Knowledge for better food systems

Report: CSR and supply agreements in the agricultural sector

The CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security) programme have published a new report that looks at the role and effectiveness of private sector CSR activities in the agricultural sector.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) and supply agreements in the agricultural sector have a significant role to play to promote agricultural climate change mitigation and decrease pressure on the earth’s land and climate. Private sector engagement can also promote food security and positively affect the livelihoods of smallholder agricultural producers in developing countries. 

Emissions along the supply chain often represent an agribusiness brand manufacturer’s biggest greenhouse gas impacts—in some cases representing as much as 90% of the emissions profile.  While companies that identify high-risk agricultural raw materials in their supply chain, set aggressive time-bound targets and goals for their sourcing and supply arrangements are at the forefront of corporate leadership in this area, the gap between the leaders and the rest of the industry may be great.

Based on a comprehensive literature survey and 15 interviews with key organizations, companies and financiers or lenders, the new CCAFS working paper, investigates:

  • Current private sector climate change mitigation activities in agriculture and food production, highlighting current innovations affecting production and supply chains of key commodities;
  • How CSR and supply chain commitments can improve their contribution to reductions in agricultural GHG emissions;
  • The role of governments, finance and investment in promoting sustainability in the agricultural sector.

Two themes emerged as areas for future focus: a) the need for harmonization among product standards, certification and by commodity roundtables, and b) the need to mainstream sustainability criteria in agricultural finance and lending activities.

In more detail, the report concludes that there is a strong need for:

  • Harmonization among product standards, certification and by commodity roundtables,
  • Mainstreaming sustainability criteria in agricultural finance and lending activities.
  • Supply chain interventions that hold potential to shift entire supply chains and value chains.
  • Tangible outcomes by industry-led initiatives that directly link retailers, manufacturers and suppliers, such as the Consumer Goods Forum, for wider sectoral engagement around key commitments (such as zero net deforestation and fulfilling purchasing commitments of certified high-risk agricultural raw materials).
  • Promotion of traceability for certified products, support systems throughout the supply chain, and further strategies for engaging traders and processors and importantly, growers.

 

Reference 

Kissinger G. (2012). Corporate social responsibility and supply agreements in the agricultural sector Decreasing land and climate pressures. CCAFS Working Paper no. 14. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark. Available online at: www.ccafs.cgiar.org

For more about CCAFS see here.

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