Recipe for success? Top companies link sustainability to business performance


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Recipe for success? Top companies link sustainability to business performance

Related tags Sustainability

Unilever, Nestlé and Diageo are the most sustainable companies in the food and beverage industry – but more needs to be done to link sustainability efforts with business performance, according to a new report from certification body DNV GL.

The organisation’s Tomorrow’s Value Rating report ranks ten top food companies based on their sustainability performance across five factors: Strategy, engagement, governance, innovation and value chain. It found that those companies that embed their sustainability strategies into their business approach were making the most progress.

“The frontrunners are linking their operational performance to wider mega-trends that affect the Food and Beverage sector on a broader scale,”​ it said.

“However, there is a notable gap between the leaders and the laggards, which appears to be largely driven by disparity in companies’ sustainability governance and level of transparency. Those that embed sustainability within their core business models, and openly communicate their progress on the toughest sustainability challenges, are beginning to reap the rewards.”

Business development manager at DNV GL - Business Assurance, Jon Woodhead, said: “Unilever stands out for its ambition and sensible milestones. It has set an ambitious target of halving the environmental impact of its products by 2020 while still maintaining economic growth in that period. It is a brave move, challenging the status quo, and demonstrates essential components of leadership."

DNV GL also assesses other industries, and the food and beverage industry performs better than others, with an average score of 75%, compared to the global average of 69%.

Food companies’ ability to address issues within the supply chain is improving, the report said, adding that the next step is to show that work on sustainability is actually improving performance, “for example by reducing the costs associated with sourcing high quality ingredients, as well as addressing sustainability issues”.

For this report, it assessed ten major companies: Unilever, Nestlé, Diageo, PepsiCo, McDonald’s, Woolworths, Mondelez, Tesco, Starbucks and Danone.

The report is available to download here.

Related topics Market Trends Sustainability

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