Green Research, a New York-based corporate sustainability research and advisory firm, recently released its benchmark of food processing company environmental sustainability goals. Companies in the study included Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Danone, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Foods, Nestlé, Tyson and H.J. Heinz.
The Green Research benchmark found that the food processing companies have announced an average of six specific, quantitative environmental sustainability goals each, with big variations among the firms. Heinz, Danone and Kraft had the most public goals. Corporations are beginning to compete on the strength of their commitments to environmental sustainability. Until now, they have lacked tools to help them benchmark their environmental aspirations against competitors.
“The major food processors vary widely in their sustainability goals,” says David Schatsky, principal analyst and founder. “Some firms are leading in transparency with a large number of public, specific, quantitative goals; others have disclosed few of their plans.”
Among the other findings are that 87 percent of the sustainability goals of the major food processors deal with their own internal operations. Few companies have announced quantitative supply chain or packaging goals. This represents an opportunity for companies to claim leadership as research suggests that the food processing supply chain accounts for a significant share of the potential environmental impact of this industry. “The food processing companies that announce aggressive goals for the sustainability of their supply chains will stake out a position of leadership,” said Schatsky.