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Driving More Sustainable Agricultural Practices at Scale: Harnessing the Market Power of the World's Largest Food Companies

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In order to drive more sustainable agricultural practices, we need many different stakeholders to chip in. When we talk about private sector opportunities, we often focus on shiny new solutions coming out of venture capital -backed startups and innovative investment shops. Meanwhile, we often overlook the potential role of the largest corporate players in the food system, whose small actions can achieve impacts at massive scale. In this webinar, we join the Sustainable Food Lab on a deep dive into their work with multinational consumer goods companies, on a toolkit of low-visibility but extremely powerful levers for change. 

Most U.S. farmers operate in a low margin, high input, price volatile business environment, with increasing variability in too wet and too dry years. Conservation cropping practices, in particular cover crops and extended rotation systems including crop diversification, can in the short term break pest and disease cycles, improve timing of planting and other field work, and reduce input costs. In the long term these practices can result in improved productivity in bad weather years by reducing the variability across fields. These same cropping practices have significant sustainability benefits, especially if adopted at scale. However, farmer adoption is slow for a number of good reasons. Join the Sustainable Food Lab to think about how consumer goods companies can (and increasingly do) use supply chain tools like contracting mechanisms to help address farmer risk -- and the long-term resilience of farming systems.


Elizabeth Reaves

Senior Program Director, Agriculture & Environment at Sustainable Food Lab