The food giants want it on their labels, and in the annual reports and other information they send to their investors. PepsiCo, Walmart, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever, Sara Lee and Nestlé are among those citing the years 2020 or 2025 as targets for achieving their goals of buying “sustainably sourced” products.
But what does that mean exactly, and how do those sources — farmers — show they are using sustainable practices? And if they are, will they get a premium?“This movement towards sustainability is here to stay,” says Erin Gowriluk, government relations and policy manager with the Alberta Wheat Commission.
“It’s all about trying to satisfy that consumer demand, or perceived demand, for something they feel is more sustainably produced,” says Paul Thoroughgood, a Saskatchewan farmer and Ducks Unlimited agrologist who’s also been deeply engaged in the crop sustainability file.
One factor behind the movement is the desire to avoid bad publicity about real or perceived poor production practices.