Sustainability was originally synonymous with being “green” – improving and protecting the environment. But today, consumers’ definitions can also include health and wellness, animal welfare, treatment of workers, food waste, packaging, impact on local and indigenous communities, and a range of additional issues that impact people, animals and the planet. In fact, The Center for Food Integrity identified more than 250 separate attributes of sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
As a result, a new and growing challenge is the focus on a single ingredient, process or practice without accounting for the potential impact on the entire food system. So how does the food system evaluate and communicate impacts and tradeoffs of individual decisions on the entire food system?
The Optimizing Sustainability framework is intended to give food system stakeholders tools and processes to evaluate the growing list of sustainability priorities to determine the impact of potential decisions – and allow them to make better-informed decisions aligned with their values and those of their stakeholders.
The framework includes three modules:
- Setting Sustainability Priorities
A guide to establishing priorities based on values and stakeholder interests – providing a framework in which to consider specific requests and take action.
- Evaluating Sustainability Tradeoffs
A guide for evaluating the potential impact of a recommended change in practice on a company’s supply chain.
- Responding to Sustainability Commitment Requests
A guide to navigating the process of engaging and responding to an organization asking for a change in practice in a company’s supply chain.