The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers

The Sustainable Food Lab is happy to announce the publication of The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers, Investigating the Business of a Productive, Resilient and Low Emission Future.  This book is a collection of research focusing on climate-smart agriculture and includes authors from over 30 institutions.  The material covers conversations around climate impacts, climate-smart varieties, farm management, supply and value chain risk reduction and scaling of climate risks reduction strategies.

Chapter 19, One Size Does Not Fit All: Private-Sector Perspectives on Climate Change, Agriculture and Adaptation, was co written by SFL’s Kealy Sloan and

The Sustainable Food Lab is happy to announce the publication of The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers, Investigating the Business of a Productive, Resilient and Low Emission Future.  This book is a collection of research focusing on climate-smart agriculture and includes authors from over 30 institutions.  The material covers conversations around climate impacts, climate-smart varieties, farm management, supply and value chain risk reduction and scaling of climate risks reduction strategies.

Chapter 19, One Size Does Not Fit All: Private-Sector Perspectives on Climate Change, Agriculture and Adaptation, was co written by SFL’s Kealy Sloan and Stephanie Daniels.  The chapter focuses on how private-sector actors from different parts of the supply chain view, understand, and engage with climate change and the promotion of climate-smart agriculture practices.  The chapter draws directly from 42 private sector interviews with firms working in coffee, cocoa and other commodity crops.  Findings indicate that:

“Many food and beverage companies already support action on climate change, at least in general terms. Most, however, say that they need more guidance on climate risks and CSA solutions, in order to deepen and scale their engagement”

The chapter recommends the following efforts to encourage private supply chain actors involvement in climate-smart agriculture : (i) offering granular, subnational-level climate-risk data that will allow companies to integrate CSA into their broader risk-management strategies; (ii) providing CSA information and resources that are tailored to companies’ specific position within the supply- chain; and (iii) emphasizing the business case for CSA to make CSA uptake viable for companies that are held accountable to revenue goals.

A full copy of The Climate-Smart Agriculture Papers can be downloaded here.

A Green New Deal for global agriculture could accomplish carbon neutrality

In a recent THE WEEK article Ryan Cooper argues that, “A Green New Deal for cars would be easier than you think.”

Electric cars and buses are now cost-competitive, and they are getting cheaper and better every month. Cooper says that “China has been building them like crazy.” Much of the technology and infrastructure already exists, but to get the job done fast, government needs to heavily subsidize electric vehicles and/or tax gas and diesel ones, just like Norway.

For agriculture a focus on soil carbon pulls planet-warming gases out

In a recent THE WEEK article Ryan Cooper argues that, “A Green New Deal for cars would be easier than you think.”

Electric cars and buses are now cost-competitive, and they are getting cheaper and better every month. Cooper says that “China has been building them like crazy.” Much of the technology and infrastructure already exists, but to get the job done fast, government needs to heavily subsidize electric vehicles and/or tax gas and diesel ones, just like Norway.

For agriculture a focus on soil carbon pulls planet-warming gases out of the atmosphere while also reducing the need for fertilizer and providing other ecological benefits. Farmers could implement a win-win set of measures, if they receive the incentives. Farmers and food companies could be heroes on climate.

This is a big deal. Only rapid societal reorganization will keep global temperatures within the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold that is the conservative safety-conscious goal.

The agriculture system would need to focus on building soil organic matter as a centerpiece, along with energy efficiencies and preserving forests and grasslands. Farming would NOT need to shift to only small organic farms, and consumers would NOT need to quit eating meat. Farmers would only need to do what many already want to do. Iowa farmer Jeremy Gustafson reduced his GHG emissions to two-thirds of the state average by using an oats and legume cover crop between corn and soybeans, but he told a recent group of food company representatives that he couldn’t afford to take the risk on all his acreage. Just as with transportation, a widescale shift to soil-building practices will require public investment in transition costs and market pull for rotation crops.

Companies can play a role, beginning with ambitious goals for their own supply chains and partnering with one another and government to achieve those goals. Unfortunately, most companies focus ONLY on their own supply chains and ONLY on pushing practices for those specific crops. That’s not enough. Farmers don’t produce single crops; they produce multiple products, and shifts in farming systems require incentives for whole farming systems. Agriculture faces a leadership vacuum at the level of impacts of the whole system.

Think of the US Midwest Corn Belt, or the grain belts in Argentina, Ukraine or Australia. All of these systems are highly productive and efficient within the metrics of an old paradigm: production per cost of inputs with relatively predictable weather. To produce good yields into the future, farmers are now going to need soils that hold more moisture and fertility. Higher temperatures and volatile rainfall are unavoidable.

Fortunately, weather resilient farming is also ecologically beneficial. For example, when soils contain more organic matter from complex rotations, farmers need to apply less fertilizer, and water quality improves. Also, because high-organic-matter soil holds more water, less irrigation in dry regions leads to healthier aquifers and less energy needed for pumping water.

Who are the leaders to analyze and adjust the whole system? Even if some corporate VPs have carbon sequestration in scope of their jobs, they only focus on their own raw materials. Who focuses on the whole Corn Belt or all of the wheat/barley/canola rotation of New South Wales? Those systems desperately need soil building rotations. Period. Simple as that. We know the best varieties of cover crops, small grains and legumes. We know what sort of technical assistance and peer learning best support farmers. We know that farmers can’t bear the costs and risks alone. We don’t yet have leadership with enough influence to pull together the necessary market and public incentives for farmers to shift.

That’s the leadership charge. The clock is ticking. Companies and government are both needed.

Collaboration on climate change is not a new idea. France and Australia have made public commitments. Many companies have their own commitments. Key players at the World Economic Forum and the COP gatherings have developed coalitions.

Agriculture is still marginal in these fora, although interest is growing. California and France have launched a Global Soil Heath Challenge, and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has a Global Soil Partnership.

The moment is ripe for more cross-sector commitments to keep and build carbon in soil, trees and grasslands while supporting the viability of farming. This would be a Green New Deal for agriculture, operationalized in each key farming system around the world. We know how. We need courageous leadership to get it done.

-This reflection was written in collaboration by the SFL team.

Sustainable Food Lab

Sustainable Food LabInvesting in Youth in Coffee Growing CommunitiesLiving Income Community of Practice Wraps up 2018Open Source Soil Health Communications ToolkitLiving Income WebinarSmall Grains in the Corn Belt NewsletterCool Farm Water Tool Methodology is now PublishedNext Stop for Impact Lab Fellows: How Managed Markets Might Enable Farmers to make Sustainability InvestmentsBusiness Action on Supply Chain Food Loss & WasteThe Three Barriers to Business Sustainability – and how to get through themReport Release on Ghana Living Income Benchmark

https://sustainablefoodlab.org Accelerating progress toward a more sustainable food system Wed, 19 Dec 2018 13:37:43

Sustainable Food LabInvesting in Youth in Coffee Growing CommunitiesLiving Income Community of Practice Wraps up 2018Open Source Soil Health Communications ToolkitLiving Income WebinarSmall Grains in the Corn Belt NewsletterCool Farm Water Tool Methodology is now PublishedNext Stop for Impact Lab Fellows: How Managed Markets Might Enable Farmers to make Sustainability InvestmentsBusiness Action on Supply Chain Food Loss & WasteThe Three Barriers to Business Sustainability – and how to get through themReport Release on Ghana Living Income Benchmark

https://sustainablefoodlab.org Accelerating progress toward a more sustainable food system Wed, 19 Dec 2018 13:37:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/investing-in-youth-in-coffee-growing-communities/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/investing-in-youth-in-coffee-growing-communities/#respond Wed, 19 Dec 2018 13:37:43 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=6008

In collaboration with partners Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE), we are happy to share a new report, Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities, a review of current programs and practices in Latin America.

“If coffee is to be sustained as a crop that delivers well-being to communities in the generations to come, it must offer a promising future for youth in coffee growing countries.”

Our research showed that across the coffee sector all actors understand the importance of engaging with young adults in producer communities and investing in their ability to act as key agents of change. However, there is a clear need to move coffee farming from an obligatory last resort, to an attractive option for young people.  In this study HRNS, SAFE and SFL, review a selection of initiatives that are working to engage youth in coffee communities in Latin America. The report draws out examples of good practices and proposes some opportunities for future collaboration across the sector to better understand the needs of young people and help shape coffee farming as a viable career and a driver of community welfare.

The report is available for download here and a full resolution report is available via email.

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/investing-in-youth-in-coffee-growing-communities/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/living-income-community-of-practice-wraps-up-2018/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/living-income-community-of-practice-wraps-up-2018/#respond Tue, 11 Dec 2018 20:42:00 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=6003

The Sustainable Food Lab, GIZ and the ISEAL Alliance founded and co-host the Living Income Community of Practice, which is dedicated to the vision of thriving, economically stable, rural communities linked to global food and agricultural supply chains. The goal of the community is to support activities focused on improving smallholder incomes towards living incomes, aiming to enable smallholder farmers to achieve a decent standard of living.  As a community, our hope is to provide useful methods and guidance on measuring and reporting existing and living incomes and help identify and discuss strategies to take action that can contribute to closing income gaps. 

 

Throughout the last year the Community of Practice has provided a number of new reports, tools and webinars.  As 2018, comes to a close we encourage you to review some of our new work on the Living Income Website or watch previous webinars.  This year we’ve held 6 webinars around topics like the role of sustainability, pricing, financial interventions and data collection.  Webinars from 2018 include commodities like cotton, cocoa, coffee, and flowers, spanning from research in countries like Indonesia, Cote d’Iviore and Colombia.  A full list of webinars from 2018 and previous years, can be viewed here.

 

If you’d like to learn more about living income feel free to contact Stephanie Daniels or we encourage you to take a look at the Living Income Website.

We’d like to thank our facilitating partners and members for a great 2018.  In February be on the lookout for a recap of our Living Income Community of Practice Annual Workshop.

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/living-income-community-of-practice-wraps-up-2018/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/open-source-soils-health-communications-toolkit/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/open-source-soils-health-communications-toolkit/#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2018 13:10:55 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5951

In honor of World Soil Day, the Food Lab has created a soil health communications toolkit to help our partners talk to the business relevance of soil health. The toolkit includes:

  • An open source slide deck that connects the importance of soil health to business, identifies best practices and showcases private sector actions. The deck is usable by anyone to manipulate and adapt to fit your needs. Pull slides that are relevant to you and your audience, change colors to align with your brand, and share freely! Supporting information and statistics relevant to each slide are included in the notes sections for reference in discussions.
  • Supporting appendix slide deck with a bit more detail for those interested in digging in and a list of resources.
  • A compilation of soil health fact sheets from NRCS, FAO as well as infographics.
  • Short animated videos that simplify the critical role soil health plays in agriculture and outline best practice solutions. Watch animated videos: Leaky System and Sources & Sinks.

Have questions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Carol Healy, [email protected]

#HealthySoilsMatter

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/open-source-soils-health-communications-toolkit/feed/ 3 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/living-income-webinar/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/living-income-webinar/#respond Mon, 03 Dec 2018 19:27:46 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5992

As a member of the Living Income Community of Practice, SFL is excited to announce that our last Living Income Webinar of the year is taking place this week. Don’t miss the webinar:

Pricing Mechanisms in the Cocoa Sector: Options to Reduce Price Volatility and Promote Farmer Value Capture

Taking place on Thursday, December 6th from 2 PM to 3 PM GMT.

About the Webinar:  Price volatility is a common challenge facing smallholder farmers in tropical commodities. Recent developments of a 40% drop in the price of cocoa in West Africa have highlighted how price volatility and extended periods of low prices can undermine the gains of supply chain programs. Jan Willem Molenaar will present findings from research done by Aidenvironment and Sustainable Food Lab on ‘Pricing mechanisms in the cocoa sector: options to reduce price volatility and promote farmer value capture’. He will share the models explored in the paper as well as the main conclusions and recommendations to move towards improved cross-sectoral price and supply management.  We will then focus in on one specific pricing mechanisms being used by Oikocredit and partners to train farmer organizations to manage price risk.  Hugo Villela from Oikocredit will share the pillars of their Price Risk Management  nitiative, and the learning on factors to enable farmer organizations to successfully implement PRM.

Register for the Webinar Here

If you missed one of the past webinars visit the Living Income Community of Practice website.

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/living-income-webinar/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/small-grains-in-the-corn-belt-newsletter/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/small-grains-in-the-corn-belt-newsletter/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 14:29:18 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5935

This month, Sustainable Food Lab launched a monthly Small Grains in the Corn Belt Initiative newsletter. In partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, the goal of this initiative is to establish the right conditions to make small grains work for farmers in the Midwest with the assumption that market demand is necessary to incentivize diversifying the current corn-soy rotation. The newsletters will share progress, highlight farmers impacted by the initiative, partner company involvement, and other relevant news. Check out the first issue here.
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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/small-grains-in-the-corn-belt-newsletter/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/cool-farm-water-tool-continues-to-impress/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/cool-farm-water-tool-continues-to-impress/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 19:07:51 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5912

Daniella Malin, Senior Program Director of Agriculture & Climate at SFL and Deputy General Managerof the Cool Farm Tool is the co-author of a new article, Cool Farm Tool Water: A global on-line tool to assess water use in crop production.  Published in the Journal of Cleaner Productionthe article introduces the methodology for the popular online tool which is fully integrated with the greenhouse and biodiversity tools.

The tool engages growers and stakeholders by identifying efficient water management practices.  As many of us know, the agricultural sector is water intensive and poses a danger to the world’s ground water resources. Evaluation of agricultural water consumption is crucial to managing overall water usage, and with the Cool Farm Tool, farmers and supply chains can assess their water demand, consumption and irrigation efficiency, using standard crop data and localized meteorological information.  Found online, the tool is a practical resource that can be accessed by farmers free of charge.

The full article can be found here

More information on the Water Tool can be found on Cool Farm Tool’s website found here

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/cool-farm-water-tool-continues-to-impress/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/next-stop-for-impact-lab-fellows-how-managed-markets-might-enable-farmers-to-make-sustainability-investments/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/next-stop-for-impact-lab-fellows-how-managed-markets-might-enable-farmers-to-make-sustainability-investments/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 18:44:42 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5907

The Impact Leadership Lab is a peer learning community of sustain ability and sourcing professionals in companies.

Their next adventure will be a June 2019 learning journey with dairy farm leaders in Quebec and the US, comparing these two very different market systems and results for farmer wellbeing as well as the abilities of farmers to invest in sustainability innovation.  We’ll be using dairy as a lens to analyze the keys to farmer engagement everywhere: from wheat and barley in Australia to cocoa and vanilla in different parts of Africa.

The group recently met at the Washington State farm where the Carnation brand originated. They each created clear Theories of Change for their work, and engagement strategy for internal and external stakeholders. After that gathering, here is what two people wrote:

The Impact Lab is just that, impactful. I am grateful for being in a pre-competitive environment with thought leaders who open your mind to new ways of approaching challenges.

—Tim Wahlquist, Global Sustainability Supply Chain Director, Costco

It is a worthwhile and enriching experience to invest in my leadership development by engaging with trusted practitioners who face many of the same challenges as I do. There is comfort in knowing that we encounter similar challenges, be they personal, organizational or systems-wide, and there is great opportunity and fulfillment in sound boarding these challenges with a collective and shared sense of purpose.

—Shauna Sadowski, Head of Sustainability, Natural & Organic Operating Unit at General Mills

Membership is open to others. If you’re interested, learn more here and contact Hal Hamilton

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/next-stop-for-impact-lab-fellows-how-managed-markets-might-enable-farmers-to-make-sustainability-investments/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/business-action-on-supply-chain-food-loss-waste/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/business-action-on-supply-chain-food-loss-waste/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2018 18:26:56 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5902

Global food companies have questions about food loss and waste; the Sustainable Food Lab and Wageningen University & Research want to help them get answers. Through a partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, we are engaging a number of companies to learn more about the potential for increasing efficiencies in smallholder supply chains by reducing food loss and waste. With a small number of companies, we are conducting pilots to test an approach to measuring loss in smallholder chains in order to understand the most effective ways to reducing loss and waste.

We recently engaged more than 40 multinational food companies – the world’s leading input providers, traders, processors, CPG companies, and retailers – in conversations to understand how they think about food loss and waste (FLW). Our dialogue with global food companies suggests some key questions around supply chain FLW that need answers:

  • When is measurement of FLW necessary? What does a lean approach to FLW assessment look like?
  • How can FLW reduction contribute to commercial and sustainability goals?
  • What lessons are companies learning about reducing FLW, particularly in smallholder value chains?

Our global conversation showed that we need smarter ways to engage on this important topic. The pilots being done by the Food Lab and Wageningen are designed to test a measurement protocol practically with leading multi-national food and beverage companies.

 

ACTION RESEARCH

The Food Lab and Wageningen University & Research learning pilots will help companies address FLW, targeting the hotspots in the supply chain where the issue is most significant. Pilots under way are with a number of different companies from retail to aggregators to processors in Nigeria and Kenya.

HIGHLIGHT: Olam | Rice | Nigeria

Olam recently introduced “Waste” as a new Material Area for the company. Alongside optimizing natural resource utilization, especially as biomass by-products are available in large quantities, and, by engaging actively in reducing operational waste applying a waste hierarchy to recover and re-use whenever possible, Olam is committed to minimize crop and product losses to improve food availability and reduce emissions globally.

Olam recognizes that rice is a large emitter of methane, yet, it is a critical food staple. See this recent press release from the company outlining recommendations to improve the sustainability of rice worldwide.

Olam sees the reduction of FLW as an opportunity to correct supply chain inefficiencies and put resources such as water and agri inputs to good use or at least to the use they were intended for: production for consumption. They also see FLW reduction as an opportunity for smallholder farmers to increase their return on investment, with the ability to sell larger volumes. Applying a measurement protocol developed in the context of the pilot on rice with Olam in Nigeria will give an indication of the losses that are occurring in their rice value chain which will later inform the solutions. It will also help develop key ways to make this measurement protocol scalable and credible.

See these slides about the pilot from Olam’s recent presentation at the WBCSD’s Annual General Meeting.

Learnings gathered from the Olam pilot and others will be presented in 2019 to advance our global understanding of this complex issue and share some of the simple and practical steps that can be taken to address it.

WHAT WE’VE ALREADY LEARNED

Most major food companies are committed to reducing FLW. They are committed through fora like Champions 12.3, the Consumer Goods Forum or the Global Agribusiness Alliance and are making great strides in their own operations via public commitments to zero waste or very significant reductions.  Companies with smallholder farmers in their supply chains have less visibility over the losses that are  occurring in these chains and would like to know how to engage meaningfully.

Major food companies are also committed to sustainability. While the nature of their strategy depends on the company’s positioning in the value chain and their level of ambition, the cornerstones are environmental, social and economic. These cornerstones are an entry point into useful conversations about FLW and how addressing inefficiencies can help a company make progress towards broader sustainability goals.

Most major food companies are working hard to measure and report on their sustainability strategy.  Companies are tracking activities that relate to their strategic agenda, in accordance with industry-specific standards. Some are measuring their business footprint, while others focus on improving nutrition in their supply chain or boosting producer income.

When companies see FLW reductions contributing to publicly shared targets and commitments, such as the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, it will make business-sense to act on FLW to achieve wider goals.

CONTACT:

Emily Shipman

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/business-action-on-supply-chain-food-loss-waste/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/the-3-barriers-to-business-sustainability/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/the-3-barriers-to-business-sustainability/#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 14:44:09 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5889

Written by Hal Hamilton

Sustainability in the business world always begins with quick wins. We increase efficiency with energy, water and fertilizer, for example. Those innovations save money and so are able to scale naturally.  Then it gets harder.

Beyond the early steps we face three barriers:

  1. Organizational resistance
  2. Systemic resistance
  3. Internal resistance.

To get through them, we have to learn:

  1. Pragmatism with a dose of inspiration, in the face of organizational resistance;
  2. Purpose in the face of systemic resistance; and
  3. Presence in the face of our own internal resistance.

First, let’s review the barriers.

Organizational resistance. Big wins on sustainability require new organizational goals, but organizations always push back on realignment. We hear from colleagues and bosses: It’s not my job. It’s not our job. There’s not enough time or money. Sustainability is too slow, with few easy wins. Customers don’t want sustainability enough to pay for it. If we can’t source a commodity in one place anymore, we’ll find it somewhere else.

Systemic resistance. The larger system reinforces organizational resistance: Businesses must grow or die; growth is measured in dollars this year, this quarter. Growth in market share requires adding value or cutting costs, short-term.Although business leaders increasingly see climate change or chronic poverty as risks, and many do create piece-meal programs they can communicate publicly, almost no resources are devoted to strategies that would actually solve the problems.

Internal resistance: We face internal resistance too. We remind ourselves: I need to attend to my career first. I don’t want to be the bleeding heart among practical people whom I like and upon whom my career depends.

So, what does one do, in the face of these barriers?

Pragmatism, with a dose of inspiration, is the antidote to organizational resistance. Don’t get pegged as the bleeding heart. Similarly, don’t get pegged as the anti-bleeding-heart. Create clear theories of change with crisp rationale for what you’re doing, even while looking for the inspirational openings for your colleagues. Create pilots that can deliver both business value AND inspiration.

In one Sustainable Food Lab project with Mars Petcare, we’re working on the sustainability of wheat production in Australia. Soil health is at the heart of the project, initiated by a grain buyer who worried about future supply of grains in Asia as temperatures rise. Over time, one of the key players in the company found inspiration in the fact that “my company really cares about farmers.” When she faced resistance from a key supplier, who said that their job was to buy grain, not to work on soil quality, she thought for a moment and said very clearly that all partners in the supply chain needed to get behind the long-term well-being of farmers in the region. She had become convinced that farmers needed support to adapt to a changing climate, and this adaptation was good for her company too.

Purpose is the antidote to systemic resistance. The energy of business can generate harmful results when places or people are sacrificed to shareholder wealth, but this same energy can be harnessed to public purposes. There’s nothing intrinsically good or evil about a relentless drive to generate value in the marketplace. Problems arise when people leave their values at home when they go to work because they don’t see opportunities to advance if they think and act for goals that are broader than profit seeking. Our collective challenge is to align the power of business innovation with the purpose of sustaining the earth and community.

When Dolf van der Brink, then CEO of Heineken Mexico, created a workshop for his senior management team to articulate their individual purposes in life, creativity blossomed in the business. The leadership team for Tecate, a beer brand associated with machismo, decided to take on the issue of gender violence in Mexican culture. They courageously told their customers that if men were violent with the women in their lives, these men were not welcome as customers. One commercial was extremely powerful and went viral on social media. The issue of gender violence became a hot topic. In this case individual purpose fueled corporate purpose and created societal momentum to solve a major problem. Senior managers held their breath to see how the commercial would affect sales, and sales rose. Similarly, when Unilever assessed the business impacts of such initiatives, their “brands with purpose” outperformed other brands by thirty percent.

In Heineken Mexico, the CEO created an environment within which people were encouraged to live their purpose (while also growing their brands). Most companies don’t have such CEOs, and many people are hesitant to step into a vulnerable unknown.

Presence is the antidote to internal resistance: I was just talking about dairy farmer income with a sustainability leader in a major company, and she replied with a bit of a shrug: “That’s important for the world but not for business.”

She and everyone in businesses needs to be ruthlessly pragmatic and deliver value. And, to be human, we also need to live our purpose. Therein lies the conundrum: to be successful and to be human. My suggestion is to practice presence, by which I mean ever growing awareness of your own aspirations, the inner hopes of others around you, and therefore the subtle openings to act on behalf of “the world.” You don’t have to quit being pragmatic. Presence is not preaching or advocating. Presence enables each of us to notice the gaps within which purpose emerges. These gaps occur in conversation when we are curious. We notice what could happen if thoughts and feelings connect in new ways. If we are present to others, both where they are now, and how they might shift with some new information and inspiration, positive change can become embedded in organizational culture.

Our work is personal at its essence. One of my long-time colleagues has patiently brought sustainability into the corporate culture of Costco, building upon an historic social commitment to their own workers. More than a dozen years ago, she created a pilot for vegetables from small farmers in the Guatemala highlands, during which a senior executive remarked that he would be able to take home stories of his work that his children would be proud of. Even relatively small examples of success can sometimes spark a shift in goals, targets, and habits of thought. Pilots are sometimes ephemeral, of course. They can dissipate if key people never come to “own” their importance to the organization. Our job is to cultivate that ownership in others, and the pride that comes from serving purpose.

The journey is pioneering and difficult, with barriers from inside organizations, the larger system driven by short-term financial competition, and our own internal hesitations. The pathway through barriers to sustainability requires skills like those of a Jedi master: pragmatism, purpose and presence.

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/the-3-barriers-to-business-sustainability/feed/ 0 https://sustainablefoodlab.org/report-release-on-ghana-living-income-benchmark/ https://sustainablefoodlab.org/report-release-on-ghana-living-income-benchmark/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 17:03:46 +0000

https://sustainablefoodlab.org/?p=5859

The Living Income Community of Practice, of which the Food Lab is a founding partner, released a report on the Ghana Living Income Benchmark & Analysis of Income Gaps for Cocoa Growing Regions. The study outlines a roadmap to achieve living incomes for cocoa farmers through a credible, third party analysis. Follow these links to the Benchmark Study and the Gap Analysis by the KIT Royal Tropical Institute that compares benchmarks with actual farmer incomes.

If we were to do it alone as a company, it may not be seen as credible to external partners,” says Ywe Franken, Cargill cocoa sustainability expert. “It will help us track progress for the farmers we work with.”  

In July, Stephanie Daniels, Senior Program Director of Agriculture and Development, facilitated a workshop with the leaders of Ghana’s cocoa sector and global chocolate industry to present the initial findings and receive feedback before the report’s release.

The Living Income Community of Practice is an alliance of partners dedicated to the vision of thriving, economically stable, rural communities linked to global food and agricultural supply chains. The goal of this community is to support activities focused on improving smallholder incomes towards living incomes, aiming to enable smallholder farmers to achieve a decent standard of living.  This community is a result of a partnership between the the Food LabGIZ and the ISEAL Alliance.

The benchmark study was funded by Cargill, Fairtrade International, GIZ, Lindt Cocoa Foundation, Mars and Rainforest Alliance UTZ sector Partnerships Programme.

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https://sustainablefoodlab.org/report-release-on-ghana-living-income-benchmark/feed/ 0

Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities

In collaboration with partners Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE), we are happy to share a new report, Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities, a review of current programs and practices in Latin America.

“If coffee is to be sustained as a crop that delivers well-being to communities in the generations to come, it must offer a promising future for youth in coffee growing countries.”

Our research showed that across the coffee sector all actors understand the importance of engaging with young adults in producer communities

In collaboration with partners Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Environment (SAFE), we are happy to share a new report, Investing in Youth in Coffee Growing Communities, a review of current programs and practices in Latin America.

“If coffee is to be sustained as a crop that delivers well-being to communities in the generations to come, it must offer a promising future for youth in coffee growing countries.”

Our research showed that across the coffee sector all actors understand the importance of engaging with young adults in producer communities and investing in their ability to act as key agents of change. However, there is a clear need to move coffee farming from an obligatory last resort, to an attractive option for young people.  In this study HRNS, SAFE and SFL, review a selection of initiatives that are working to engage youth in coffee communities in Latin America. The report draws out examples of good practices and proposes some opportunities for future collaboration across the sector to better understand the needs of young people and help shape coffee farming as a viable career and a driver of community welfare.

The report is available for download here and a full resolution report is available via email.

Living Income Community of Practice Wraps up 2018

The Sustainable Food Lab, GIZ and the ISEAL Alliance founded and co-host the Living Income Community of Practice, which is dedicated to the vision of thriving, economically stable, rural communities linked to global food and agricultural supply chains. The goal of the community is to support activities focused on improving smallholder incomes towards living incomes, aiming to enable smallholder farmers to achieve a decent standard of living.  As a community, our hope is to provide useful methods and guidance on measuring and reporting existing and living incomes and help identify

The Sustainable Food Lab, GIZ and the ISEAL Alliance founded and co-host the Living Income Community of Practice, which is dedicated to the vision of thriving, economically stable, rural communities linked to global food and agricultural supply chains. The goal of the community is to support activities focused on improving smallholder incomes towards living incomes, aiming to enable smallholder farmers to achieve a decent standard of living.  As a community, our hope is to provide useful methods and guidance on measuring and reporting existing and living incomes and help identify and discuss strategies to take action that can contribute to closing income gaps. 

 

Throughout the last year the Community of Practice has provided a number of new reports, tools and webinars.  As 2018, comes to a close we encourage you to review some of our new work on the Living Income Website or watch previous webinars.  This year we’ve held 6 webinars around topics like the role of sustainability, pricing, financial interventions and data collection.  Webinars from 2018 include commodities like cotton, cocoa, coffee, and flowers, spanning from research in countries like Indonesia, Cote d’Iviore and Colombia.  A full list of webinars from 2018 and previous years, can be viewed here.

 

If you’d like to learn more about living income feel free to contact Stephanie Daniels or we encourage you to take a look at the Living Income Website.

We’d like to thank our facilitating partners and members for a great 2018.  In February be on the lookout for a recap of our Living Income Community of Practice Annual Workshop.

Open Source Soil Health Communications Toolkit

In honor of World Soil Day, the Food Lab has created a soil health communications toolkit to help our partners talk to the business relevance of soil health. The toolkit includes:

An open source slide deck that connects the importance of soil health to business, identifies best practices and showcases private sector actions. The deck is usable by anyone to manipulate and adapt to fit your needs. Pull slides that are relevant to you and your audience, change colors to align with your brand, and share freely! Supporting information and statistics

In honor of World Soil Day, the Food Lab has created a soil health communications toolkit to help our partners talk to the business relevance of soil health. The toolkit includes:

  • An open source slide deck that connects the importance of soil health to business, identifies best practices and showcases private sector actions. The deck is usable by anyone to manipulate and adapt to fit your needs. Pull slides that are relevant to you and your audience, change colors to align with your brand, and share freely! Supporting information and statistics relevant to each slide are included in the notes sections for reference in discussions.
  • Supporting appendix slide deck with a bit more detail for those interested in digging in and a list of resources.
  • A compilation of soil health fact sheets from NRCS, FAO as well as infographics.
  • Short animated videos that simplify the critical role soil health plays in agriculture and outline best practice solutions. Watch animated videos: Leaky System and Sources & Sinks.

Have questions or feedback? We’d love to hear from you! Contact Carol Healy, [email protected]

#HealthySoilsMatter

Living Income Webinar

As a member of the Living Income Community of Practice, SFL is excited to announce that our last Living Income Webinar of the year is taking place this week. Don’t miss the webinar:

Pricing Mechanisms in the Cocoa Sector: Options to Reduce Price Volatility and Promote Farmer Value Capture

Taking place on Thursday, December 6th from 2 PM to 3 PM GMT.

About the Webinar:  Price volatility is a common challenge facing smallholder farmers in tropical commodities. Recent developments of a 40% drop in the price of cocoa in West Africa have

As a member of the Living Income Community of Practice, SFL is excited to announce that our last Living Income Webinar of the year is taking place this week. Don’t miss the webinar:

Pricing Mechanisms in the Cocoa Sector: Options to Reduce Price Volatility and Promote Farmer Value Capture

Taking place on Thursday, December 6th from 2 PM to 3 PM GMT.

About the Webinar:  Price volatility is a common challenge facing smallholder farmers in tropical commodities. Recent developments of a 40% drop in the price of cocoa in West Africa have highlighted how price volatility and extended periods of low prices can undermine the gains of supply chain programs. Jan Willem Molenaar will present findings from research done by Aidenvironment and Sustainable Food Lab on ‘Pricing mechanisms in the cocoa sector: options to reduce price volatility and promote farmer value capture’. He will share the models explored in the paper as well as the main conclusions and recommendations to move towards improved cross-sectoral price and supply management.  We will then focus in on one specific pricing mechanisms being used by Oikocredit and partners to train farmer organizations to manage price risk.  Hugo Villela from Oikocredit will share the pillars of their Price Risk Management  nitiative, and the learning on factors to enable farmer organizations to successfully implement PRM.

Register for the Webinar Here

If you missed one of the past webinars visit the Living Income Community of Practice website.

Small Grains in the Corn Belt Newsletter

This month, Sustainable Food Lab launched a monthly Small Grains in the Corn Belt Initiative newsletter. In partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, the goal of this initiative is to establish the right conditions to make small grains work for farmers in the Midwest with the assumption that market demand is necessary to incentivize diversifying the current corn-soy rotation. The newsletters will share progress, highlight farmers impacted by the initiative, partner company involvement, and other relevant news. Check out the first issue here.

This month, Sustainable Food Lab launched a monthly Small Grains in the Corn Belt Initiative newsletter. In partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa, the goal of this initiative is to establish the right conditions to make small grains work for farmers in the Midwest with the assumption that market demand is necessary to incentivize diversifying the current corn-soy rotation. The newsletters will share progress, highlight farmers impacted by the initiative, partner company involvement, and other relevant news. Check out the first issue here.

Cool Farm Water Tool Methodology is now Published

Daniella Malin, Senior Program Director of Agriculture & Climate at SFL and Deputy General Managerof the Cool Farm Tool is the co-author of a new article, Cool Farm Tool Water: A global on-line tool to assess water use in crop production.  Published in the Journal of Cleaner Productionthe article introduces the methodology for the popular online tool which is fully integrated with the greenhouse and biodiversity tools.

The tool engages growers and stakeholders by identifying efficient water management practices.  As many of us know, the agricultural sector is water intensive

Daniella Malin, Senior Program Director of Agriculture & Climate at SFL and Deputy General Managerof the Cool Farm Tool is the co-author of a new article, Cool Farm Tool Water: A global on-line tool to assess water use in crop production.  Published in the Journal of Cleaner Productionthe article introduces the methodology for the popular online tool which is fully integrated with the greenhouse and biodiversity tools.

The tool engages growers and stakeholders by identifying efficient water management practices.  As many of us know, the agricultural sector is water intensive and poses a danger to the world’s ground water resources. Evaluation of agricultural water consumption is crucial to managing overall water usage, and with the Cool Farm Tool, farmers and supply chains can assess their water demand, consumption and irrigation efficiency, using standard crop data and localized meteorological information.  Found online, the tool is a practical resource that can be accessed by farmers free of charge.

The full article can be found here

More information on the Water Tool can be found on Cool Farm Tool’s website found here