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Cargill Says Its Sustainability Efforts Are a Model for Others and Are Good Business

Cargill has increased its public outreach regarding its sustainability initiatives, saying that they could be a model for others to follow and that it is a good business.

“We want our initiative that we started in 2014 to be a model for how it should be done,” said Mike Martin, a director of communications with Cargill, in an interview with Agri-Plus.com.

What is it doing? According to the news site, Cargill tracks about 130 metrics feeding 90 indicators that hit on the environment, economics, animal waste, well-being, communities and employees.

While Cargill’s management of its sustainability is proprietary to its operations, many other companies are doing similar things and measuring their impact on their environments and their profits. The general idea is that corporate management needs to get beyond shareholder impact and also include what is happening outside the walls of its company.

Agri-Plus points to a Nielson report that says being sustainable is good for business — that 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable brands. “The report – released in October 2015 – also pointed out that sales of consumer goods “from brands with a demonstrated commitment to sustainability” shot up 4 percent in the previous year compared to an increase of less than 1 percent for other companies,” the story says.

“We did it for the business to become a better business, not to satisfy somebody’s indicators that they had out there,” added Todd Allen, the president of Cargill Cattle Feeders , in an interview with Agri-Plus. Employee safety and the humane treatment of animals are two such metrics that the company measures.

In separate Cargill news, it says that it is making progress in its efforts to meet its commitment to eliminate deforestation from its supply chains. The first Cargill Report on Forests covers on-the-ground actions within six priority supply chains and global collaborations to advance sustainable agriculture. Cargill worked with numerous global partners to engage more than 148,000 farmers and established a baseline for measuring tree cover loss by mapping the sourcing areas of nearly 2,000 locations across 14 countries, it says.

“Ending deforestation is critical to curb climate change,” said Cargill CEO and Chairman David MacLennan, in a statement.  “Today, we are at an important crossroads as we work to nourish the world and protect the planet. Sustainable agriculture must be a part of the solution.”

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