Global Food Companies Launch Sustainability Reporting Initiative

Four major food companies on Nov. 20 became members of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) working group in a new effort involving development of sustainability indicators related to the food processing industry.

According to a press release from Bunge Limited -- one of the four companies involved -- the GRI will establish best practices for global sustainability reporting in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Program and with input from world business, environmental, human rights, research and labor organizations. The other three food companies to join are Nestlé, Tyson and Green Mountain Coffee.

These companies, along with GRI, will develop the sector-specific sustainability indicators. The resulting Sector Supplement on Food Processing will be open for a public comment period. The working group will eventually include 10 food processing companies and 10 sectoral stakeholders as members.

"Bunge in Brazil has operations in different stages of the food supply chain, from farm fields to consumers' tables," said Adalgiso Telles, corporate communications director for Bunge's companies in Brazil. "We work with many partners on increasing sustainability performance, because we know that's a good way to improve business as a whole. We look forward to welcoming the working group participants in São Paulo at a first meeting early 2008 to develop these guidelines."

GRI, known for its multi-stakeholder approach, aims to form a complete group by early December 2007 and is currently recruiting food processing companies from emerging markets to join as working group partners. Recruitment also is under way for investors and experts from fair-trade, labor, social and environmental, health and well-being organizations, and other sectoral stakeholders.

The food processing initiative complements GRI's general G3 Guidelines for sustainability reporting that are intended to help companies track sustainability progress in multiple areas.

For more information on efforts in this area, visit GRI's Web site at "http://www.globalreporting.org/Home".

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