Seven global organizations, including IMD, launched the world’s first practitioner’s guide to sustainable sourcing of agricultural raw materials. The guide is an open source innovation tool that captures, in a single document, real-life best practice and experiences from global corporations within a strategic, business logic-focused framework. It empowers managers by providing a user-friendly step-by-step roadmap to building and rolling out sustainable agriculture sourcing strategies effectively.
Climate change, increasing pressure on natural resources and continuing poverty and social inequity are affecting crops and water supply globally. As the food & beverage industry is the world’s biggest purchaser of agricultural raw materials, this is a significant industry risk. For a secure, safe and increasing supply, crops must be grown and sourced in a sustainable manner taking full account of environmental, social and economic considerations. Doing this effectively calls for changes in managerial mind-sets and specific knowledge and skillsets.
To help companies convert these risks to business opportunities, a unique collaboration between seven high profile organizations has led to the production of the guide. The guide pools knowledge and resources, but collaborative outreach will also be an important part of assuring its impact. The collaborating partners are: the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, the CSL Learning Platform of IMD’s Global Center for Sustainability Leadership (CSL), the International Trade Centre, and the Sustainable Trade Initiative. Furthermore, BSR, the Sedex Information Exchange and the Sustainable Food Laboratory also contributed to the development of the guide and are supporting its outreach.
Dr. Ernesto A. Brovelli, President of the SAI Platform and Senior Manager, Sustainable Agriculture with The Coca-Cola Company comments: “This work reflects the spirit of the SAI Platform; one which aligns farmers and the food and beverage industry behind a common pursuit. Following a compelling narrative and clear examples, this publication is breaking ground in helping the reader navigate the path towards more sustainable sourcing.”
Why has this effort gained traction amongst such major players? Dr. Aileen Ionescu-Somers, IMD’s CSL Learning Platform Director and co-author with Dr. Reinier de Man of the guide explained: “No one stakeholder group can resolve these complex challenges on its own. Pooling knowledge and resources enables more radical innovation in food sourcing strategies. The guide is thus a significant contribution to more sustainable food systems for future generations.”
Professor Francisco Szekely, IMD Sandoz Family Foundation Chair for Leadership & Sustainability says: “There is no “one size fits all” recipe for achieving sustainable agriculture. However, the guide provides an ideal framework for managers on how to think, what to look for, and where to go for information. The main contribution is the questioning process that managers should go through to think strategically while making decisions. ”
About the Partners and Supporters of the Sustainable Sourcing Guide
This publication is the result of collaboration between the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform, the CSL learning platform of IMD’s Global Center for Sustainability Leadership (IMD-CSL), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH). Supporters are BSR, the Sedex Information Exchange (Sedex) and the Sustainable Food Laboratory (SFL).
SAI Platform is the main food and drink industry initiative supporting the development of sustainable agriculture worldwide. The group counts over 50 members, who share the same view of sustainable agriculture as “a productive, competitive and efficient way to produce agricultural products, while at the same time protecting the natural environment and socio-economic conditions of local communities.” Products and services include guidelines, tools and training material for the implementation of sustainable agriculture at farm level and sustainable sourcing throughout the supply chain.
IMD is a world renowned business school that is 100% focused on real-world executive development, with a practical, problem solving approach to create value and impact for its clients. The learning platform of IMD’s Global Center for Sustainability Leadership (IMD-CSL) is membership and partner driven, so that research and thought leadership in sustainability remain anchored in business realities. The main mission of IMD-CSL is to develop leaders who will go on to address present and future challenges and opportunities so that future generations can enjoy better options than those available today. IMD-CSL does this by developing and sharing cutting edge research on sustainability leadership, engaging business and other stakeholders in developing new approaches to business strategy, and by sharing knowledge and experience through the CSL Learning Platform.
ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. As the development partner for small business export success, ITC’s goal is to help developing and transition countries achieve sustainable human development through exports. ITC partners with trade support institutions to deliver integrated solutions for “Export Impact for Good.” ITC services are delivered through five complementary business services: business and trade policy, export strategy, strengthening trade support institutions, trade intelligence and exporter competitiveness. Through strategic development and capacity building based on these business services, ITC connects opportunities to markets. As a result, ITC achieves long-term, tangible benefits at both national and community levels.
The Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH) is a public private partnership that accelerates and up-scales sustainable trade by building impact- oriented coalitions of front running multinationals, civil society organizations, governments and other stakeholders. Through convening public and private interests, strengths and knowledge, IDH programs help create shared value for all partners. This will help make sustainability the new norm and will deliver impact on the Millennium Development goals. IDH develops and disseminates innovative strategies for transformative supply chain models that address tough global social and environmental challenges.
BSR works with its global network of nearly 300 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From offices in Europe, Asia, North and South America, BSR
develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research and cross-sector collaboration. Specifically across the food, beverage and agriculture value chain, BSR focuses on integrating corporate responsibility into core business strategies by applying well-tested approaches to materiality, stakeholder relations, and supply chain management to produce tangible results.
Sedex Information Exchange is a unique and innovative online platform, helping companies to manage ethical supply chain risk and streamline the challenging process of engaging with multi-tier supply chains. As the largest collaborative platform for managing ethical supply chain data, Sedex engages with all tiers of the supply chain
with the aim of driving improvements and convergence in responsible business practices. Sedex members can share and manage CSR information, access a range of resources and reports, including leading risk analysis tools, developed with global risk experts Maplecroft.
The Sustainable Food Lab (SFL) is a consortium of business, non-profit and public organizations aiming to accelerate the shift toward sustainability. SFL facilitates the development of market-based solutions to key issues – including climate, soil,
poverty, nutrition and water – that are necessary for a healthy and sustainable food system in a growing world. SFL uses collaborative learning to incubate innovation at every stage along the supply chain from producing to distributing and selling food. Areas of work include Sustainable Livelihoods in Global Value Chains, Sustainability Metrics, the Cool farm Institute and Leadership Development.