Stake a claim in new sustainability standards - The Packer

Stake a claim in new sustainability standards

02/05/2009 12:00:00 AM
Greg Johnson

Another key point, Gray said, is being open-minded about processes and where companies are on a sustainability timeline.

“It’s about doing the right thing,” he said, “not doing things right.”

A handful of Leonardo committee members are also members of the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, which is composed of nongovernmental organizations, trade associations, suppliers and buyers who are working to develop benchmarks outlining sustainable practices.

One of them, Hank Giclas, vice president of science and technology for Irvine, Calif.-based Western Growers, said to be fair to Leonardo, the draft was just that and was designed to be debated and modified.

Fair enough.

But in the end, Giclas said, the draft was simply too controversial and unwieldy to be retooled.

Jeff Dlott, president and chief executive officer of SureHarvest, a sustainability consulting and information systems company based in Soquel, Calif., said the stewardship index group can make quicker decisions than the Leonardo group, so there’s hope that its recommendations can play a large role in what Leonardo does.

“We have a blank slate now,” he said, referring to the discarded draft.

Giclas said the stewardship index plans a big April meeting and hopes to bring some fresh ideas to the next scheduled Leonardo sustainability standards meeting in May.

The produce industry should rest a little easier knowing that leading minds and organizations should have a much larger role in crafting the next sustainability draft through their involvement in the stewardship index and Leonardo Academy meetings.

We should have confidence they’ll do the right thing.


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