Thursday, December 22, 2011

Kraft Foods' Environmental Foodprint

Kraft Foods, the world's second largest food producer has released the results of a survey on the company's effect on climate, land and water including analysis of their agriduclutral production.

The first thing that surprised me about the articles about the findings, were the number of food brands that  Kraft foods owns including, Cadbury, Maxwell House, Nabisco, Oero, Oscar Mayer, Philadelphia, Tang and Trident.

Also, Kraft has already put in place some efforts at being more sustainable and has set a number of ambitious goals to attain by 2015.

The survey was conducted in a partnership with Quantis, Inc., a company that specializes in Life Cycle Assessment.  The World Wildlife Fund analyzed the results as part of its market transformation initiative.
Kraft found that nearly 60% of its carbon footprint is from farm commodities and 12% of the carbon footprint is from transportation and distribution of products.  80% of the land impact is from agriculture, and 70% of their water footprint is from growing raw materials.
The study confirms that Kraft's biggest environmental liability and potential leverage point for improvement is increasing the sustainability of its agricultural suppliers.

Krafts 2010 goals to be achieved by 2015 were to:

  • increase sustainable sourcing of agricultural commodities by 25%
  • reduce 50 million miles from its transportation network
The other five goals are related to manufacturing efficiency.  With 60% of Kraft's carbon footprint coming from their agricultural sources, Kraft needs to pressure their agricultural suppliers to be more sustainable and shift more of their agricultural production to locations more local to manufacturing and distribution points. And consumers need to pressure them to do this too. Decentralized, local farm production is of course preferable, but large companies are going to continue to purchase food from the agricultural industry.  This large industry can reorient itself to be more sustainable and local, it just requires some more thought, planning and oversight.

WWF has charged that supply chain work requires the formation of long-term partnerships based on the identification of shared objectives.  Kraft's plans to make manufacturing more efficient are commendable, but they aren't changing the agricultural practices that have the greatest negative impact on the environment and our livelihoods. 


1 comment:

  1. Reduce 50 million miles of transportation is a lofty goal and a sustainable sourcing of agriculture of 25% could be challenging. One of the problems I see with the local farms is the ability to deliver sustained quality and quantity in the local market. It appears they will have to work their supply chain to get their vendors on-board in unison.