A Message from the Food, Beverage & Agriculture Sector

The FB&A Sector meet in Washington, DC on January 12 and 13, 2011. The mission of this meeting was to provide a review of the Sustainability Measurement and Reporting System (SMRS), to update members on research taking place within the sector, to present an update on the orange juice and wheat cereal prototypes, and to discuss future products on which to focus in the FB&A Sector.

There has been progress on prototyping within the SMRS since the meeting in Amsterdam in December, 2010. Cash East, coordinator for the Measurement Sciences Working Group, presented the initial findings of the Orange Juice and Wheat Cereal prototype baseline models. These models were built with data provided by the product teams (a sub-set of FB&A companies with particular expertise in one of the prototype products). Additional data were derived from the Ecoinvent database and other literature sources. The results will identify “hotspots” for each impact category (the prototype impact categories are GHG emissions, total energy use, and total water consumption). The FB&A sector will next identify SPIs and SPDs (sustainable practices) to address each of these hotspots. A detailed explanation for each prototype is available on Workspace (ws.sustainabilityconsortium.org). FB&A members expressed a desire for a detailed explanation of the models, including all data sources and model assumptions. TSC researchers are organizing a webinar to provide this detail.

A breakout session was conducted to provide participants with an opportunity to discuss and provide input for the prototypes. The following is a list of key points gathered from the participant presentations:

– Need clear mapping of goals, timelines, and benchmarks

– Clarity needed on how members can be part of research strands (social, biodiversity, water)

– Clarity needed on assumptions and sources used for prototypes (more data needed for each supply chain category, such as “on farm”)

– Clarity needed on what was learned from prototyping process

– Need to identify how SPIs and SPDs will be reviewed and approved