Responding to Requests for Commitments

A variety of interest groups and other organizations are harnessing the increased interest in the evolving definition of sustainability to capture the opportunity or promote a specific agenda. As a result, a new and growing challenge is the focus on a single ingredient, process or practice without accounting for the potential impact on the entire food system. For example, pressure to change the genetics of broiler chickens or eliminate technology used in dairy or pork production may have perceived benefits to animal well-being, but could also have significant negative impacts on water use, land use, greenhouse gas production, increased demand for fossil fuel and affordability of quality protein when more resources are required to deliver the same quantity of chicken, pork and dairy products.

The decision-making framework in this document is intended to give food system stakeholders a tool and process to evaluate requests by stakeholders to adopt or reject a specific practice, taking into consideration the inter-related nature of food production systems and the impacts and tradeoffs of individual decisions. With this information companies can make better-informed decisions that are aligned with their values, the values of their stakeholders and their business objectives. The process is designed to both help companies make decisions and to communicate those decisions in a manner that reflects the organization’s values and commitment to sustainability.

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