The "Corporate Responsibility Report" is a relatively new phenomenon among the major food brands and companies of the world. And it's not only influencing expectations but driving new demands, says Dallas Hockman, Vice President, Industry Relations, with the National Pork Producers Council.
As part of a broader talk on social pressures, Hockman noted that as this becomes a standard part of corporate governance in the food sector, it is creating more focus and incentives for action. "Once you have the reports, you need to put something in the reports. You want to have things to point to that demonstrate you are doing a good job," he says. "No question it's having an impact."
It's not just the reports, he says. Companies today are bringing on more and more corporate responsibility or corporate sustainability staff, departments and major initiatives. "It's going on in all the big brands. They are facing the same pressures we are at the production level and they need to show they are good stewards of everything from the environment to animal welfare. So we have an overall environment of our customers, these companies, wanting to demonstrate progress."
The overall dynamic between producers and these customers is changing rapidly, he says. "If you look at the supply chain historically it's a fairly simple model. We had the producer and then the processor, who that dealt directly with the grocers and restaurants. It was a business-to-business relationship based on supply and price, product availability - those types of basic factors. Today we've seen NGOs, like in our case the Humane Society of the United States, insert themselves into this and it is really changing the game."