Conference Presentation: Measuring the Environmental Impact of Food Products

The Sustainable Foods Summit was held 1/18-1/19 in San Francisco, CA. Conference write up to come…recap from conference site below. (Update: See GreenBiz article I wrote on this conference & others).

I presented through my role at the Food Trade Sustainability Leadership Association. The presentation topic was “Measuring the Environmental Impact of Food Products.” You can download a PDF. Key aspects included:

* brief business case for sustainability performance measurement

* overview of key measurement frameworks

* Guidance for metrics selection, data collection and evaluation

* Highlights of FTSLA member reports: common metrics, outcomes and examples of public reports.

Enjoy. Comments welcome as always.

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Conference site summary:

The San Francisco summit comprised four key sessions…

Session One: Pioneering Sustainability Initiatives

The opening session looked at pioneering sustainability initiatives in the food industry. Methods of measuring the environmental impact of food products were explored, followed by emerging eco-labeling schemes, sustainability in foodservice, carbon measurement approaches and sustainability metrics . The potential of mitigating climate change by sustainable agriculture was explored. The morning session adjourned with a panel discussion on key sustainability indicators.

Session Two: Ethical Sourcing & Sustainable Ingredients

The second session focused on food ingredients, specifically ethical sourcing and sustainable ingredients. Key speakers looked at how ethical sourcing can reduce the environmental and social impacts of food products. Key speakers looked at how sourcing can influence biodiversity, social development and poverty eradication. Other papers covered sustainable sourcing of commodities and novel sustainable ingredients. The panel discussion debated the role of ethical sourcing in developing efficient supply chains.

Session Three: Marketing & Distribution Innovations

With marketing and distribution are widely regarded as key success factors for ethical food products, this session covered important developments. Case studies were given of companies who are successfully and legitimately meeting the ethical & environmental challenges. Key papers looked at developing sustainable supply chains, ethical trading and retailer private labels. Insights were given on how companies can develop winning sustainable communications strategies and consumer behavior towards sustainable food products. The panel discussion focused on approaches to green marketing without green washing.

Session Four: Organic Plus Strategies

Organic is the largest sector of the global eco-labeled food industry. However, some argue that organic does not always go far enough to meet the ecological and ethical needs of consumers and food companies. This session focused on pioneering sustainability initiatives of organic food companies. Papers covered the intertwining of organic and fair trade values, ecological packaging, traceability and other sustainability facets. The opening paper gave an update on the global market for organic food & drink, highlighting the major trends & developments and business opportunities in each region.

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