Executive Update

Sustainable Agriculture – Toward Shared Value for All Players in the Food Supply Chain

This session brought together producers and suppliers who focused on the performance and metrics of sustainable agriculture in the supply chain. Each panelist shared examples of how their company is addressing these shared issues.

Elizabeth Keck, senior director of sustainability at Walmart discussed the three broad sustainability goals her company has developed, which are to be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy; to create zero waste; and to sell products that sustain people and the environment. To achieve these goals, Walmart has settled on three areas of focus: supporting farmers and their communities, producing more food with fewer resources and less waste and sustainably sourcing key agricultural products.

“This was a classic case of reaching out to the NGO community, which has tremendous capability and expertise; we talked to academics, led round table discussions with our suppliers, and most importantly got an internal discussion going on inside the company,” explained Keck.

Chief Sustainability Officer at Kellogg’s, Diane Holdorf discussed how important it was for manufacturers to have a two-way conversation with suppliers, when it comes to being more sustainable.  A few years ago, Kellogg’s set up a meeting with their growers down in Louisiana to discuss the business; expecting around 20 growers, more than 100 turned up, and began their conversation. 

“We’ve had great success working with them and understanding all of the steps they have taken, all the things we could perhaps help to inform their next steps,” explained Holdorf. “They’re starting to learn that this is not a one-way conversation. This is about what can we learn together.”