July 12, 2018

Food Companies Launch Sustainability Alliance

 |  By: Mike Opperman

Four of the nation’s largest food companies have launched the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, an organization focused on influencing policy that shapes what people eat and its impact on health, communicate and the planet. Founding member companies are Danone North America; Mars, Incorporated; Nestle USA and Unilever United States.

All of these companies encompass major retail dairy product brands in a variety of categories from fluid milk to yogurt to chocolate and other products.

The Alliance member companies will focus in five key areas:

  • Consumer transparency: Improving the quality and accessibility of information available to consumers about the food they purchase for themselves and their families.
  • Environment: Advocating for innovative, science-based solutions to take action against the costly impacts of climate change, build more resilient communities, promote renewable energy and further develop sustainable agriculture systems.
  • Food Safety: Ensuring the quality and safety of food products and the global supply chain
  • Nutrition: Developing and advocating for policies that help people make better-informed food choices that contribute to healthy eating while supporting sustainable environmental practices.
  • People and communities: Advancing policies that promote a strong, diverse and health workplace and support the supply chain, including rural economies.

The group will says it will work on a number of policy issues including making sure the farm bill has language that addresses water quality and conservation issues, improving soil health, and expanding use of renewable energy. They will also advocate for financial incentives to reduce emissions and support transition to low-carbon alternatives that create value for farmers.

In a joint statement, spokespersons for the four companies said “With so many pressing food policy opportunities on the horizon, now is the time to help steer America’s food policy and our food system on a better path for long-term success.”

The Alliance pledges to rely on the best available evidence-based science to inform policy positions.

“Danone North America is working to make a positive change to build a healthier world through food and we believe the private sector has a significant role to play in this,” says Michael Neuwirth, senior director of external communications with Danone North America. “We believe people want this, and they vote with every purchase.  We are reaching a moment when what makes business sense and what is the right thing to do come together.”

Each of the four companies are former members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. According to Politico, each company left the lobbying group due to differences over nutrition issues, GMO labeling and voluntary sodium reduction.

For more information on the Alliance, click here.