Big and Small Producers Tackle 'Sustainability' Definition
April 20, 2012
Proponents of large- and small-scale meat production have differing realities that drive their definitions of doing business sustainably. Those representing both at the Protein Innovation Summit agreed, however, that if that definition means using production methods that are arguably more environmentally friendly and more costly, then the industry will have to figure out how to overcome the challenge of keeping costs down for consumers.
A diverse panel was convened to tackle the converging and conflicting agendas involved in applying sustainability farm to fork. Panelists agreed that companies large and small have to define what it means for them to do the right thing, but doing the right thing presents challenges. Three top challenges discussed included:
the ability of companies to define sustainability for themselves, rather than allowing "the outside world" to do so;
reducing portion sizes of meat and convincing consumers to pay more for smaller portions; and
transparency about production practices. Social media provides a great opportunity for farmers and ranchers to show consumers who they are.
The panelists could not quite put a definitive finger on how to make 'sustainable' products affordable for consumers, but they agreed that it would take partnerships between industrial agriculture and smaller-scale producers to figure it out.
Reprinted in part from Meatingplace.com