Food and Ag Commercial Processing Sustainability Framework







Customer preferences are evolving for a range of industries and products in the marketplace. A large food and agriculture processor in the Upper Midwest is consequently evaluating operations and overall corporate approach to improve efficiency, profitability and meet customer demand on a range of sustainability-related priorities.  

Knowing WSB’s expertise with sustainability planning, the client contracted WSB to lead this project. Our team performed customer and competitive market research along with stakeholder relations facilitation including C-Suite conversations to guide the development of the framework. Next steps include the creation of a company-wide Sustainability Team, executive sponsorship of this strategic focus area, governance and structure of information flow, and the development of a strategic communications plan. The newly created Sustainability Team will guide: 

  • Centralization of data 
  • Trade group partnership initiatives  
  • Successes to share more broadly 
  • Risk and issue identification   
  • Pilot projects  

Long term implementation of the framework will focus on cost-effective energy, water, land use, manufacturing processing efficiencies to reduce energy and water use, decrease waste, enhance community relations and social impact. 

There are often a variety of challenges when trying to make changes to the way a company operates, and this client is no different.  These challenges include, but are not limited to: 

  • Need to evolve internal team roles and processes 
  • Shifting customer demand 
  • Uncertain and shifting regulatory environment 
  • Stakeholder pressure on complex issues 
  • Gaps in available data 
  • Messaging for key audiences 

Our Sustainability team is currently working with this client to address these challenges. They start by auditing the company situation to identify opportunities for improvement. We work with the client to create an internal team that will be engaged throughout the effort to ensure all perspectives are represented at the table. We work with this internal team to determine goals and metrics for the effort, identify and create messaging for internal and external audiences, develop the business case for recommended changes, risk management and customer satisfaction. Throughout this process our team of experts guide and inform the project based on existing corporate sustainability practices, environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy and established frameworks. 

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