Cargill makes headlines again this week, via an article in Eco-Business; regarding the impact that world population growth will have on sustainable business practices, and vice versa.
Vaidehi Shah, author to the article, poses the question, “Will it be possible to end global hunger, given that one in nine people on the planet already lack enough food, and the number of mouths to feed is set to increase from 7.3 billion today to almost 10 billion by 2050?”
Cargill is a company that believes the main combatants against world hunger lie within sustainable farming practices. Moreover, they are figuring out ways to take the fight directly to the source of the problem.
For this reason, the company has put an enormous effort into finding solutions for feeding the growing population of Asia’s continent. A continent that has seen population growth at a rapid rate, and will continue to experience such growth.
Peter Van Deursen, CEO of Cargill Asia Pacific, sees Asia as a continent that “inevitably plays a strategic role” when it comes to their mission to feed the world sustainably and responsibly (Shah 2018).
Cargill has already made plans/started an initiative to function within an entirely sustainable, transparent and traceable palm supply chain by year 2020. Though this may seem a bit ambitious for a company that relies so heavily on the labor of individually acting farmers (in less-than-stable countries) it’s not completely impossible.
Continuous digital transformation of various business sectors, including supply chain management, is enhancing transparency for businesses even under the most unlikely of circumstances.
However, technology isn’t going to take the ball over the goal line in Cargill’s case, but rather be the actor to hand off the ball. “To make sure the palm oil produced by Cargill and its suppliers is deforestation-free, the company uses industry standard methodologies to ensure that it does not clear forest that is carbon-rich, or socio-culturally important” (Shah 2018).
Ensuring sustainability, becomes an element of Cargill’s fundamental supplier-practices, will take intense relationship management and development of suppliers. Technological advancements will only serve as an aid to the underlying supplier development and education.
And, to the skeptics our there… the sustainable efforts of the company have already shown results.
To date, Cargill has worked to train approximately 90,000 cocoa farmers on sustainable farming practices. “In the process, it has improved its crop yields by 23 per cent and helped farmers achieve maximum profitability for their crops” (Shah 2018).
Who ever said sustainability couldn’t lead to productivity?