Resources

Corn:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts research on multiple commodities, including corn. This includes data on production and consumption, prices and trade and is published through the Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

  • The Sustainability Consortium offers high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities across a number of commodities, including corn. 

  • The Plowprint Report (2016) by World Wildlife Fund tracks year-to-year grassland conversion to cropland across the focal regions of the Mississippi River Basin and Great Plains. 

  • Water & Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production (2014) by Ceres provides data and interactive maps on the issues facing U.S. corn production, as well as detailed recommendations for how corn-buying companies and their investors can catalyze more sustainable agricultural practices that will reduce risk, preserve and enhance yields, and protect precious water resources. 

  • It’s Time to Rethink America’s Corn System (2013) by Jonathan Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, offers a view of challenges with the current corn farming system and possible alternatives. 

  • Climate and Corn-Based Cropping Systems Coordinated Agricultural Project, a collaborative project among 10 Midwest land grant universities and a USDA agricultural research service, is focused on farm management practices and their potential for making corn-based agriculture more resilient. 

  • Greater Sensitivity to Drought Accompanies Maize Yield Increase in the U.S. Midwest (2014), published in Science magazine examines corn’s increasing sensitivity to drought conditions. 


 

Dairy:

 

Soybean:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts research on multiple commodities, including soybeans. This includes data on production and consumption, prices and trade and is published through the Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service. 

  • Both The Sustainability Consortium and World Wildlife Fund offer high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities across a number of commodities, including soybeans. 

  • A U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) has been developed by members of the soybean industry (American Soybean Association, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the United Soybean Board and state soybean boards). It uses existing aggregated data collected from farmers nationwide who participate in national conservation programs. As of March 2016, 98.2 percent of U.S. soybean producers participate in the U.S. Farm Program and are subject to audit. 

  • Soy Ladder: A Framework for the Measurement of Soy Usage in Consumer Goods Businesses (2015) by CGF is designed to help companies gain insight into where soybeans enter their supply chains and which product lines contribute the most to the company’s “soy footprint.” It builds upon the Sustainable Soy Sourcing Guidelines CGF published following its 2010 zero net deforestation resolution. 

  • Soybean Overlooked? The Investor Case for Deforestation-free Soy (2015) by CDP explores the regulatory risks in Brazil for companies purchasing products containing soybean associated with deforestation, discusses the implications for investors, and provides a set of recommendations for action. 

  • The Growth of Soy: Impacts and Solutions (2014) by World Wildlife Fund takes a deep dive into the impacts related to soybean production and provides a number of solutions for actors along the food value chain. 

  • Soya and the Cerrado: Brazil’s Forgotten Jewel (2011) by WWF-UK, analyses the impacts on the Cerrado from soybean expansion. 

  • Strategies for Reducing the Negative Impacts of Soy Production: Responsible Soy Production (2010) by The Dutch Soy Coalition provides background on various certification efforts related to soybean production. 

  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has published Tackling Climate Change through Livestock (2013), which provides an in-depth analysis on issues and practical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to livestock, including those related to producing feed for livestock. 

  • The maps in Ceres’ Water & Climate Risks Facing U.S. Corn Production (2014) are a useful resource for identifying sourcing regions with high nitrogen pollution, water stress or groundwater depletion because of overlapping soybean and corn growing regions. 


 

Sugarcane:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts research on multiple commodities, including sugarcane. This includes data on production and consumption, prices and trade and is published through the Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
  • Both The Sustainability Consortium and World Wildlife Fund offer high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities across a number of commodities, including sugarcane.
  • Bittersweet: Sustainability issues in the sugar cane (sic) supply chain (2015), by Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO), provides an overview of different sustainability issues in the production of sugarcane globally. Based on new field research the report expands on working conditions and land conflict specifically in Malawi’s sugar industry. It also discusses international trade and governance, identifies important corporate actors, and analyses supply chain policies of leading Dutch retailers.
  • Sugar Rush: Land rights and the supply chains of the biggest food and beverage companies (2013), by Oxfam, analyzes how sugarcane has been driving large-scale land acquisitions and land conflicts and impacting small-scale food producers and their families.

 

Wheat:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conducts research on multiple commodities, including wheat. This includes data on production and consumption, prices and trade and is published through the Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
  • The Sustainability Consortium offers high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities for some products made with wheat (e.g., bread). 
  • The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) provides resources to strengthen national agricultural research and extension services in wheat (and corn/maize) growing nations. It partners with researchers and farmers to develop and promote more productive and precise wheat (and corn/maize) farming methods and tools that save money and resources such as soil, water and fertilizer.
  • The Plowprint Report (2016) by World Wildlife Fund tracks year-to-year grassland conversion to cropland across the focal regions of the Mississippi River Basin and Great Plains.

 

Fiber Based Packaging:

  • The Sustainable Packaging Coalition provides a broad range of publications and resources to further the vision and ever-evolving implementation of sustainable packaging. 
  • Several free tools have been created by Environmental Paper Network (EPN),World Wildlife Fund and Canopy (both members of the EPN). These resources support purchasers in setting up a responsible paper purchasing policy, using paper efficiently and in choosing paper that has leading environmental attributes, such as recycled and FSC-certified virgin fiber content, agricultural residue content, better bleaching technologies and reduced carbon footprint.
  • Both The Sustainability Consortium and World Wildlife Fund offer high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities across a number of commodities, including fiber-based packaging. WWF has also through the Global Forest and Trade Network (GFTN) produced a series of position papers on related issues (such as illegal logging and the timber trade).
  • Sustainable Procurement of Wood and Paper-based Products, Version 3.2 (2014), by WRI and WBCSD, provides practical steps for addressing issues associated with purchasing the broad range of wood and paper-based products (including fiber-based packaging).
  • Realizing zero-deforestation: Transforming supply chains for the future (Global Forests Report, 2015) by CDP provides case studies and a five-stage process for companies to help drive deforestation out of their supply chains.
  • Respecting Land and Forest Rights: A Guide for Companies (2015) by The Interlaken Group and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) was developed through a multi-stakeholder forum to support companies in respecting land rights by aligning operations with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure (VGGT).

 

Palm Oil:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts research on multiple commodities, including palm oil. This includes data on production and consumption, prices and trade and is published through the Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
  • Both The Sustainability Consortium and World Wildlife Fund offer high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities across a number of commodities, including palm oil. In addition,  WWF has evaluated the steps retailers, manufacturers and food service companies from around the world have taken in its Palm Oil Buyers Scorecard and also provides a set of recommended actions.
  • The Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit or SPOTT provides information about the sustainability of 50 of the World’s largest palm oil producers using publicly available information. It was developed by The Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
  • World Resources Institute (WRI), provides several resources including the Suitability Mapper which was developed under Project POTICO with Sekala to identify potentially suitable sites for sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia. It has also published How to Identify Degraded Land for Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia. A related map through the Forest Cover Analyzer enables users to assess forest cover change and risks related to sustainable palm oil production in areas of their choice in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
  • Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance (2015) by Humanity United provides the normative standard for labor and working conditions on palm oil plantations and in palm oil mills along with guidance on a set of practices to operationalize these principles. It is focused on the hired labor workforce on palm oil plantations and mills, where the risk of worker exploitation is greatest. 
  • Modern Slavery in the Palm Oil Industry (2012) produced by Accenture for Humanity United, provides an overview of the global palm oil production market and supply chain, describes various examples of labor exploitation in Malaysia and Indonesia, the work of the RSPO, and recommended interventions for governments and companies to address the conditions under which the palm oil industry recruits and employs workers.
  • Verite has assessed labor conditions in multiple countries. Its appraisals were undertaken in Malaysia and Indonesia, and Guatemala and Ecuador.
  • International Labor Rights Foundation (ILRF) analysis with partner Sawit Watch of on-the-ground realities at three RSPO certified palm oil plantations in 2013 in Indonesia
  • Bloomberg’s examination of abuses in Indonesia
  • No one is safe: Illegal Indonesian palm oil spreads through global supply chains despite global sustainability commitments and certification (2016) by Eyes on the Forest, which reports on how Crude Palm Oil (CPO) tainted by illegally grown Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) from government protected areas deep inside Sumatra entered the supply chains of palm oil suppliers.
  • Sustainable Palm Sourcing Guidelines (2015) by The Consumer Goods Forum, which is intended to assist companies in the development of their own policies for effectively sourcing palm oil. It was developed by a large set of retailers and manufacturers from across the CGF membership, with input from a number of external stakeholders.
  • Sustainable Sourcing Guide for Palm Oil Users: A practical handbook for US consumer goods and retail companies (2015) by World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International, which helps companies take steps to understand their palm oil footprint and the various issues related to sourcing certified sustainable palm oil. 
  • Profitability and Sustainability in Palm Oil Production Analysis of Incremental Financial Costs and Benefits of RSPO Compliance (2011) by World Wildlife Fund, which shows RSPO-compliant plantations and mills are more profitable and have improved staff morale and reduced turnover, better yields, more consistency, along with improved community and government relations.
  • Realizing zero-deforestation: Transforming supply chains for the future (2015) by CDP, which provides examples of actions being taken by companies and lays out a five-stage process for companies to drive deforestation out of their supply chain. The steps involve enhancing procurement processes, communicating effectively, tracking progress, collaborating along the value chain, and reviewing what’s working, and what’s not.
  • Palm Oil Investor Review: Investor Guidance on Palm Oil. The role of investors in supporting the development of a sustainable palm oil industry (2012) by World Wildlife Fund, which is based on a 2012 review of 35 palm oil investors with significant exposure to the 68 largest listed entities in the palm oil sector. The report includes results of the survey, as well as company and market research and a set of recommendations for investors and RSPO.
  • How Investors are Changing the Supply Chain for Palm Oil (2014) by Green Century Capital Management, which reviews how investors can and have driven change.

 

Beef:

  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture conducts research on multiple commodities, including beef. This includes data on production and consumption, prices and trade and is published through the Economic Research Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
  • Both The Sustainability Consortium and World Wildlife Fund offer high-level insights and analysis about potential risks and opportunities across a number of commodities, including beef.
  • Tackling Climate Change through Livestock: A Global Assessment of Emissions and Mitigation Opportunities (2013) by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) provides an in-depth analysis of issues and practical solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to livestock, including beef cattle. This report provides more recent data than the oft-quoted 2006 FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow.
  • The Business Benchmark on Farm Animal Welfare Report (2015), provides an annual evaluation of food company’s actions on farm animal welfare. In the 2015 report, 90 companies were assessed; of the companies with significant operations in the U.S., McDonald’s and Unilever are ranked as having the strongest commitments to farm animal welfare. 
  • Good Practice Note: Improving Animal Welfare in Livestock Operations (2014) by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), highlights the business case for improved animal welfare and describes good management practices.
  • Deforestation and the Brazilian Beef Value Chain (2014) by Datu Research explores how beef-focused efforts to combat deforestation are creating unintentional impacts on ranchers’ land use decisions, raising the possibility that future deforestation threats will merely shift out of the beef industry and into other sectors.