The 2010s was a decade when the focus was on sustainability - and in recent years many companies have developed a CSR policy and goals - preferably linked to the UN Sustainability Goals (SDGs) launched in 2015.

Sdg However, as I mentioned in a presentation within the The Danish Society of Dairy Technology in May 2016, sustainability is not a new concept. As a legal term, it has been known since 1907 and it became known globally in 1972 in the “Limits to Growth” report and in the Bruntland report in 1987 where sustainability was defined as what “provides people and the environment best without harming future generations opportunity to meet their needs”.

Both customers and communities today expect every company to focus on sustainability - but how do you get started in the right way?

I usually start with “treble bottomline” ie. to focus on people, the planet, profit - and that on three levels: the company, (local) community and the value chain.

A company can optimize and have as many internal focus areas, but if it does not matter to society or the value chain, there may be other areas of focus that may be more relevant. What is the value e.g. of reducing water consumption by 20% if water is not a scarce resource and the great environmental impact lies in whether the food is eaten at the end-user or ends up as waste? There can still be many good reasons to conserve water - e.g. limited capacity at wastewater treatment plants and minimized consumption for water treatment and heating, but is it a high priority?

It is a matter of identifying and prioritizing the projects that provide the greatest possible value and ensuring that they are implemented at the right level, e.g. as:

  • Internal optimization projects (water, energy, waste and employee training and training)
  • Optimal utilization of resources in the (local) community (e.g. use of by-products or competence development of employees)
  • Collaboration and knowledge sharing with suppliers and customers (e.g. packaging and distribution and EHS conditions at the suppliers)

Dialogue across the value chain is always important - this is where you get new inspiration but also here you learn about conditions in the markets which may be different than you expect, for example regarding the collection and recycling of waste or sources of energy being different from home.

If you or your organization is uncertain on how to get started working with sustainability or how to plan the next steps, please contact us for a dialogue around this. FoodEfficiency provide advise based on your organization, your region and your value chain, and then you get a plan for specific initiatives regarding data and documentation as well as setting up goals, initiatives and programs.

Since 1997, FoodEfficiency has been dealing with various aspects of sustainability regarding water and energy reduction, packaging improvement, product sustainability and distribution within global food production.