An audience member asked why growers, some who have long histories as suppliers, shouldn’t be taken at face value as protectors of natural resources and the matter dropped.
“The reality is we’re going to be held more and more accountable for the way we produce food,” Pezzini said. “Like the food safety issue, I’d rather be in there creating something than having it handed to me.”
He referred to his work with the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.
Tom O’Brien, who represents the Produce Marketing Association in Washington, D.C., said regulators and lawmakers will get around to sustainability metrics — eventually.
“Washington on any issue doesn’t lead, but as it becomes important it gets filtered there,” O’Brien said. “There’s such confusion about what sustainability is, a lot of policymakers don’t want to touch it just yet. But they will.”
Pezzini and McCormick saw at most a limited value to developing certifications for sustainability.