Around the world, agri-food leaders believe the industry can work together to create a better, more sustainable food system. That’s one of the key findings of the Alltech Sustainability Insights Survey, which asked industry leaders to share their perspectives on the issues that matter most to the agri-food value chain.
The survey — conducted by Alltech in collaboration with independent, Ireland-based research agency Opinions — collected insights through 26 one-on-one interviews with industry leaders, as well as a comprehensive survey completed by more than 2,500 members of the global agri-food industry.
This effort presented an exciting opportunity to quantify attitudes and perceptions about sustainability from stakeholders across the agri-food value chain and to identify tangible actions to build a more sustainable future.
“Our goal was to listen to the voices of our industry and develop a robust, future-facing program of insights support that is relevant, ambitious, and genuinely impactful,” says Tara McCarthy, Alltech’s global vice president of environment, social, and corporate governance.
The survey questions were focused on five areas: challenges and opportunities, drivers and priorities, attitudes toward change, support and guidance, and who the respondents believe is going to pay for sustainability.
“We are an industry that has remained resilient and provides a robust and efficient food system. To be seen as sustainable food leaders, we need to adopt a holistic approach and continue to evolve the narrative,” said Tara McCarthy, Alltech’s global vice president of ESG. “While everyone across the value chain has a role to play, food producers are clearly front and center. The proactive role of the industry and policymakers in this conversation is absolutely vital.”
Given the evolving understanding of sustainability and the complexity of the industry, Alltech believes there is significant value in exploring and sharing perspectives with agri-food stakeholders.
“This an opportunity to reframe the future,” McCarthy said. “Armed with this data, we will be able to bring solutions to help our industry to adapt and partner.”
More on the survey findings
Among the top findings, 85 percent of respondents within the industry believe that the system can rise to the challenge. However, the conflict in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic have illustrated how vulnerable food systems are and the need for food security.
Despite a belief in change, 80 percent of survey respondents also indicated that farmers are not being fairly rewarded financially for their role. Another two out of three respondents indicated that things will not change unless farmers are financially incentivized.
However, nearly 75 percent of producers indicated that they were willing to change their business practices to become more sustainable, even though over half of producers indicating that they were being unfairly targeted when it comes to sustainability (particularly those in ruminant production industries).
Nearly 90 percent of respondents agreed that technology and innovation are the key to a more sustainable food system.
Most survey respondents agreed that food systems are vulnerable, climate change will make production more difficult in the future, and global food security is becoming a more significant issue.
Overall, respondents were optimistic that the global food system can rise to the challenge.
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Author: Heidi Crnkovic