These new policies are building on ADM’s past work to increase sustainability. While in 2015 the company promised to end deforestation specifically with its palm oil and soy providers, six years later, ADM has pledged to eliminate the method from its entire supply chain.
Deforestation, in particular, has been a controversial issue among food manufacturers and ingredients suppliers, and ending its use is one of the goals ADM has a set target for. Competitor Cargill also stated in June 2020 that it too plans to eliminate deforestation by 2030 globally. Previously, Cargill outlined plans in 2019 to make its soy supply chain deforestation free, although it came under fire that same year by environmental watchdog Mighty Earth for not doing enough. Since then, Cargill reports that it has revamped some of its processes, with 95.68% of its soybeans sourced from Brazil coming from deforestation-free land as of June last year.
In addition to tackling deforestation, ADM teamed up with Kellogg last year to provide solar panels for farmers in Bolivia, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2011, ADM pledged to reduce all greenhouse gas emissions by 15% in 2020. Since the company hit those goals earlier than expected, the company upped its promise to 25% last April, as reported by Feed Navigator.
In 2018 ADM also joined Ceres’ and World Wildlife Federation’s AgWater Challenge, which creates targets for companies to be more efficient with water use. Some of ADM’s goals for the initiative include ensuring that by 2022 at least 10% of U.S. wheat processing volume comes from farmers that are monitoring their environmental impact and providing educational resources to corn, soy and wheat farmers. Fellow ingredients provider, Ingredion, is also part of the AgWater Challenge, with goals such as adopting regenerative farming on 500,000 acres of land for specific crops in high-risk watersheds by 2027.
These updated sustainability goals could boost companies’ reputations among consumers, who are demanding a more transparent supply chain. According to a report by Allied Market Research, the food traceability market is estimated to be worth more than $22 billion by 2025. These issues are impacting consumer purchases, a 2018 report from Label Institute and FMI, reveals. Seventy-five percent of respondents said they would switch to brands that take the time to provide more in-depth information beyond the label. They want additional details about allergens, certifications, fair trade and labor practices, among others.