Sustainability in Stride: Pioneering Progress in Food and Agriculture with Sustainably Sourced Ingredients

Written by: Will Velie

For over three decades, I’ve embraced the challenges and joys of trail running. While I may not claim to be exceptionally talented, the sport has offered me a unique perspective on addressing complex questions, often leading to profound insights. A recurrent debate among runners is the dilemma of whether it’s tougher to begin or end a run on an incline. Opinions vary, mostly shaped by personal experiences rather than scientific analysis. Age, too, seems to play a role, as the initial stiffness in one’s tendons and joints can be more pronounced, much like the evolving trends in running gear over the years. What does that have to do with sustainability and sustainably sourced ingredients? Let’s dig deeper: 

From my standpoint, starting an uphill run poses a greater challenge. The initial effort to find your rhythm, coupled with an unestablished heart rate and breathing pattern, can test your mental strength, often tempting you to give up. Conversely, the end of a run, with the finish line in sight, feels comparatively easier. By then, your body has found its tempo, your blood is pumping efficiently, and your determination is at its peak. Crossing that final stretch feels rewarding, validating the indulgences and the tales of runner’s highs and athletic feats that follow. 

In recent years, my involvement in numerous food and agriculture conferences, forums, webinars, and podcasts has highlighted the increasing prominence and urgency of sustainability. Stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, investors, entrepreneurs, corporates, and farmers, are deeply invested in charting sustainable pathways. The collective mission is clear: to enhance food production efficiency, promote soil and environmental health, improve animal welfare, strengthen farming and local communities, and meet the ambitious targets set by corporates, CPGs, and international agreements like the Paris Agreement and COP 28. The magnitude of these goals can seem overwhelming, akin to facing a daunting uphill challenge. 

A recurring theme among industry leaders is the perceived difficulty in initiating action and defining solutions, primarily due to the lack of a universal understanding of concepts like sustainability and regenerative agriculture. Although various programs and initiatives are in place, aiming to offer sustainable solutions, there’s a general consensus that progress isn’t as swift as it could be. Much of the inertia stems from debates over definitions, while others await regulatory mandates to provide a clear direction. This situation resembles the reluctance to start an uphill journey, preferring instead to deliberate and hope for an easier alternative. 

In contrast, the Ever.Ag Sustainability Team has chosen to confront this challenge head-on. We’ve conceptualized, developed, and launched a pragmatic process, engaging stakeholders across the spectrum, from farmers and cooperatives to processors, manufacturers, and CPGs. Our ‘Sustainably Sourced Ingredients’ program empowers brands to meet their 2030 and 2050 carbon reduction targets by collaborating with the supply chain and farmers to produce ingredients with a lower carbon footprint, thereby generating additional financial benefits and enhancing market access. 

Remarkably, this program often doesn’t necessitate significant changes or new practices from farmers and manufacturers to participate and reap rewards. Once involved, participants can collectively agree on further improvement plans, enabling brands to continue reducing carbon emissions while offering additional premiums to farmers and the supply chain. 

At Ever.Ag, we advocate for progress through actionable and thoughtfully designed processes, rather than getting bogged down in definitional debates or waiting for mandates. We’ve charted a course that not only meets sustainability goals but also fosters collaboration, yielding financial benefits for all involved. We view sustainability in agriculture not as a financial burden but as an opportunity for additional revenue, all while accomplishing the desired objectives. 

Having successfully navigated the initial ascent, Ever.Ag is now trailblazing a scalable and actionable path in the food and agriculture supply chains. We’re eager to engage with those keen on learning more and joining this journey towards sustainable progress. So, lace up and join us on this trail to sustainability! 

A Practical Approach to Sustainability

A Practical Approach to Sustainability

Written by: Matt Gould and Abbie Cox “Sustainability” – depending on who you are, what you do, and what you believe, this word conjures up a myriad of emotions. Confusion, passion, frustration – you name it, this topic brings a lot bubbling to the surface. Why are...

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