Sustainability Meat producers are lagging behind
This new report from the US-based sustainability advocacy organisation has praised some of the biggest packaged food operators for acknowledging and acting on water resource risks but meat producers seem to be lagging some way behind.
The report ranks the 40 largest global food companies based on their management of water risks in their operations and agricultural supply chains.
- Of the 35 publicly traded companies evaluated, 77% now specifically mention water as a risk factor in their financial filings, up from 59% in 2017.
- Despite this growing awareness, effective management of water risk still lags, with an average overall company score of 38 out of 100. Meat companies, which are particularly vulnerable to water risks, also continue to do the least to manage them.
- Food companies can make their supply chains more resilient by supporting sustainable farming practices in the watersheds where their most significant commodity inputs are sourced. Yet 37% still lack goals to source crops in ways which reduce impacts on water use and quality. Additionally, existing goals often lack clear definitions, implementation plans and measurements of progress.
- By supporting farmers’ transitions to more sustainable methods of production, companies can fortify their supply chains against the extremes in weather that are increasingly frequent due to climate change. Yet less than half of companies evaluated provide any form of financial support to growers to encourage adoption of more resilient agricultural practices such as efficient irrigation, low-till/no-till, cover-cropping, optimized fertilizer application or diverse rotations.