We put the latest CSR moves under the microscope.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was, in its early days, hailed as a model of inter-stakeholder collaboration but has faced mounting criticism as the years have gone by - not least in a stinging letter from a number of food companies last summer. The organisation has a new set of criteria - RSPO Next - that it says strengthen standards. But, as Ben Cooper reports, the new benchmarks have attracted disapproval.
In recent months, a series of major companies in the US have announced they will switch to cage-free eggs - but how interested are consumers? Ben Cooper reports.
Smithfield Foods, the US meat group, has set out a new tranche of goals on sustainability, building on targets it laid out in 2010. Ben Cooper spoke with Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and sustainability, about the company's progress over the past five years and the launch of the new targets.
Reflecting not only the increasing emphasis food companies are placing on their agricultural supply chains but on supporting smallholder farmers specifically, Mars and Danone have jointly launched the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming. Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer and health & wellness officer at Mars, spoke with Ben Cooper about the initiative and the positive impact the founding companies hope it will bring.
Last year was record-breaking for the UTZ sustainable farming programme and certification scheme. Being able to provide companies with a scalable way to source certified sustainable commodities has been critical to its progress, as UTZ markets director Daan de Vries explained to Ben Cooper.
Campaigners have welcomed McDonald's announcement on antibiotic use in chickens but are concerned that the move is confined to the US. Ben Cooper discusses whether the fast-food operator's decision could spur more action on both sides of the Atlantic.
The degree to which structural factors are inhibiting food companies from making faster progress on using recycled material in packaging and other aspects of sustainable packaging has been highlighted in a new report published by campaign groups As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Ben Cooper reports.
In the first Sustainability Watch of 2015, Dave Stangis, vice president of public affairs and CSR at Campbell Soup Co., speaks with Ben Cooper about the company's approach to sustainability and the recognition it has brought.
Large publicly-owned multinationals, such as Unilever and PepsiCo, are widely praised for showing leadership in corporate sustainability. In this month's Sustainability Watch, Roberto Ciati, sustainability director at Italian pasta, sauces and baked goods group Barilla, discusses how private, family ownership can inform a progressive approach to sustainability.
WhiteWave Foods, the US-based organic and natural foods specialist, was spun off from dairy giant Dean Foods last year. Deanna Bratter, senior manager of corporate sustainability at WhiteWave, spoke with Ben Cooper about the company's approach to sustainability as an independent operation.
An initiative launched under the auspices of President Obama's Climate Action Plan will see the government foster a major expansion of biogas use. Ben Cooper looks at the implications of the US government's Biogas Opportunities Roadmap for US food manufacturers.
Gaining Ground, a report produced by sustainability thinktank Ceres and investment analysts Sustainalytics, compares the performance of 613 US companies and looks at comparative performance across different sectors. Ben Cooper asked Andrea Moffat, vice president of the corporate programme at Ceres and author of the report, how the food and beverage sector is faring.
Among all the sustainability issues food companies are addressing, agricultural supply chains are month by month becoming an ever more predominant focus. In his fiftieth Sustainability Watch feature, Ben Cooper reflects on why.
The cocoa sector has arguably spawned more than its fair share of sustainability initiatives and programmes. Ben Cooper asks Bill Guyton, president of the World Cocoa Foundation, what sets the recently-launched CocoaAction, a plan aimed at "building a rejuvenated and economically viable cocoa sector", apart from what has gone before.
For those with an interest in the issue of climate change - and in truth that's approximately 7bn people - 2014 is an extremely significant year.
- How Hormel Foods can benefit from Justin's
- Colian hungry for international growth - interview
- How discounters unsettling Australia's food sector
- The balancing act at Amy's Kitchen - interview
- Tackling infant formula fraud in China
- US food labels to include "added sugars" info
- General Mills invests in another US SME
- ConAgra focusing on core with Spicetec sale
- Kraft Heinz to expand US plant
- ABP Food Group names COO Frank Stephenson new CEO