18 March 2009 | Martha McKenzie- Minifie
Developing sustainable operations is essential to providing a competitive advantage, according to food producers.
Of 40 key players in the global food supply chain surveyed by market intelligence company Aberdeen Group, 56 per cent ranked "the need for competitive advantage" as the top business pressure driving their organisation to focus on sustainability initiatives.
Other big influences were corporate responsibility, the rising cost of energy and fuel, customer pressure and the need to meet reduction targets for carbon, water, waste or packaging.
Just more than half - or 54 per cent -had adopted a sustainable sourcing and procurement policy, while a further 22 per cent planned to.
The study said product recalls and lawsuits meant the global food supply chain was under unprecedented scrutiny.
It claimed the viability and success of food and beverage businesses were inextricably linked to social and environmental stewardship.
"Top performing companies have shown that, far from being a 'nice to
have,' sustainability initiatives are overwhelmingly about securing the sustainability of the business itself," the report said.