This article looks at the sustainability imperative within the food industry.  Historically, many businesses approached sustainability as something that had to be done to keep stakeholders content  but privately many believed that the more sustainable they became the more they eroded their competitiveness. Thus in many cases it was delivered through practices undertaken not to deliver bottom line financial benefits but to appease stakeholders and to protect reputation.

Yet in recent years the tide has started to turn.More and more companies are waking up to the fact that pro-actively managing sustainability challenges actually makes good commercial sense.

Indeed the work that EFFP has undertaken as a partner of Project SCALE is demonstrating that, when viewed through the telescope of the triple bottom line, sustainability provides many opportunities to improve profitability and performance.  The question should not be whether food businesses adopt this approach but how best to do it to drive real benefits for the company and for the wider society.

Fig 1: UK Agricultural Total Factor Productivity

Fig 2: Components of Total Factor Productivity

Fig 3: Sustainability and Operating Profits

Fig 4 The Sustainability Journey



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