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NGOs Collaborate on Practitioner's Guide for Sustainable Sourcing of Agricultural Raw Materials

Seven global organizations are jointly launching today the world’s first practitioner’s guide to sustainable sourcing of agricultural raw materials. The guide is an open-source innovation tool that captures best practices and experiences from global corporations within a strategic, business logic-focused framework; the goal is to empower managers by providing a user-friendly, step-by-step roadmap to building and rolling out sustainable agriculture sourcing strategies effectively.

Climate change, increasing pressure on natural resources, and poverty and social inequity continue to affect crops and water supply globally, presenting a significant risk to the food and beverage industry as the world’s largest purchaser of agricultural raw materials. To ensure a secure supply, crops must be grown and sourced sustainably, taking full account of environmental, social and economic considerations. Doing this effectively calls for changes in managerial mindsets and specific knowledge and skillsets.

Sustainable Sourcing of Agricultural Raw Materials: A Practitioner’s Guide help companies convert these risks to business opportunities. It pools knowledge and resources, but collaborative outreach will also be an important part of assuring its impact.

Dr. Ernesto A. Brovelli, President of the SAI Platform and Senior Manager, Sustainable Agriculture with The Coca-Cola Company says: “This work reflects the spirit of the SAI Platform, one which aligns farmers and the food and beverage industry behind a common pursuit. Following a compelling narrative and clear examples, this publication is breaking ground in helping the reader navigate the path towards more sustainable sourcing.”

“No one stakeholder group can resolve these complex challenges on its own. Pooling knowledge and resources enables more radical innovation in food sourcing strategies," says Dr. Aileen Ionescu-Somers, IMD’s CSL Learning Platform Director and co-author of the guide with Dr. Reinier de Man. "The guide is thus a significant contribution to more sustainable food systems for future generations.”

Professor Francisco Szekely, IMD Sandoz Family Foundation Chair for Leadership & Sustainability says: “There is no 'one size fits all' recipe for achieving sustainable agriculture. However, the guide provides an ideal framework for managers on how to think, what to look for, and where to go for information. The main contribution is the questioning process that managers should go through to think strategically while making decisions.”

In related sustainable agriculture news, the Supply Chain Working Group of the Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) in January announced a draft voluntary “Organic Industry Code of Conduct” that organic businesses can use to provide guidance related to labor safeguards throughout their supply chain. Organic standards outline specific criteria for the growing and processing of organic agricultural products related to environmental safety, but do not currently include provisions guaranteeing strong labor safeguards.


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