SAI Platform

The global food value chain initiative for sustainable agriculture

Sunday 5 June 2016, by corn

2 inspired

A. The main facts about the activities of the company.

The overall mission of Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform is to help food and drink industry to implement a development of sustainable agriculture production. It was created in 2002 by Nestlé, Unilever and Danone with the purpose of sharing knowledge, identify issues and initiatives to support the implementation of sustainable agriculture practices, by interacting with food and drink companies SAI’s members and all its stakeholders of the food supply chain, and setting up the same view on sustainable agriculture seen as “productive, competitive, and efficient way to produce agricultural products, while at the same time protecting and improving the natural environment and social/economic conditions of local communities”. In this way, they also attempt to encourage all the companies within the food industry to join with them in order to gain together a better continuous improvement process and to get a sustainable agriculture production worldwide.
For executing its aim they organize its activities into five working groups, in which each one focuses on a sustainable production of one product or related products by means of a set of Principles and Practices. Hence all farmers should carry out, throughout the whole agriculture system, the application of the principles and practices established which are divided into Sustainable Farming System, Social Sustainability, Environment Sustainability and Economic Sustainability.
Thus, the agricultural sectors of every group are: The Arable and Vegetable Crops, Beef, Coffee, Dairy and Fruits & Nuts. All the activities carried out of each one are involved in two main goals, the first one is building capacity on sustainable agriculture based on research and development activities undertaken by SAI Platform’s members and other relevant stakeholder groups, and then, communicating about sustainable agriculture toward food industries as well as food chain stakeholders.

B. The Ethical challenges this company is addressing.

The SAI’s challenge is to feed everyone by food that has been produced in a way that protects the earth’s resources, provides farmers a reasonable lifestyle and provides safety, quality and transparency of the food production. Therefore, they wish to bust the paradigm of the large food corporations, whose only aim is to make profits without any regard for environment and society.
The main issue is the acquisition of an ethical supply chain, which means taking care of the environment sustainability and social and economic welfare, during the whole agriculture process.
Nowadays, SAI Platform has 80 members who share the same view of sustainable agriculture and its Principles and Practices are applied in 144 countries. It seems to be enough, but it is not yet because there are still companies that don’t take part in this goal since they prefer act unethically and gain more profits, but the intention is to do that they are capable of starting considering to be profits also those actions that improve and take care of the environment and the society, who shall be proud and feel safe of being able to have food made in an ethical way.
Therefore, they show us that it is possible to be ethical and profitable using a sustainable agriculture like are doing all its companies integrated, so the SAI’s challenge is getting a sustainable production by all food and beverage industry.

C. What makes you believe this company is really ethical and why you trust it?

First, the approach to the matter the platform is trying to do is more consistent with their objectives. Any initiative trying to influence the practices on the industry must involve all the ladders on it, from producers to retail distributors eager to recognize sustainable products, and must have a global reach since the routes of agriculture products have global reaches.
Secondly, the fact that the initiative was created by the biggest players on the industry(unilever, danone and nestlé) and is funded by privates entities on the industry makes it capable of making real changes. This second argument sounds quite shady, since we could reason that these companies actually made up this platform just to give a certain image of sustainable company in response to a public demand of SCR, but actually the initiative is formed by many competing companies that benefit of the value of the knowledge created by the enterprise at a pre-competitive level, thus they don’t have any incentive to curb or fake the real initiatives made by the company.
Finally, the practical spirit of the enterprise is traduced in free resources for anyone willing to engage with the farmers or themselves on techniques to attain sustainable and economically efficient farming.

D.The possible challenges facing the company in the future and how you think this company may improve.

Although the initiative offers resources to the bottom level of the food industry (farmers) it mainly does it in an from indirect through their partners, since they are the ones who exert the power on them. This can curb the effort made by the platform since a member company can have the incentive to enter the platform just for SCR marketing issues without actually engaging in any of the practices.
To improve this, the SAI platform could open the possibility of offering different partnerships to farmers willing to engage on sustainable practices and getting public recognition of it so it would be on their hands, and not on the companies they supply the task of going to sustainability.
Beside this problem, but more unlikely, could be the one of financing. Despite the company has a steady cash flow from membership fees it depends on donations from the companies to survive.

Location: Brusseles (Belgium)

Sector: Agriculture, forestry and fishing

Official website: http://http://www.saiplatform.org/

Nbr. visits: 104

Nbr. inspires: 2