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The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops and The Sustainability Consortium Announce Partnership to Align Measurement and Reporting of Sustainable Agriculture
The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops and The Sustainability Consortium Announce Partnership to Align Measurement and Reporting of Sustainable Agriculture

PRESS RELEASE - SAN FRANCISCO, CA – March 2, 2015 – Across fresh food supply chains, businesses are advancing environmental, social and economic values. Balancing production with continually improving conservation stewardship demands an aligned approach to measure and communicate on-farm sustainability in specialty crops (all fruits, nuts, and vegetables). The Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC) and The Sustainability Consortium® (TSC) are proud to announce a partnership that creates significant progress toward these goals. TSC and SISC have agreed to work toward harmonization of on-farm performance metrics and collaborate together on implementation and innovation projects to encourage stewardship across specialty crop supply chains.

Mars and Fairtrade Extend Sustainable Cocoa Partnership for UK and Ireland
Mars and Fairtrade Extend Sustainable Cocoa Partnership for UK and Ireland

SUPPLY CHAIN - Mars Chocolate UK and Fairtrade Foundation have extended their partnership to source Fairtrade-certified cocoa for MARS® Bars in the United Kingdom and Ireland by October 2015.Mars is the first UK company to announce a commitment under the new Fairtrade Cocoa Sourcing Programme, which aims to deliver more opportunities for cocoa farmers to sell on Fairtrade terms and connect them with businesses that actively support efforts to improve farmer livelihoods.In 2009, Mars committed to certifying its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner by 2020.

Past, Present and Future: The Road to a Sustainable Agricultural Sector
Past, Present and Future: The Road to a Sustainable Agricultural Sector

THE NEXT ECONOMY - Thick clouds of smoke, a suffocating heat. Forests, lush and green and bustling with all types of life, reduced to burned land and ashes. In Indonesia, in the 1997-98 fires, approximately 10 million hectares of rainforest, an area the size of Switzerland, were affected. The regional economic costs of the fires were estimated at $9 billion. These fires were set deliberately, by palm oil estates, to clear land for rapid and cheap expansion of their plantations, and to hide timber poaching and land theft.

Safeway to Sell World’s First Fair Trade Certified Seafood, Improve Communities at the Same Time
Safeway to Sell World’s First Fair Trade Certified Seafood, Improve Communities at the Same Time

SUPPLY CHAIN - Last week, Safeway and Fair Trade USA announced a partnership to launch Fair Trade Certified™ seafood into the North American market. The program addresses both social and environmental responsibility in fishing communities across the globe. In March, Safeway will debut the world’s first Fair Trade fish – wild-capture tuna from small-scale fishermen in Indonesia – in its Northern California, Portland and Seattle Division stores.

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Kuli Kuli Shines Through in Crowded ‘Super Food’ Market
Kuli Kuli Shines Through in Crowded ‘Super Food’ Market

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - The term “super food” has become trite in today’s health-crazed dietary marketplace — used to describe everything from kale to blueberries. The word is rarely used by dietitians or nutrition scientists because few foods pack enough of a nutritional punch to merit “super” status.But there still are a few deserving of the title — and a plant called moringa is one of them. The moringa tree is a plant native to parts of Africa and Asia renowned for its nutritional value — each leaf contains seven times the vitamin C of oranges, four times the vitamin A of carrots, four times the calcium of milk, three times the potassium of bananas and twice the protein of yogurt.

IBM, Mars Launch New Data-Driven Effort to Advance Global Food Safety
IBM, Mars Launch New Data-Driven Effort to Advance Global Food Safety

CLEANTECH - Scientists from IBM Research and Mars have established a new collaborative food safety platform aimed at leveraging advances in genomics to further the understanding of what makes food safe.The Consortium for Sequencing the Food Supply Chain will conduct the largest-ever metagenomics study to categorize and understand microorganisms and the factors that influence their activity in a normal, safe factory environment. IBM and Mars say this work could be extended into the larger context of the food supply chain — from farm to fork — and lead to new insights into how microorganisms interact within a factory ecology and be better-controlled by new data and science-driven practices.

The Shared Imperative: How the Humble Pint Is Helping to Advance Sustainability Science
The Shared Imperative: How the Humble Pint Is Helping to Advance Sustainability Science

ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE - Last week saw the launch of a new initiative that will offer 15 post-graduate scientists from nations across Africa the opportunity to work with UK academic institutions in subject areas such as water management, sustainable farming, energy and waste.The ‘SABMiller Royal Society Exchange Programme’ is a seemingly unlikely collaboration between one of the UK’s leading science establishments and a multinational brewer. I went along to Wednesday night’s launch event at the Royal Society in London to find out how beer is helping to fund new sustainable technologies.

Closed-Loop, Organic Shrimp Farm Could Create Sea Change for Domestic Shrimp Industry
Closed-Loop, Organic Shrimp Farm Could Create Sea Change for Domestic Shrimp Industry

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - San Diego company Net Zero Aqualife says it has beat its crowdfunding deadline and now has the funds to begin production of high-quality organic shrimp at low cost. The farm is expected to produce 100 percent organic, non-GMO, self-sustained shrimp, without emitting any waste or pollution, or consuming any water or energy, through a closed-loop system.The company hopes to provide a sustainable method of producing the popular shellfish domestically; currently, the US imports a whopping 91 percent of its shrimp.

Valentines Can Now Show Their Love Sustainably with Locally Grown ‘Slow Flowers’
Valentines Can Now Show Their Love Sustainably with Locally Grown ‘Slow Flowers’

SUPPLY CHAIN - US nationwide floral directory Slow Flowers is encouraging its customers to show their love in a more thoughtful way this Valentine’s day by sourcing local American-grown bouquets.The US cut flower retail market is flourishing, with sales topping US$7-8 billion annually. However, apparently only 2 percent of the 224 million roses sold in 2012 were American-grown. The US flower market has been dominated for decades by 1-800 teleflorists who import their bouquets from overseas. In an attempt to change this trend and support local farmers, Slow Flowers now has a directory of roughly 500 florists committed to sourcing their flowers from the US for Valentine’s Day this year.

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Florida’s First Community and Restaurant Supported Fishery Planned For Key West
Florida’s First Community and Restaurant Supported Fishery Planned For Key West

COLLABORATION - Dock to Dish, a New York-based community and restaurant supported fishery, has announced plans to open Florida’s first community supported fishery in Key West next month in conjunction with Key West restaurateur Chris Holland and the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association.The goal of the new enterprise is to bring the health benefits of locally harvested fish and seafood back to local consumers while helping to strengthen the in-state commercial fishing industry, Dock to Dish says.

Largest Tuna Supplier in Western Pacific Agrees to Provide MSC-certified Tuna
Largest Tuna Supplier in Western Pacific Agrees to Provide MSC-certified Tuna

COLLABORATION - FCF Fishery Company (FCF) has announced that its joint investment, Nambawan, and its associated fleet, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with PNAO/Pacifical as a commitment to maintaining Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability standards while trading tuna harvested from Pacific Island Nations (PNA) waters.Under the agreement, FCF will work with the PNA and Pacifical on criteria for certification and ensuring traceability and reporting from fish harvested to transportation, and processing into its semi-finished and finished products.

Sonoma Winegrowers Create Business Plan to Preserve Agriculture for Next 100 Years
Sonoma Winegrowers Create Business Plan to Preserve Agriculture for Next 100 Years

LEADERSHIP - Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, also known as Sonoma County Winegrowers (SCW), has created a 100-year business plan to preserve agriculture in Sonoma County well into the 22nd century. The time period of 100 years was chosen because it represents two generations before and the next two future generations — spanning from grandparents to grandchildren. The plan addresses such issues as innovation and research, natural resources, the regulatory environment, community engagement and marketing while building coalitions throughout the community in support of sustaining agriculture in Sonoma County in the long term.

Mars, UC Davis Launch Innovation Institute for Food and Health
Mars, UC Davis Launch Innovation Institute for Food and Health

COLLABORATION - Mars, in partnership with UC Davis, launched the Innovation Institute for Food and Health, part of the university's World Food Center, at a day-long symposium on Wednesday. Laureates and other leading scientists discussed major challenges relating to improving global food security, sustainable agriculture and health for a growing world population.The Innovation Institute is being supported over the next 10 years with a pledge of $40 million from Mars and $20 million from UC Davis and aims to advance new discoveries in sustainable food, agriculture and health.

PepsiCo Reacts to New Ads Slamming Doritos Over Lax Palm Oil Policy
PepsiCo Reacts to New Ads Slamming Doritos Over Lax Palm Oil Policy

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - On Tuesday, SumOfUs, an international consumer advocacy organization, released a new parody video — in conjunction with Doritos’ annual “Crash the Super Bowl” commercial competition — that calls out Doritos and its parent company, PepsiCo, for use of unsustainable palm oil in Doritos products and the subsequent destruction caused to Southeast Asian rainforests, species and communities. The video, called “A Cheesy Love Story — The Ad Doritos Don't Want You to See,” has reached almost a million views across Facebook and YouTube since it went live on Tuesday.

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No Carnitas for a Third of Chipotle Diners After Pork Supplier Violates Animal-Welfare Standards
No Carnitas for a Third of Chipotle Diners After Pork Supplier Violates Animal-Welfare Standards

SUPPLY CHAIN - Chipotle is walking its “Food with Integrity” talk with the decision this week to eliminate carnitas from the menu at about a third of its 1,800 U.S. locations, after discovering that one of its pork suppliers violated the company’s animal-welfare policies.“Without this pork, we cannot get enough pork that meets our Responsibly Raised standard for all our restaurants, and we will not be able to serve carnitas in some locations,” Chipotle said in a statement, though the company declined to name the supplier in question.

Let's Take the B.S. Out of Food Marketing
Let's Take the B.S. Out of Food Marketing

MARKETING AND COMMS - As I stared at a seemingly endless array of packaged chicken parts in a high-end grocery store recently, a mother of two strode up to the refrigerated section and decisively grabbed a package that promised “All-Natural Free-Range” chicken. “Yes!” she exclaimed to her kids. “Here they are!”

Stonyfield Farm Continues to Drive Transparency with Ingredient Source Map
Stonyfield Farm Continues to Drive Transparency with Ingredient Source Map

MARKETING AND COMMS - Stonyfield Farm has taken the transparency of its supply chain to a new level by creating a source map for each of its ingredients.The New Hampshire-based organic dairy brand worked with SourceMap to create a map detailing the location, farm conditions and history for each of its ingredients, ranging from the dairy farms that supply its milk to the peaches, pears and raspberries that flavor its products.

Report Shows World's Poor Benefit from Small-Scale Commercial Aquaculture
Report Shows World's Poor Benefit from Small-Scale Commercial Aquaculture

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - A new report from WorldFish shows that resource-poor Bangladeshis can participate in commercial aquaculture, challenging conventional assumptions that this was not possible. The report also highlights that more of the very poor in Bangladesh are profiting from commercial aquaculture than was previously thought.

Ghost Fishing: Time for the Fishing Industry to Clean Up Its Deadly Mess
Ghost Fishing: Time for the Fishing Industry to Clean Up Its Deadly Mess

BEHAVIOR CHANGE - More and more consumers are aware of overfishing and the effects plastic trash is having on the world’s oceans. Various companies are taking small steps in harvesting ocean garbage and recycling it while organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council are raising awareness about the importance of sustainably sourced seafood. One problem, however, is still wreaking havoc on fisheries across the world. Unwanted and abandoned fishing equipment such as nets and pots, often called “ghost gear,” often still traps and kills fish and sea mammals long after their final use.

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Cargill, Kennedy and Coe to Develop Beef Cattle Sustainability Assessment
Cargill, Kennedy and Coe to Develop Beef Cattle Sustainability Assessment

COLLABORATION - Cargill Cattle Feeders, the cattle supply arm of the company's U.S. beef business, has entered into an agreement with Wichita-based consultancy Kennedy and Coe, in a joint effort to create a verified beef supply chain sustainability assessment program for Cargill feed yards.As part of the collaboration, Kennedy and Coe will leverage its extensive beef-industry and sustainability expertise and ResourceMax™ assessment service developed by its Vela Environmental division.Based on the successful development of benchmarking and measurement criteria, this type of assessment could eventually be expanded to include cattle production in collaboration with stocker operators, ranchers, as well as with Cargill's strategic feed yard partners.

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