WHILE many in the industry view sustainability as a buzzword, Cargill continues to invest in creating a more sustainable supply chain and helping other food companies do the same.
Cargill recently unveiled a new assessment tool to help its food and beverage customers achieve growth, cost reduction and risk mitigation goals related to sustainability.
Announced last month at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Food Expo in Chicago, Ill., the tool allows Cargill and its customers to identify, prioritize and quantify risks and opportunities in their supply chains so they can take action on "responsible sourcing" issues that may negatively or positively affect their business, such as labor practices, the environment and biodiversity.
The assessment tool translates such risks and opportunities into specific financial terms by assigning cost and revenue implications to those areas identified as having the highest likelihood of occurrence and the largest business impact.
"Customers, consumers and other stakeholders are increasingly demanding more information and communications around what's happening in our extensive supply chains to mitigate corporate or brand risk, find opportunities for cost reduction or use sustainability as a potential platform for growth," said Scott Portnoy, corporate vice president of Cargill's food ingredients and systems business. "However, sustainability investments often struggle to gain traction as many organizations fall short of quantifying a return on investment. Our tool delivers a business case that enables responsible decision-making and action."
Cargill cited examples of its recent efforts in sustainability, including a pledge to supply its customers in the developed world with palm oil certified by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and/or originated from smallholder growers by 2015 and expanding that to all of the company's products and customers worldwide by 2020. Similarly, Cargill formed a partnership with The Nature Conservancy to help soybean farmers in Brazil comply with the Brazilian Forest Code.
Most recently, Cargill conducted a survey of its food and beverage customers and found that 93% identified sustainability as one of the most critical issues of importance to their business.