The popularity of Mexican avocados has skyrocketed in the past decade—and the growth shows no signs of slowing.
Avocado imports to the U.S. from Mexico doubled from 1.2 to 2.4 billion pounds between 2014 and 2021. Such a rapid increase in demand could have required doubling the use of natural resources. However, thanks to the Association of Avocado Exporting Producers and Packers of Mexico’s (APEAM) continued commitment to sustainability, the association has promoted responsible practices to conserve natural resources to grow avocados in Mexico.
As part of the United Nations Global Compact, the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, APEAM has aligned with the high sustainability standards set by the U.N.’s 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).
APEAM’s most recent update to the Communication on Engagement report, submitted to the U.N. and Global Compact stakeholders in 2022, details efforts the association has prioritized and plans for meeting the present avocado demand without compromising future generations’ economic growth, environment, and the well-being of everyone touched by the avocado industry.
Here are four key areas in which APEAM focuses its sustainability strategy for the Mexican avocado industry.
The ‘Green Agenda’
When joining the U.N. Global Compact in 2020, APEAM conducted a qualitative study of the sustainability of avocado farming in Mexico, measuring it against four of the U.N. Global Compact’s 17 SDGs. The Michoacán region of Mexico has a unique environment that enables it to keep up with U.S. avocado consumption. This diagnostic study, titled the “Green Agenda,” provides a snapshot of Michoacán’s soil, water, biodiversity, and forests and covers avocado growers’ responsible farming practices and social responsibility. The study’s findings have influenced APEAM’s sustainability strategies to create a positive social, environmental, and economic impact on Michoacán.
U.N. SDG No. 17 regards building strategic partnerships to achieve the other 16 goals. To further its active pursuits to improve water management in avocado farming, support life on land, and promote responsible consumption and production, APEAM has built key partnerships with:
Research shows that 61% of avocado orchards in Michoacán rely on natural, seasonal irrigation in their fields. Another 36% use micro-sprinkling or drip irrigation to water their crops. This means 97% of avocado orchards depend on sustainable irrigation methods. To reduce avocado agriculture’s water footprint, APEAM has created several systems and initiatives, including:
To ensure responsible use of agrochemicals, APEAM verifies national and international compliance with avocado producers to:
Responsible production patterns require proper education on field safety and good farming practices. That’s why APEAM has invested in a range of educational initiatives:
Michoacán is one of Mexico’s top five states in forest production and biological diversity. APEAM’s forest conservation initiatives include:
Since joining the U.N. Global Compact, APEAM has successfully aligned the Mexican avocado industry’s sustainability practices with the U.N.’s SDGs. Demand for avocados continues to rise, and with responsible farming practices made a priority each year, Mexico’s avocado industry, its surrounding communities, and the ecosystems critical to our planet will thrive.
Learn more about how the avocado industry preserves biodiversity through sustainable development.
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