What Environmental Sustainability Looks Like for Proven Winners
Committed to Growing Greener
Consumers are looking to Proven Winners to provide options for sustainable gardening and plants they can feel good about growing. In addition to filling this need, we, like everyone else, have a mission of cultivating a safe and healthy place to live, work and play. Our brand is comprised of several family-owned growing operations, and we reside in the communities we serve.
Our commitment to growing greener through sustainable production practices and developing more eco-friendly options for home gardeners runs generations deep. Always in pursuit of innovative new ways to support these efforts, our environmental sustainability profile is ever-expanding. Here are a few of the key ways we are growing greener.
After years of research, trials and development, Proven Winners now offers 100% plastic-free, compostable Eco+ containers for the growers who are producing our plants. Growers can now choose the Eco+ Grande® container for all of our annuals; additional container sizes are in development.
This plant-powered container is made in Minnesota from corn grown in the U.S. It looks and acts like plastic, which makes it easy to work with for growers, but breaks back down into inert organic matter over time in the garden. The walls of the container have nutrients like calcium, nitrogen and phosphorus built right in. The entire container can be planted in the ground where, as it breaks down, those nutrients are slowly released to the plants over time, helping them grow bigger and stronger. Learn more about Eco+ containers.
In addition to developing plastic-free, compostable pots for growers, we’ve also developed seed-starting containers using the same method and materials for home gardeners. Like the Eco+ grower containers, our seed-starting Eco Pots are plantable and have nutrients built into their walls which feed the plants as they grow. Learn more about our seed-starting Eco Pots.
All sizes and styles of our Co-Ex plastic containers for annuals, perennials and shrubs are made using a significant amount of recycled material. Additionally, these containers and our plant labels are recyclable. Find more detailed information here.
Recycling in the Production Process
We are constantly recycling many different kinds of materials and buying in recycled products during the production of our plants. In our perennial production alone, over a quarter-million pounds of paper, plastic and metal items are recycled annually. From our cardboard shipping cases which are made from partially recycled materials, to our shipping crates made from renewable wood sources, to the partially recycled aluminum used in our greenhouse structures, Proven Winners companies are invested in using eco-friendly recycled materials throughout the production process.
Proven Winners’ growers fully embrace the lean flow philosophy of using a minimal amount of resources to produce the maximum outcome. Our greenhouse facilities are built to be highly energy efficient in many different ways, starting with the very material from which they are made. During our prime growing season, the sun can be our main source of energy and heat. Energy curtains are used to conserve heat during colder months. On sunny days, they provide shade and help cool the air. High tech lighting systems are designed to be ultra-efficient and aid in plant production.
Conserving Water in Plant Production
We are committed to conserving water during the production process. Our greenhouse facilities recapture and reuse significant amounts of water every day. Many types of plants respond very well to being grown on flood floors which recycle, clean and reuse water time and again. In our production greenhouses, we use programmable watering booms and group plants together according to water needs. These practices allow us to deliver the right amount of water needed by each plant. Our innovative watering systems reduce overall waste of water and fertilizer.
Water Conservation Solutions for Home Gardeners
Water conservation is top of mind for many gardeners, whether you live where there are water restrictions or desire to consume less water in growing a garden. We’ve developed several solutions to help home gardeners meet this goal including our WaterWise® drip irrigation system and self-watering AquaPots®, AquaPots Lite and AquaPots Insert. All of these systems use a fraction of the water to help your plants thrive while also relieving the burden of watering by hand. They are available at local garden centers nationwide and in our online store.
Integrated Pest Management
A strong integrated pest management (IPM) system is vital for preventing and catching pest and disease issues early before extensive treatment is required. Highly skilled plant health technicians work in our greenhouses every day to keep our plants growing strong. A good IPM system includes strict protocols for prevention, sanitation, scouting and treatment. Beneficial organisms (also known as biologicals) are used extensively in our greenhouses and are the first line of defense for preventing and treating pest issues in many cases. No neonicotinoids are used in our plant production process.
Regional Growers Reduce Shipping Needs
The Proven Winners plants available at retail garden centers are grown either by the stores themselves or by regional growers who supply them with fresh plants. The young starter plants used to grow those finished plants originate at a Proven Winners propagation facility. Located strategically throughout North America, the plants do not have to travel far from our facilities to reach regional growers and garden centers. This reduces the overall carbon footprint of each plant purchased.
Best of all, Proven Winners provides people with the ultimate green product: plants! As you enjoy them in your garden, they are removing carbon from the atmosphere and producing life-giving oxygen. When they are finished growing, they turn into humus which feeds the next plants that grow there.
Many of the hardy perennials and shrubs we offer have native roots across North America. They are cultivars of natives which are selected for traits like better disease resistance, more blooms for pollinators and durability in the landscape. All of these things help gardeners enjoy their plants with less work needed to keep them healthy and thriving. Learn more about our native plants.
Solar-Powered Marketing Headquarters
In 2022, we completed the renovation of the new Proven Winners North America corporate headquarters in DeKalb, IL. A key factor in making this 80,000 square foot building energy efficient was installing solar panels to the roof. A total of 372 solar panels now provide all of the electric power needed year-round to heat, cool and light our offices. LED lights are also installed throughout the facility.
Responsible Printing Practices
Though much of the work we do lives online via downloadable pdfs, we do produce printed copies of our annual Gardener’s Idea Book and several brochures for our trade business. These are all printed in Illinois by a printing company which is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC).
The FSC® sets high standards to ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial, and economically viable way. This certification recognizes our printer’s promotion of the use of paper products that originate from FSC certified forests. Stewardship of the product from logging through to printing must be carried out by FSC certified companies. Additionally, any excess paper is recycled, used as packing material or donated to schools for class projects.
Our printer’s operations are green-powered. Their facilities use power produced from sustainable resources including wind, sun and biomass which is energy from methane gas emitted from landfills.