Sustainability perspective: intelligence from seed to shelf
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to all the ways brands can have a positive climate impact, but a common denominator is, or at least should be, transparency. Consumers support brands that honestly measure and display their sustainability track record and the steps they are taking for positive change. Pioneering brands are tackling sustainability at every stage of a product’s lifecycle: efficient packaging, recycling materials, reducing carbon emissions and building strong relationships with suppliers.
For the June/July/August issue, NFM asked four experts representing different sustainability spheres and organizations for their thoughts on sustainability and how retailers and brands can make real, measurable progress.
HowGood’s outlook on sustainability is based on transparency and regeneration across the supply system and is measured with our ingredient-level sustainability intelligence platform, Latis.
This platform is powered by the world’s largest ingredient and product sustainability database, which aggregates information from over 550 unique data sources, including peer-reviewed research, results of industry and governmental and non-governmental organizations. Using this data, supply system actors can assess product portfolios against more than 250 environmental and social sustainability measures and attributes. Latis helps brands and retailers understand, improve, and report on their impact in an easy-to-digest way while maintaining granular, comprehensive measurement.
It is essential that retailers keep their corporate ESG objectives in mind and ensure that all activities, including the assessment of partner brands, reflect their overall objectives. This provides retailers with a more focused strategy and enables them to focus on the factors that will ultimately drive progress and results, especially as consumers increasingly demand more transparency and action.
How retailers can quantify climate impact
HowGood’s eight main sustainability indicators are water impact, soil health, labor risk, greenhouse gas emissions, animal welfare, biodiversity, processing and l land use. These offer the most comprehensive and actionable view of the impact of any ingredient, product or portfolio on our planet and our communities.
It is estimated that 70-90% of a product’s impact occurs before the ingredient leaves the farm. This means that retailers and brands can only be fully accountable for sustainability claims if they are transparent down to the ingredient level in their sourcing and value systems and make sourcing decisions accordingly.
It is important for retailers and brands to create an internal sustainability framework that is dynamic, easy to manage and provides opportunities for improvement and action. Without a system in place to facilitate ongoing monitoring and evaluation of sustainability metrics, maintaining accountability is a huge challenge.
Until recently, very detailed information on ingredient-level data to support this type of framework was not available, but we are making it readily available to brands and retailers and ready to be communicated to the consumer.
Sustainable Sourcing Ecosystems
Shared sourcing, building long-term sourcing relationships, and working directly with farmers and their communities are just some of the ways brands can build deep, real relationships with suppliers who, in their in turn, can help mitigate risk and increase resilience to climate change.
Beyond the good roasted hazelnut chocolate bar
Made from single-origin cocoa from Uganda, this 73% cocoa bar is Direct Trade Certified and Non-GMO Project Verified. The brand’s business model and supply chain is made up of 93 farmers who sell their cocoa at premium prices directly to Beyond Good, which then produces the chocolate originally in its factory in Madagascar. SRP: $4.50
Kuli Kuli Moringa and Super Greens Super Gummies
This B Corp partners directly with family farmers and women’s cooperatives to implement regenerative agricultural practices and create a sustainable supply chain based on climate-resistant moringa. These delicious gummies contain 200 milligrams of moringa leaf powder, along with a Super Greens blend of 11 leafy greens. SRP: $24.99
Amaz Organic Sparkling Lemon Ginger Yerba Mate
This USDA Organic RTD drink is based on a proprietary blend of adaptogens and wellness-promoting superfoods, including Yanomami mushrooms and suma root. The brand donates 2% of all sales to the Xingu Seeds Network association to collect tree seeds and redistribute them to restore the ecosystems of the Brazilian Amazon. SRP: $2.79
Alter Eco Organic Dark Chocolate Granola
This organic cereal uses regeneratively grown oats blended with 100% cocoa, coconut oil, date powder and monk fruit. Packaged in a post-consumer recycled pouch, the product represents a part of this B Corp’s ongoing mission to fight climate change on a variety of fronts: direct trade, promoting agroforestry and more. SRP: $7.49
True Grace Multivitamin for Men 40+
Although the brand is new, the directors are industry veterans. In partnership with long-time discerning suppliers, True Grace brings certified organic, non-GMO, and now regenerative ingredients to market. This creates supply chains that are more resilient to climate pressures while building trust and transparency in the industry. MSRP: $51.95/60 tablets