Champaign, Ill., April 27, 2018 – A major effort to remove farm data reporting barriers related to sustainability is being undertaken by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) with members that include Agrible, Inc.
The objectives are to:
Develop digital solutions for the agricultural supply chain to address TSC key performance indicators (KPIs) easily and reliably
Translate and bridge the information from various sustainability standard organizations for more standardized reporting and exchange of data through automation
Attempt to streamline grower data entry across sustainability standards for those that align with TSC KPIs
TSC is a global non-profit organization leading the transformation of the consumer goods industry to deliver more sustainable consumer products. Among other initiatives, it works closely with farm management supply chain partners to address points of disconnect in farm data flow to the food, beverage and agriculture business sectors. Customer surveys strongly suggest that improvements in technology can be part of the solution, along with education of supply chain partners and standard harmonization on policy.
This effort is being funded by a grant awarded by the Walmart Foundation to TSC, which has put together a team of organizations and companies such as Agrible, an Illinois-based company that specializes in analyzing and providing agronomic information using science and technology to transform data into globally useful knowledge.
“Digital technology is transforming just about everything we do and how we engage with today’s consumers,” said Jeff Peters, Vice President of Sustainability for Agrible. “With billions of connection points already existing for consumers, there is still a significant digital disconnect in supply chains for this rapidly-growing area of sustainability. TSC realizes the need to address this critical pain point in documenting sustainability and is taking steps to harness the full scope of digitizing through interoperability and connectivity of systems.”
Peters, who will be speaking at the upcoming TSC Summit 2018 on May 1-3, 2018, in Chicago, Ill., adds that this ag industry-led effort should streamline and improve the record keeping process so the agricultural supply chain can reap the full benefits of sustainability to their businesses. Also speaking at the summit will be Eric Snodgrass, Senior Atmospheric Scientist at Agrible.
TSC reports that one of the main challenges in surveys of food product supply chains has been the inability of farmers to respond to questions about their sustainability practices with definitive answers. The organization’s tools were used by retailers to collect from suppliers nearly 64,000 responses to KPIs across all sectors in 2017. Of the approximately 15 percent of those questions that addressed agricultural impacts, more than half of the respondents answered “we are unable to determine at this time.”
“From interviews with companies, we’ve found that many need help establishing the communications systems needed to accurately answer TSC KPIs. The goal of this project is to highlight the work that farm sustainability platforms like Field to Market, Cool Farm Tool, and others are doing to create sustainability information connections between growers and food companies, as well as provide information needed by partners, like Agrible, to lead in the development of new solutions,” says Christy Slay, Ph.D., Director, Technical Alignment at The Sustainability Consortium and lead on the project.
TSC is jointly managed by the University of Arkansas and Arizona State University. The organization cuts across all industry sectors, not just agriculture. TSC is defining KPIs and supporting a broad range of industries on the measurement across their supply chains. The organization promotes the use of science-based solutions and toolsets that support the assessment of various products in their life cycles. All of this is an effort to green businesses from top to bottom and find eco-efficiencies in this transformation of supply chains.
Agrible’s mission is to analyze and provide agronomic information using science and technology to transform results into globally useful knowledge. We give all agricultural communities the insights, services, and connections to make their decisions easy and sustainable and their operations seamless. Connecting parts of this larger agricultural community to each other through our platform is important to us and is something we do. Join us in our evolution of agriculture.™ Learn more at www.agrible.com.
The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) is a global organization transforming the consumer goods industry to deliver more sustainable consumer products. We are dedicated to improving the sustainability of consumer products. Our members and partners include manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, service providers, NGOs, civil society organizations, governmental agencies and academics. Each member brings valuable perspectives and expertise. TSC convenes our diverse stakeholders to work collaboratively to build science-based decision tools and solutions that address sustainability issues that are materially important throughout a product’s supply chain and lifecycle. TSC also offers a portfolio of services to help drive effective implementation. The Sustainability Consortium has more than 100 members and there are over 2,000 users of TSC tools worldwide; it convenes more than 200 global organizations annually over an average of 75 networking opportunities. Formed in 2009, TSC is jointly administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas. It also has a European office at Wageningen University and Research, and a Chinese office in Tianjin, China. For more information visit www.sustainabilityconsortium.org.