BY PAUL WEST
With input from IonE's Global Landscapes Initiative, Kraft Foods recently completed a "farm to fork" analysis of the company's land, water and climate footprint. This undertaking was significant because it's a big departure from most environmental footprint analyses, which typically focus on one product and one aspect of the environment, and the scope is limited to what the company can directly influence. By widening the scope of analysis, Kraft Foods determined that the bulk of the negative environmental effects of the company's goods happen on the farms during production. I suspect this finding would be common to all major food companies.
A big challenge for many companies and retailers that aim to reduce their environmental footprint is determining how to affect the parts of the supply chain over which they have little to no direct control. Certification programs for meeting environmental and social goals exist for a few commodities, such as coffee, cocoa and palm oil. But this list will need to expand and other mechanisms are needed to drive broader scale change.
The press release for the Kraft Foods analysis can be found here. Please share your examples or ideas of how companies, NGOs and others are influencing sustainable production of major food commodities.
Paul West is chief collaboration officer for the Institute on the Environment's Global Landscapes Initiative. Follow him on Twitter: @coolfireconserv. Photo by Matt MacGillivray from Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons