Perhaps it’s little consolation, but the food and beverage (F&B) sector came through the pandemic – more accurately, the first 18 months of the pandemic – in better financial shape than many industries. We’re not for a moment downplaying the severity of COVID’s impact. But in F&B, there’s been a reckoning of sorts: yes, supply chain disruptions are a fact of life and should be taken seriously; but there’s a bigger picture here, and it’s driving a renewed focus on sustainability initiatives.
Why? Because while disruptions can be painful, worse still is failing to take the necessary actions today to ensure a thriving industry tomorrow. As one industry leader put it: “Getting sustainability right now guarantees we’ll have the privilege of dealing with large and small supply chain problems 25 years from now.”
New research conducted for The Nature Conservancy sheds light on how a variety of stakeholders view their responsibility for driving sustainability initiatives:
- Decision-makers say that environmental risk factors outweigh operational challenges globally
- The bar has been raised – “do good” is replacing “do no harm”
- The shift from passive to active engagement means investment is increasing.
Of course, not all F&B companies are on board. Some have spent the last 18 months focusing on supply chains suffering from massive shock. Others will simply resist change, pandemic or no pandemic. But regardless of where they might stand on their journey toward sustainability operations, F&B industry leaders are aware of the existential threat that far surpasses typical and even extraordinary supply chain disruptions, and will use that pressure as motivation to adopt transformational technologies and practices on their way to becoming sustainability leaders.
Mark Burstein, EVP and industry principal at Logility, has written this insightful and thought-provoking article for Forbes looking at the importance of environmental sustainability in the food and beverage industry today.