The move towards sustainable supply chains.

Vizzuality
Oct 12 · 5 min read

For us, for you, for everyone.

Vizzuality is grounded in the mission to make the world more sustainable. Sustainability is a society-wide endeavour, and we recognise technology is just one part of a much broader transition. We have had the privilege of working with incredible organisations, primarily NGOs, working towards this mission. To contribute further, we are going to help companies improve the sustainability of their supply chains.

A field and harvester with the text “Sustainable Supply Chain Management. LandGriffon”

The impact of the agricultural system on climate, biodiversity, and human well-being are well documented, as discussed in the rest of this blog. It is here, in the complexity of supply chains, that we believe our knowledge, skills, and experience in environmental data, design and web technology can create a beneficial impact. We are excited to share our journey with you.

We are approaching this journey with a philosophy of openness and generosity. Working on supply chains is an opportunity to find ways to support sustainability within the private sector while staying true to our mission. We will have the most impact by building upon our relationships and embedding our work in collaboration with our partners and organisations addressing this topic. If you work for a food company, join us on this journey to supply chain sustainability. Reach out now!

Why are we focusing on sustainable supply chains?

The agriculture industry has an unrivalled opportunity to create vitally positive impacts on our world. It is responsible for 25–35% of global emissions and 80% of deforestation worldwide. However, there is a common challenge. Although the facts and the responsibility of emissions and environmental degradation are undeniable, the causes are embedded in a complex web of producers, suppliers, and distributors. This makes it increasingly difficult, time-consuming and expensive to pinpoint what impacts your company is responsible for. How do we bring the right solutions to those who can bring change?

The European Commission has entrusted the LandGriffon consortium* with 2 million euros in funding to help change the food supply chain market. We have less than 10 years to achieve the SDG goals, so we’re acting quickly to help those ready to change. We combine science, technology and design to create a tool that uses geo-spatial analysis to quantify sourcing impacts and track improvements. For companies to determine their best plan of action, they need knowledge and clarity of their supply chain’s impacts.

Why are sustainable supply chains essential?

Agriculture is at the mercy of the climate.

Improving supply chain management does more than enable sustainability; it ensures effective risk management. The Covid-19 crisis has made it clear how vulnerable the food industry is to disruption and environmental risks. Entirely dependent on the climate and the environment, agriculture faces significant impacts from climatic breakdown and increasing temperatures, such as disease, pests, floods, drought and supercharged storms. Therefore, what seems cheaper to produce creates significant costs elsewhere, such as deforestation, destroying biodiversity and fuelling human-induced climate breakdown.

Farmers are forced into unsustainable practices through unfair wages.

On short and long scales, price volatility can push producers out of business. The ageing farming population, now averaging 60 years old, shows that fewer young people are pursuing this career path. Where farmers are undervalued and underpaid, it pushes them into unsustainable practices to try and make a living wage. Farmers are the foundation of the supply chain. To create a sustainable agricultural system, farmers must be paid fairly to embrace sustainable practices.

Consumer demand is changing the market.

The market is already changing to reflect this need for sustainability. In 2020, $3.1 billion was invested in alternative proteins, mirroring the increase in plant-based demand. Consumers actively value the ethos and sustainability of a company and will buy accordingly. Accenture found that 53% of UK consumers “prefer to buy goods and services from companies that stand for a shared purpose that reflects their personal values and beliefs, and are ditching those that don’t”. Sustainability is the new normal. By embracing this evolving reality, proactive companies are positioning themselves as leaders of the transition to a sustainable food industry. To do so effectively, companies must ground this intention for sustainability in concrete action guided by experts.

Efficient use of resources means less waste and less money wasted.

The food industry needs to increase production by 60–100% at a rate never seen before. To feed a future population of 9.7 billion by 2050, while still ensuring the integrity of the environment, farmers’ livelihood, and the viability of food companies, we need to create a food system based on equality and efficiency. A system that does not waste one-third of the food produced, while 821 million people go hungry every day. Therefore, increased productivity needs to be balanced with resilience through sustainable supply chain management. This holds true for producers right through to distributors. Food industry leaders will position themselves by reimagining products they have historically seen as waste and incorporating them into a broader business model (e.g. biofuel). By reducing pre-consumer food waste (which currently accounts for 62.8% of the total food waste in the USA), companies will get greater value for money while supporting a more sustainable and viable existence for farmers.

Together we can address the leading supply chain sustainability issues.

The 2021 IPCC report further reinforced the need for a society-wide and global economic transformation. ESG highlighted the key action areas to reduce emissions are “eliminating deforestation, restoring previously cleared land, and employing agricultural practices that mitigate and sequester carbon.”

Together, every company will have to evolve to be part of the solution that restores the environment and stops the climate emergency. To tackle such complex problems and find the most effective solutions, companies must utilise the power of science, data and design for their short and long term business plans. We are excited to support sustainable transformation by combining these three disciplines. Now is the optimum time to get involved with LandGriffons creation and mould its development to fit your company’s needs. Together, let us transform supply chains for the better.

Reach out by contacting María Ricart, Sustainable Business Development, Vizzuality (maria.ricart@vizzuality.com).

Register for updates at https://landgriffon.com.

*The European Commission funds the LandGriffon consortium, made up of Vizzuality, Satelligence and Stockholm Environment Institute. Together, we bring expertise from user-centric design, satellite monitoring, and environmental science to help companies reach a more sustainable future.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004174.

Farmers in a field with the text “Together, every company will have to evolve to be part of the solution that restores the environment and stops the climate emergency. LandGriffon”

Vizzuality Blog

Posts on data design, user research, open data, and…

Vizzuality Blog

Posts on data design, user research, open data, and software development. We create tools and applications with a lasting benefit to society and the environment.

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Vizzuality Blog

Posts on data design, user research, open data, and software development. We create tools and applications with a lasting benefit to society and the environment.