Sustainability is a priority for food and beverage companies, yet it’s a challenge to implement, according to a survey by Grant Thornton.
The State of Sustainability at Food and Beverage Companies gauged attitudes toward sustainability from 189 respondents at US food retail, food and beverage distribution, and consumer product goods companies.
It found 44 percent of respondents rated sustainability as being extremely important or important in their company’s business strategy. Sustainability benefits aside, 52 percent of companies believe that it is difficult to implement.
Other key findings include:
- There are significant differences between business types and how they prioritize sustainability initiatives. Wholesalers were the most likely to say that sustainability is a fad that will disappear in a few years (25 percent of wholesalers versus 7 percent of retailers and 4 percent of suppliers).
- Leadership buy-in (27 percent) is one of the top two factors (profitability is the first) for companies when considering a shift to sustainable practices.
- Seventy-four percent of respondents reported that their company measured sustainability efforts. Energy consumption (58 percent), total waste (50 percent) and amount of recycled materials (40 percent) were the most frequently mentioned ways of measuring sustainability efforts.
- Sixty-five percent reported that their company’s sustainability efforts benefited from savings through energy efficiency and 46 percent reported savings through source reduction.
- Food and beverage suppliers are more likely to say that sustainability is critical to growth (80 percent of suppliers versus 68 percent of retailers and 50 percent of wholesalers).
A different Grant Thornton report published last month found saving money is the no. 1 reason executives give for moving towards more environmentally sustainable business practices.