuel-based materials, reducing the environmental impact, as well as improving resource efficiency, Clover Sonoma said.

Clover Sonoma’s new packaging will be available on shelves this summer in our organic half-gallon and quart milk cartons.