Cargill partners with WRI to tackle supply chain deforestation and water risk

International agri-foods business Cargill has forged a new partnership with global research organisation World Resources Institute (WRI) to improve the sustainability of its supply chain, with a particular focus on deforestation and water risk.

The collaboration will enable Cargill to make use of WRI’s mapping, analytical tolls and expertise, while WRI will benefit from Cargill’s extensive involvement across food and agriculture sectors in 70 countries.

Cargill vice president of environment, health and safety Al Johnson explained that the new two-year partnership exemplifies the company’s vision for a more sustainable and food-secure future.

Johnson said: “Working in collaboration with NGOs and others on land use and water resources is part of our commitment to be a trusted sustainability partner to our customers and communities. It underscores our ongoing efforts to finding practical solutions to environmental and social challenges.”

Advanced mapping

Efforts to protect forests will initially focus on two commodity supply chains: Soy in Paraguay and palm oil in Indonesia.

In Paraguay’s Atlantic Forest, Cargill works with over 3,000 farmers to help ensure soy is sourced more responsibly. WRI’s analysis will assess deforestation risks in Paraguay and across Latin America to help ensure soy is sourced more responsibly. WRI’s interactive monitoring and alert system ‘Global Forest’ will then be used to implement a more stringent supply chain policy through satellite technology and new analytical methods to measure forest change.

In addition to forest protection, WRI and Cargill will work together to identify and reduce water risk. The collaboration will allow WRI to enhance the data and indicators provided in its water risk mapping tool Aqueduct, and improve current measures of water-related business risks.

WRI business center global director Kevin Moss said: “It is through high-impact partnerships like this that WRI is able to put our world-class tools and expertise to work, scaling impact across global value chains to address today’s most vexing issues.

“There’s so much to be gained from better management of water risk and deforestation in company supply chains: better profits and better health for people and ecosystems.

“By working with Cargill to address deforestation and water risk, we can scale positive change well beyond one value chain. Partnerships such as this are critically important to our shared goals of protecting water resources and ending deforestation.”

Sustainable farming

Earlier this month, Cargill director of cocoa sustainability Taco Terheijden explained to edie the importance of aligning a sustainability programme within a business or brand strategy – a method which has helped the company improve farmer livelihoods and secure a sustainable supply of cocoa and chocolate products.

A recent Cargill Cocoa Promise update report revealed the extent to which livelihoods for cocoa farmers and their communities are improving. The report showed that 90,000 farmers are trained in sustainable farming practices and child protection in cocoa-producing companies.

CCP findings also revealed that enhanced farmer training and farm development have served to increase production levels – average yields improved by 23% through applying better plant protection.

Last month, edie reported that 76,000 farmers have seen a significant increase in their income and cocoa yield as a result of a global sustainable sourcing programme launched by fellow chocolate manufacturer Mondelez International – the company responsible for Cadbury, Kenco and Oreo.

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George Ogleby

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