Incorporating sustainability practices in agriculture is nothing new. But in recent years we’ve seen sustainability efforts become more sophisticated. There’s more innovation, more data and more economic support for sustainability efforts than ever before to not only protect our planet, but to meet the demands of sustainability-conscious consumers. The evolution of sustainability efforts puts pressure on all to adapt their own practices. Do your sustainability efforts measure up? Here are three key considerations to help you evaluate:

The USDA is investing more than $3.1 billion into 141 Climate-Smart projects.

1. Do you have a sustainability platform in place?

Many organizations have been in the sustainability game for a long time without any official sustainability platform. But adopting best practices is just one piece of the puzzle. Developing an official sustainability platform or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) platform allows your organization to set goals, make commitments to your audiences and track success year-over-year.

A good sustainability platform has CSR within it but the two are not the same. CSR is your commitment to your employees, your communities and the public and includes initiatives that you do to advance them. A sustainability platform is bigger and broader.

2. Are you communicating your efforts?

If you have a CSR platform in place, you may already be reporting your ethical, environmental, philanthropic and economic impact. Communicating sustainability initiatives is good for any organization but essential for ones that deal with misinformation and loud adversarial voices, which is often the unfortunate reality for the agriculture industry.

CSR reporting allows you to show real progress and commitment to improvement. A good CSR report should be transparent, flexible and have all the important details. Your first CSR report will set the baseline for all future reporting so it’s important to make sure you have all the information you need. The report should contain data for all of your organization’s key sustainability metrics. It should include important data, even ones that may not meet established goals for the set time period.

A CSR report should contain data for all the key sustainability metrics that apply to your organization.

3. Are you working with the right partners?

Sustainability is not a solo mission. One key to achieving your sustainability goals is to ensure you’re working with the right partners. Over the years, we’ve seen unique and unexpected partnerships form to meet sustainability goals. The USDA’s Partnerships or Climate-Smart Commodities is a great example of how partnerships are driving change in agriculture sustainability. The USDA is investing more than $3.1 billion into these 141 projects and the partnerships formed from these projects are unprecedented. Even major competitors like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are listed as partners on one of the projects with the Iowa Soybean Association. Industry alliances such as these can allow you to gather more resources and more momentum in your sustainability efforts.

In the second episode of State of The Plate Podcast we come at Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities from all angles, including which food and ag companies are teaming up, how innovation is making partnerships easier and one partnership that’s saving the rice supply, featuring special guest Jay McEntire, CEO of Arva Intelligence.

Finding the right partners goes beyond industry alliances—it’s also picking the right partners you work with internally. Do your employees understand why your sustainability efforts are a priority? Are they able to communicate your efforts to your key audiences? Do you have an agency partner who can help you effectively tell your story in meaningful and impactful ways?

All these factors play an important role in your sustainability and CSR journey. Do you need help achieving any of these three key areas or more information? Simply reach out to to connect with one of our sustainability experts.

Published On: May 31st, 2023Categories: CSR and Sustainability

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