We put the latest CSR moves under the microscope.
7 May 2013
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the division of the World Bank that lends to private corporations, is expanding its profile in the agribusiness sector. In the second part of this Sustainability Watch, Ben Cooper examines IFC lending through third parties.
30 April 2013
In this two-part Sustainability Watch, Ben Cooper looks at the lending activities of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the division of the World Bank that lends to private corporations, which is rapidly expanding its activities in the agribusiness sector.
3 April 2013
Hershey has become the latest major chocolate company to make a bold public commitment to sustainable cocoa. Andy McCormick, Hershey's vice president, cocoa sustainability, spoke with Ben Cooper about the company's 21st Century Cocoa Plan and its commitment to collective efforts to achieve a sustainable cocoa sector.
31 January 2013
For January's Sustainability Watch, Ben Cooper spoke with Tanya Barden of the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) about the organisation's new "sustainability commitment".
26 November 2012
It is often said that European companies are ahead of their US counterparts in how they view corporate sustainability, with the latter too narrowly focused on environmental impacts under their immediate control and failing to see the bigger picture. Ben Cooper found at this year's FMI/GMA Sustainability Summit that attitudes are changing.
18 October 2012
Information sharing and resources to help member companies make their businesses more sustainable feature prominently in the Food Marketing Institute's sustainability platform. At the recent FMI/GMA Sustainability Summit in Washington DC, FMI senior director of sustainability and industry relations Jeanne von Zastrow spoke with Ben Cooper about the organisation's approach and aims.
26 September 2012
An eventful summer, including fierce protests over milk prices, eclipsed Dairy Crest's publication of 40 corporate responsibility pledges. Ben Cooper speaks to the company's John O'Maoileoin about the UK company's initiatives, including its relationships with suppliers.
9 August 2012
In this month's Sustainability Watch, Dr Tom MacMillan, formerly director of the Food Ethics Council and now director of innovation at the Soil Association, speaks with Ben Cooper about the Soil Association's new strategy and the UK government's Green Food Project.
10 July 2012
As corporate executives, NGO leaders and government representatives count the carbon cost of their sojourn to Rio last month, Ben Cooper examines FoodDrinkEurope's Environmental Sustainability Vision Towards 2030, the organisation's third sustainability report, published to coincide with the Rio+20 conference and underline the European food sector's commitment to collective engagement on environmental sustainability.
28 June 2012
UK retailer Marks and Spencer has been marking the five-year anniversary of its Plan A sustainability strategy this month. Ben Cooper reflects on M&S's achievements and the impact Plan A has had on the wider market.
31 May 2012
The Swiss co-operative, Migros Group, comprises possibly the most diverse portfolio of companies imaginable. For the past five years, establishing a consistent approach to sustainability across this varied group of businesses has been the task of Cornelia Diethelm, head of issue management and sustainability. Here she discusses her role and the Migros sustainability strategy with Ben Cooper.
30 April 2012
Why do companies invest in sustainability? To save the planet? Not really. Jerry Lynch, chief sustainability officer at General Mills, sees sustainability as an "innovation challenge", while uniting environmental and cost-saving strategies ensures that the sustainability mission addresses both environmental and economic aspirations.
9 March 2012
As Fairtrade Fortnight draws to a close, Ben Cooper examines whether the advent of big business has transformed more than just Fairtrade's market share.
29 February 2012
The Grocery Manufacturers Association, which represents US food companies, has just published a report highlighting achievements in environmental sustainability by its members. Ben Cooper spoke with GMA sustainability director Meghan Stasz about the initiatives and the potential for further progress.
23 January 2012
In the first Sustainability Watch of 2012, Ben Cooper discusses Heinz's sustainability strategy with Brian Shuttleworth, the company's director of operational risk and sustainability, and looks at how Heinz's knack for creating catchy taglines is helping to communicate the sustainability message to consumers.
14 December 2011
Nestle's plan to partner with the Fair Labor Association in investigating the use of child labour in its cocoa supply chain could raise the bar in terms of corporate accountability regarding this long-running problem. Ben Cooper reports.
10 November 2011
Last month's Sustainability Watch featured comments by renowned food policy expert Professor Tim Lang casting doubt on the suitability of the supermarket distribution model for providing locally sourced food. In the second part of this Sustainability Watch, Ben Cooper discusses the local sourcing challenge with Bob Gordon, head of environment at the British Retail Consortium.
31 October 2011
In a two-part Sustainability Watch, Ben Cooper looks at what might be the most intractable of sustainability challenges for major food retailers.
30 September 2011
The news that Maltesers is to become a Fairtrade brand underlines both the continued growth in the ethical market and how this increasing consumer appeal has not been lost on marketers. Speaking with Ben Cooper, Mercedes Tallo of the Rainforest Alliance discusses the importance of partnering with big brands and argues that the huge growth in ethical certification reflects tangible improvements in supply chains rather than a desire on the part of brands to look good.
25 August 2011
Partnerships between industry and non-industry stakeholders should in theory represent the gold standard in terms of providing meaningful solutions to complex problems. But they are not immune from criticism. Ben Cooper met with Peter McAllister, executive director of the Ethical Trading Initiative, to discuss the challenges ahead and how ETI is evolving to meet them.