Sustainability Watch

Sustainability Watch

We put the latest CSR moves under the microscope.



Wal-Mart aims to drive supplier progress on emissions with Project Gigaton - analysis 4 May 2017

Wal-Mart Stores has launched Project Gigaton, an initiative which sees the retailer task food manufacturers to reduce carbon emissions with the aim of cutting emissions in its supply chain by 1 gigaton by 2030. Ben Cooper looks at the move.


What could the chocolate industry's plan to end deforestation look like? - analysis 23 Mar 2017

Twelve chocolate and cocoa companies, including Nestle, Mondelez International, Hershey last week announced plans to work together to "end deforestation and forest degradation in the global cocoa supply chain", focusing initially on Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Ben Cooper speaks to industry and campaign representatives to set out what that plan could look like.


How PepsiCo is taking action on palm oil – interview  13 Sep 2016

Today (13 September), PepsiCo publishes the first update on its "palm oil action plan". Ben Cooper spoke with Andrew Aulisi, senior director for global environmental policy at PepsiCo, about the progress to date and how the company's initial actions and achievements are likely to be received by environmental campaigners.


Round Table on Responsible Soy looking for systemic solutions to drive progress - interview 26 May 2016

In its bid to transform Europe into a "100% responsible soy" market by 2020, the Round Table on Responsible Soy has enlisted the help of Swiss-based management consultants Malik. Ben Cooper spoke with Lieven Callewaert, the RTRS’s European representative, to find out more.


Does competition hinder co-operation on sustainability? 6 Apr 2016

Major corporations have joined with market researchers to form Paragon Partnerships which aims create an open-access information hub to support actions addressing the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Ben Cooper examines the aims behind the Unilever-led initiative and asks where companies draw the line between sharing sustainability information for the greater good and retaining insights that might offer competitive advantage.


RSPO Next - What has been the reaction to the new palm oil standards? 23 Feb 2016

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.


How concerned are US consumers about cage-free eggs? 28 Jan 2016

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.


PepsiCo outlines progress on sustainability - interview 2 Dec 2015

Assessing how sustainability fits within a business throws up a multitude of questions but three seem definitive. Is sustainability embedded throughout your company and enshrined in your strategy - and what do investors really think? Ben Cooper sought out one of the food industry's early movers, PepsiCo, for answers.


Mondelez sets out thinking behind new sustainability goals 30 Oct 2015

Mondelez International has laid out how it plans to "accelerate" efforts to reduce the group's impact on the environment, setting new sustainability goals for 2020. Ben Cooper spoke to Jonathan Horrell, the snacks giant's global director of sustainability, to discuss the targets.


How Thai Union wants to be sustainability "leader" 28 Sep 2015

When unveiling its new name and corporate identity last week, seafood giant Thai Union Group placed sustainability at the heart of its agenda. Following her appointment as the company's group director of sustainable development, Dr Darian McBain spoke with Ben Cooper about Thai Union's approach to sustainability and aspirations for the future.


Sustainability Watch - Smithfield Foods on new targets 11 Aug 2015

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.


Sustainability Watch: Mars aims to support farmers with new fund 19 Jun 2015

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.


Sustainability Watch: UTZ explains why scale key to progress 13 May 2015

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.


Sustainability Watch: McDonald's antibiotics move could be seminal moment 19 Mar 2015

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.


Sustainability Watch: The US packaging challenge 26 Feb 2015

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.


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