In agriculture, we hear sustainability, and we understand what it means and how it influences the industry in social, economic and environmental landscapes. Shareholder investment opportunities is an example of sustainability beyond the farm. Guillaume Mascotto is the Managing Director and Global Head of ESG Strategy with Jennison Associates, LLC. He recently spoke at National Pork Board’s Pork Management Conference in Nashville. He gave an example of sustainable buildings as a balancing act of sustainability.
“What is sustainability? So, we felt during the presentation, it would be good to go back to the basics of the definition, which is the equal balance between environmental, social and economic considerations. There’s a lot of focus on these green, if you will, certification as being sustainable. That being said, they’re not very affordable. So, we basically said, what if everything now becomes more expensive because there’s a sustainability component to it.”
From the outside looking in, there is a need for more transparency in the pork industry. “We acknowledge that this could include a little bit more investment in producing the materials and investing in a data gathering and systems management so that they can have the information on their environmental footprint, on their product safety and quality, how do they meet regulatory compliance, all of that stuff could increase costs, but it’s important because unfortunately, without that transparency the investor community will just consume the documents that they have available.”
Pork producers participate in On-Farm Sustainability Reports, which shows key data to those who buy, sell and consume pork. Mascotto says the uploaded information from producers helps them when they are evaluating companies relying on the supplier.
“As this becomes more of a standard in the industry, we will see more scale, right? More experience also in collecting and providing that information, and then of course, more experience on our site too and understanding this information. And then what we could also do once we get this information is engage with some of our investing companies and ask additional questions, right?”
Producers can request an On-Farm Sustainability Report, funded by their Checkoff investment, at porkcheckoff.org.