In the food and grocery industry the strategic importance of sustainability continues to grow as the industry is being challenged and challenges itself to reduce its impact on the environment.
Companies start a supply chain sustainability journey for a host of reasons, though primarily to ensure compliance with laws and regulations and to support international principles for sustainable business conduct.
Additionally, organizations increasingly are taking actions that facilitate better social, economic and environmental impacts. As a result, businesses are benefitting from the conservation of resources, optimization of processes, product innovation, cost savings, increased productivity and the promotion of corporate values.
The United Nations developed the UN Global Compact, a practical framework for the development, implementation and disclosure of sustainability policies and practices.
This initiative has facilitated the development of voluntary Food and Agriculture Business Principles, which establish the attributes of well-functioning and sustainable global food and agriculture systems, and articulate a common understanding of the resources, ecosystem services and socio-economic impacts needed to build resilience into these systems and the markets that they serve.
They are the first global voluntary business principles for the food and agriculture sector. The six FAB principles focus on food security; health and nutrition; environmental responsibility; economic viability and shared value; human rights; good governance and accountability; and access and transfer of knowledge, skills and technology.
Organizations are encouraged to align their policies and practices with the FAB principles, activities and achievements that contribute to meeting the global challenges of food security and sustainable agriculture.
Information technology and enterprise resource planning technology solutions provide a platform to achieve these principles of supply chain sustainability, as well as provide quantifiable business benefits.
While each of these principles benefits from sophisticated whole-chain enterprise resource planning solutions, the sixth principle is especially dependent on technology: “Businesses should promote access to information, knowledge and skills for more sustainable food and agricultural systems.”
America’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, is leading by example when it comes to utilizing technology to improve its supply chain sustainability.