United States food companies that rely on farmers to supply products must now become more active to ensure crops are cultivated without damaging the water, soil and environment. Ceres, a nonprofit network of investors, companies and public interest groups, released a report focusing on climate change’s effect on corn production.
The nonprofit emphasized the need for farmers and companies they supply to deal with weather extremes like droughts, an increase in groundwater-depleting irrigation and fertilizer use. General Mills and Unilever, which have adopted sustainability programs, worked with Ceres for the report and suggested the Ceres set up specific goals for the companies and farmers.
Ceres recommends companies substitute other grains for corn where environmental benefits show and tell investors about the company’s exposure to climate and water-related risks within the agricultural supply chain. The report included suggestions such as establishing corporate policies for goals to reduce the environmental impact, procurement contracts that require sustainably grown crops and goals to identify problems of high water stress, groundwater pollution and overuse of fertilizer.