Executive Q&A: Prioritizing Sustainability with Daily Harvest’s Ricky Silver

Image: Daily Harvest

As consumers become more eco-conscious, their buying habits are shifting toward value-aligned brands.

Unable to divorce our well-being from that of the planet, sustainability is quickly becoming table stakes for brands across the health and wellness industry.

With that in mind, we caught up with Daily Harvest’s chief supply chain officer Ricky Silver to discuss the brand’s approach to prioritizing sustainability.

How do you balance business and revenue growth with sustainability?

RS: Sustainable practices have been central to our mission from the very start, but eliciting real change didn’t happen overnight. We made the best choices possible until our community granted us the purchasing power to tackle systemic barriers to proper nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

As we’ve grown, so has our impact. Over the last five years, we’ve fostered direct relationships with farmers around the world. And these relationships have allowed us to really dig into the roadblocks and barriers that the agricultural community faces.

For example, only 1% of US farmland is organic despite the continued call from consumers and businesses to eliminate the use of synthetic pesticides in our food systems. Why? For one, because it’s expensive, labor-intensive, and risky for farmers to make the switch, and without businesses like ours sharing in that risk, farmers are left in a lose-lose situation.

This is why we are investing in partners to make the three-year transition process a little bit easier for the farmer, ultimately driving the conversion of more organic farmland.

We wouldn’t be where we are today without value-aligned investors to help us stay the course. If you want to build something correctly, you have to have smart financial support, a measured approach, and patience. We’re laying the foundation for a more sustainable food ecosystem and showing others that you can do no harm when building a scalable business.

How do you appeal to savvy, ecologically aware, health-conscious consumers?

RS: The food system is failing the health of people and the planet, and we’re running out of time to fix it. Luckily, there’s a solution: organic fruits and vegetables help us live longer, happier lives and can save the earth!

Today’s consumers understand that individual choices matter. They can—and want to—adopt more nourishing and sustainable eating habits, but our current food system often sets them up for failure.

Daily Harvest meets customer demand by answering the call for human health and sustainability goals at scale. It’s simple: we make it easy to eat more organic fruits and vegetables every day.

How we accomplish this is not so simple. We start by leveraging deep customer connections to create food with the people who eat it. And we’ve built an agile supply chain that allows us to move incredibly fast, so consumers get what they want, when they want it. Then, we use data and technology to connect people with the right items for them and keep freezers stocked so the nourishing food they want to eat is always on hand.

What’s your best advice for successfully launching/scaling sustainability efforts, ensuring impact beyond good PR?

RS: Instead of relying on surface-level sustainability tactics, commit to tackling systemic issues at the root. Then, keep laddering up to your mission as you grow. It’s okay to take a measured approach, but you can’t just “talk the talk”… you have to “walk the walk.”

Sustainability cannot be a side project — it has to be at the core of your business. Work towards real progress and be transparent about your journey.

What are the highest-impact moves in corporate sustainability and governance?

RS: Hone in on an area of focus that clearly ties into your product and values. A jack of all trades is a master of none, so pick a lane—one that makes sense—to drive meaningful change.

Daily Harvest is a food company. We help people eat more organic fruits and vegetables everyday so we can all live longer lives on a healthier planet. When it comes to corporate sustainability and governance, natural areas for us to lead are sustainable agriculture and health & nutrition. We have the credibility, the expertise, and are already doing the work, so we’re doubling down and staying focused to make the biggest impact.

 

About Ricky Silver

Ricky Silver is the chief supply chain officer at Daily Harvest, leading innovation strategy, new product development, food safety and quality, sourcing, manufacturing, and fulfillment operations.

Previously, Ricky was the director of innovation at Vita Coco, the global leader in RTD Coconut Water, where he led the development of the brand’s portfolio diversification into new categories including coconut milk, coconut oil, sparkling waters, and more. Ricky started his career at PepsiCo, where he leveraged his chemistry and food science backgrounds to manage multiple R&D platforms across the business.

Ricky received his MBA from NYU Stern School of Business and his master’s in chemistry from NYU. His passion for food stems from his years as a personal chef in NYC.

About Daily Harvest

Daily Harvest helps you stock your home with delicious food that’s built on real fruits and vegetables and made to keep up with your life. Our mission is to take care of food… so food can take care of you. We believe in a world well-fed, so we make it easier to eat more whole fruits and vegetables every day. After all, they are the foundation of a happier, healthier life and more sustainable future.