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.
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.