Lessons on Supplier Sustainability from the Agriculture Sector

There are three things you need to know about the agriculture sector and sustainability:

  1. The agriculture sector is responsible for about 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and about 8% of US greenhouse gas emissions. 
  2. Up to 80% (and sometimes more) of the emissions from agriculture products (food, feed, etc.) occur on the farm and during packaging.
  3. It is also one of the sectors most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change (shifting weather patterns, drought, extreme weather events, etc.). 

It makes sense then, that the Carbon Disclosure Project would choose agriculture as the focus of their 2011 pilot study on carbon emissions and the supply chain. Using the examples of tomatoes and potatoes, the research team looked at how effective, robust, and accessible it was to gather data from agriculture suppliers. The results, compiled in Unearthed: Agricultural Emissions in the Corporate Supply Chain, are fascinating and offer lessons for companies in a variety of industries -- particularly those with major supply chain sustainability challenges.

Below, we showcase the first of four video clips with Kenton Harmer, one of the lead researchers on the CDP agriculture report (and a great friend to Strategic Sustainability Consulting). In this introduction, Kenton provides an overview of the report's findings and discusses some of the surprising discoveries uncovered in his research.

A Conversation with Kenton Harmer of Common Fields - Part 1 of 4

Thanks to Kenton for his insight -- and stay tuned for follow-up articles with the next three clips from our interview!

About Kenton Harmer

Kenton Harmer is the Senior Vice President of Milepost Consulting and Co-Director of Common Fields.  Common Fields, the agriculture practice of Milepost Consulting, is an industry leader at creating and implementing evidence-based sustainability strategies for the agriculture sector.   As one of the founding partners of Common Fields, Kenton’s experience is in developing methodologies and systems that measure the sustainability performance of agricultural operations and sectors.  With an MBA in Sustainable Management, Kenton specializes in translating this technical data into strategies and lasting changes that improve an organization’s market position and long-term profitability.  Contact him at kenton@common-fields.com.