Sustainability must make a business case

05/04/2012 09:33:00 AM
Greg Johnson

The Leonardo standard supports a four-tiered performance measurement system comprised of Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers.

The level of tier granted is determined by third-party verification of scores related to general, environmental, economic and social categories.

In Leonardo’s defense, it dropped the requirement that all agriculture be produced with organic methods.

That was perhaps because growing fresh produce organically is probably less sustainable than conventional when all inputs and productivity are considered, but I doubt Leonardo would ever admit to that.

A few produce companies participate in Leonardo discussions, but more have told me they turned down the group because it’s not serious about keeping produce growing profitable and efficient enough to feed hundreds of millions of people.

Produce industry sustainability is a serious issue, and the industry is going about it in the right way, even if it seems excessively deliberate.

More than ever, produce companies are seeing that sustainability can be good for business. Integrated Pest Management cuts down on chemical inputs. Saving water means saving money. Reducing pesticide use reduces costs and safety issues. Getting more out of the same area of land, and then making sure nutrients are replenished, is a constant goal, and it has been for centuries.

Walter Ram, vice president of food safety and regulatory affairs for The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles, and sustainability board member, said fresh produce “is the poster child for sustainability.”

Not only that, but the industry also feeds people healthful food.

You know, as opposed to sitting in a college town churning out 400 pages of idealistic nonsense.

gjohnson@thepacker.com

What's your take? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.


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jerry    
mass  |  May, 17, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Though I'm not opposed to sustainability generally speaking, I agree that the environmentalists and big government officials that listen to them for political advantage, are either clueless about the ag industry or don't really care about the potential economic damage these laws and regulations in the name of saftey and environment could and are having on the ag industry that by default practices sustainability in order to cut cost and make any profit at all. They feel the need to be involved in every aspect of everyone life wether warranted or not. Just a big waste of time and money.

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