Food & Ag Sector – Sustainability is in Focus from Farm-to-Table As Companies Make Progress / Stakeholders Say “More”

Food & Ag Sector – Sustainability is in Focus from Farm-to-Table As Companies Make Progress / Stakeholders Say “More”

Hey, a Cuppa Joe – the morning treat for many people around the world.  That first hot cup of dark coffee can set the tone for us for the day. And when our spirits (and energy) may lag, the cuppa joe can perk us up again for a while at any time of day.  But – how many of us give thought to how that wonderful dark liquid arrived in our grocery stores, at the local Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts or other coffee counters?

The Ecologist took a close look at the business of coffee recently and their commentary (and report on the industry) is our Top Story for you this week. 

The writer set out characterizing the global coffee industry as one that has been mostly “unsustainable” but lately, major coffee producers have been working to create more sustainable business models.

Guest Writer Emily Folk explains:  the coffee industry spans countries and cultures, is centuries old, and from harvesting the beans through roasting to the final retail product, the industry is recognizing public expectations about some practices – and is undergoing changes.  She ventures that “people have begun to take note and hold companies accountable” – like Starbucks – and in response, major coffee companies are making promises to do better.  But are they keeping the promise? Doing enough?

Alas, there is a lack of progress to be reported, she says.  As well as some progress to cheer about.  Starbucks according to a news report in the UK runs water 24 hours a day in the production process.  Bad practice?  The company has also been selling reusable cups and installing recycling bins at every store.  Certainly good practices.

Should the buying public pressure brand name companies like Starbucks to do more?  The writer delves into that.

It would be good to recognize that progress is being made by growers through retail food marketing companies and to be thoughtful about what is next in that company’s (and other companies’) sustainability journeys.

The G&A Institute team has been working with food and agriculture companies on various issues over many years.  This is a sector (Food & Ag) rich in traditional practices and ripe for positive change as stakeholders and consumers present their expectations for the firms to be more sustainable – and accountable to society.  Every week in the newsletter we present Food & Ag news, commentary and research content for your consideration.  There are several items in this issue on the topics.

Top Stories

Making the coffee industry sustainable
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) 
Source: The Ecologist - Sustainability is increasingly important for implementation in businesses. One of the industries that has been unsustainable since its inception is coffee. However, some major coffee producers have been working to make a more...

This is also of interest:

ICO hosts sustainability workshop in Milan
(Friday - May 25, 2018) Source: Global Coffee Report - The International Coffee Organization (ICO) held a coffee sustainability workshop on 21 May as one of the highlights of the 1st Milano Coffee Festival – a new event in Italy focusing on coffee in all its forms and across the..

Sustainability in Focus at Retail

Restaurant operators double down on seafood sustainability
(Monday - May 21, 2018) Source: Nation's Restaurant News - According to the National Restaurant Association’s “The State of Restaurant Sustainability 2018” report, environmental sustainability is a top menu trend this year 

Stay Atop the Sustainability Trend
(Monday - May 21, 2018) Source: Convenience Store Decisions - From fleets to individual drivers, from companies to public organizations, the sustainability trend has taken hold and shows no sign of slowing down. Forward-thinking c-stores are already tapping into their customers’ desire to... 

Will Shoppers Ever Really Care About Sustainability?
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Source: - Sustainable fashion - a vision of clothing and accessories that don’t pollute the planet through greenhouse gas emissions, toxic chemicals, or waste — finally seems to have outgrown its hippie reputation and matured into a sexy... 

How sustainability messages break through with busy shoppers
(Friday - May 25, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - Every Sunday, I and seemingly every other resident in my city head to the local grocer to stock up for the week. The average shopper only needs 41 minutes to complete this task, but I am a packaging nerd, so I typically spend an...

NYC Will Consider Ban On Disposable Plastic Straws
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Source: Gothamist - Several American cities have already banned plastic straws, including Malibu, Seattle, and Miami Beach, and the idea has gained popularity internationally. 

75% fashion companies improve environmental performance
(Monday - May 21, 2018) Associated Profiles : Sustainable Apparel Coalition  Source: Fibre2Fashion 

Coca-Cola shares sustainability advice
(Monday - May 21, 2018) Source: FarmWeek

Trouble in Big Food: America's cereal, soda and soup companies are in turmoil
(Tuesday - May 22, 2018) Source: CNN

McDonald's workers allege widespread sexual misconduct
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) Source: ABC News 

Smithfield focuses on feed crop production in sustainability drive
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Source: Feed Navigator

Sustainability: Forward Momentum! For Your Attention: The Editors' Scans

How managers can become sustainability rockstars of the 21st century
(Monday - May 21, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - For a new innovation to address our sustainability challenge, it needs to be commercially viable. A sustainable technology that is not adopted contributes little to sustainability. Testing viability typically happens inside a...

Irish business leaders highlight sustainability in new initiative
(Tuesday - May 22, 2018) Source: AgriLand - The CEOs of a host of Irish companies officially launched ‘The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability’ last Friday. The group is a business coalition “dedicated to addressing the most pressing sustainability priorities – as well as... 

Cryptocurrency Regulation Is a Must for Long-Term Sustainability, Expert Says
(Tuesday - May 22, 2018) Source: The Street - Although it at times looks nebulous and complicated, future cryptocurrency regulation will benefit the market at large, said Vince Molinari, CEO of Templum Markets, at TheStreet's investor boot camp this month. 

Embracing sustainability and innovation
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) Source: Straits Times - A global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services, EcoLab has been dedicated to improving lives while protecting the environment.

Why diversity in sustainability matters, and what you can do
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Source: GreenBiz - The ongoing lack of ethnic diversity on environmental organization boards and staff suggests that, overall, talk of increasing diversity has not turned into widespread action. 

Exploring the impact of campus sustainability efforts  
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Source: MIT News - Every year, Sustainability Connect, a forum organized by the MIT Office of Sustainability (MITOS), provides an opportunity for MIT community members working on sustainability issues across campus to come together around...

Businesses Taking the Lead on Sustainability
(Friday - May 25, 2018) Source: Sustainable Brands - Now more than ever, the general and informed public of this world are looking to CEOs and business leaders to take the lead on important issues over governments. Given that we at Rolland have the utmost respect for organizations... 

Our Focus This Week on A Range of ESG Topics & Issues – More Things For You to Think About 

Earth Experiences 400th Consecutive Warmer-than-Average Month
(Monday - May 21, 2018) Source: Interesting Engineering - The Earth has now had 33 years of rising and above-average temperatures. According to recent reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's monthly global climate report, this marks the 400th consecutive month... 

New York Stock Exchange appoints first female leader
(Tuesday - May 22, 2018) Source: BBC - The New York Stock Exchange has appointed its first female leader more than two centuries after it was established. Stacey Cunningham will be elevated to the leadership role from her current position of chief operating officer.

Trade and growth fears spark dash for safe havens
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) Source: Reuters - Investors sold equities on Wednesday and raced to buy yen and government bonds from the United States and Germany on fears that setbacks to U.S-China trade talks would undermine increasingly fragile-looking...


Headlines for You From the Corporate Sector - Both Positive & Negative 

Tesla Model 3 updates coming after Consumer Reports found ‘big flaws’
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) Source: The Verge

BP invests $20 million in batteries that can charge electric cars in five minutes
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) Source: CNBC

3M appoints sustainability chief
(Wednesday - May 23, 2018) Source: OPI 

Exxon promises to cut emissions that hasten climate change
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Associated Profiles : Carbon Disclosure Project 
Source: Dallas Morning News

Intel makes sure sustainability is inside its business
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Source: Climate Action Programme 

Cambridge Analytica Files U.S. Bankruptcy After Data Scandal  
(Thursday - May 24, 2018) Associated Profiles : Mercer Source: Bloomberg L.P.

News & Opinion: Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds, Pension Funds

Oil companies face increasing investor pressure on climate change action
(Tuesday - May 22, 2018) Associated Profiles : New York State Common Retirement Fund 
Source: Seeking Alpha - A vote on a similar proposal at Chesapeake Energy will not proceed after the company reportedly committed to produce the report by year’s end in an agreement with the New York State Common Retirement Fund.... 

After questions raised about CalPERS CFO's background and experience, he's 'no longer with' the pension fund
(Tuesday - May 22, 2018) Associated Profiles : California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Source: Los Angeles Times - Charles Asubonten, whose background and experience came into question months after he was hired as the chief financial officer of CalPERS, is no longer with the giant pension fund, the organization acknowledged Monday. The...

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