Introduction – SUSTAINABILITY IN FOOD PRODUCTION
In the twenty-first century, the integration of sustainability with business models is a running trend and most of the multinational organisations are exploiting this idea in order to get a superior position in the competitive market. It has been evaluated that the sustainable approach of tread has been imparting multidimensional beneficial impact, not only over the growth of the business but also the growth of the community and the planet as well. The purpose of this study is to identify the utilisation of sustainable approach in the context of food production in Australia. George Weston Food (GWF) has been selected to conduct this study to explore the practice of SUSTAINABILITY IN FOOD PRODUCTION.
The thesis statement of this study is that GWF is practising Sustainable food production approach and has created a positive impact over the economic, social and environmental aspects of the operating market and the company.
Background of the study and company
In the previous section, it has already been mentioned that sustainability is one of such ideas which provides multilayered beneficial influence over the growth of trade and commerce and also in the community and environmental level. Further, as per the idea of Crist, Mora & Engelman (2017), sustainability always creates scope for the economic development of a business unit. Likewise, this idea is quite applicable for the trade model of GWF as they have successfully integrated sustainable ideas to run their commercial activity at the cross-border level. As per the official report, GWF has expanded its business up to 46 nations around the globe, among which the trade in Australia and the UK is notable (gwf.com, 2019). This information is quite pertinent in delineating the scoped scenario of the organisation. Moreover, the organisation has got its popularity by being under the ownership of British Food PLC.
The support of business associates is another important factor which has promoted GWF in the implementation of its sustainable ideas. As per the viewpoint of Rahimifard et al. (2017), the support of the stakeholders like investors, employees and suppliers is highly crucial to run a sustainable business. As per the official reports, GWF has a strong and supportive workforce at the international level with the strength of 1, 00,000 individuals (gwf.com, 2019). Hence, from this point, it can be analysed that the organisation has got the support of its HR, one of the major stakeholders to implement sustainability. Moreover, the supportive and reliable suppliers of the company have also helped the firm to proceed to the path of success.
Sustainability- Idea definition and application
The concept and discussion regarding sustainability is needed to be stated as it is the backbone of this study. As per the statement of Vieira et al. (2018), the idea of the development of community, trade and economy of a specific location with the conservation of the natural resources is expressed by the term Sustainability. Hence, from this point, it can be analysed that minimal wastage of natural resources and the minimisation of burden over the biosphere in the context of the development of the business sector is the major intention of Sustainable growth. As per Lawrence et al. (2019), sustainable growth in the industrial sector always prefers the acceleration of the economic growth of the same by means of the development of society and environment. The same thing has been identified for GWF.
Sustainable food production in George Weston Food
Sustainable food production is the method of the production of the food where the process and the systems that are used are none polluting. The process used renewable energy that is conserved and natural resources that are used are economically efficient (Dwivedi et al. 2017). This process is safe and for the workers and for the community and it is also abided by the needs of the future generation.
Maintenance of the sustainability by George Weston Food (GWF)
The company has also maintained this sustainability in their food production because they include the environmental targets as their part of the management in their business. At the end of 2013 GWF’s water consumption was lowered down to 12 % which was the baseline compared to the other companies (gwf.com, 2020). The GWF has set the goal of the reduction in their water consumption by 20% in per ton of their goods by 2020. GWF has taken the initiative of water recirculation and the cleaning practices by rainwater along with rainwater harvesting. GWF BY 2015 has decided to supply palm oil which has been certified sustainability and the RSPO trading scheme.
The steps of reducing the emission of the greenhouse gas by their production have been taken by various operations and by monitoring the performance. The company was able to achieve a depreciation of 18.9 % in the emission of greenhouse gas (gwf.com, 2020).
Supply chain management
The GWF has audited some programs which have been certified as the vendor assurance program where the suppliers are taught about the relevant regulatory and about the industries the maintenance of the consumer standard. The GWF has been able to achieve the responsibility chain by maintaining safe transportation and warehouse traffic management. The suppliers related to the company have to agree with the company’s responsible sourcing code of conduct for the maintenance of sustainability. GWF has captured the expectation of maintaining the labor standards ethically and to prevent bribery along with that the corruption related to the sourcing of the ingredients and materials. The suppliers of the animal products must be abided by local animal welfare law and also demonstrate the certification, regulation, standards and the traceability of their published standards.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) of GWF for sustainability maintenance
The social responsibilities taken by GWF are to give employment to more than 6000 people across the 58 sites of Australia where the company is located (gwf.com, 2020). GWF is responsible for the maintenance of quality, with robust supply chain, with supporting communities along with performing the environmental targets.
Benefits of the process in economic development
In the previous section, it has been identified that GWF has been using natural ingredients for its food production and has created trustable relationships with the local suppliers to keep the uninterrupted flow of natural resources as the raw material of its food production system. This is the main factor which has invoked economic development to the organisation. As per the official report, GWF has effectively enhanced its revenue, from 2,122 million dollars to 2,243 million dollars in the year 2018 (weston.ca, 2018). From this angle it can be analysed that sustainability has its impact over the economic upliftment of an organisation in both national and international level and GWF is the most relevant example to establish this idea.
The sustainability approach has also helped the organisation to minimise its production cost and the aspect of capital investment has helped to identify this. As per the data of the annual report, the capital investment of GWF has decreased from 241 million dollars to 215 million dollars and lastly to 212 million dollars for 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively (weston.ca, 2018). Henceforth it can be analysed that, the organisation is enhancing its revenue figure with the decrease of its capital investment. This is one of the most profitable strategies which have been formulated with the help of sustainability (Tait et al. 2016). Moreover, as per the sustainability report of the GWF, the company has been using the standards of the waste hierarchy which includes recovery, recycle and reuse (gwf, 2016). This has also provided economic growth to the company.
Impact of sustainable food production in environmental conservation
Environmental sustainability can be seen as the most important concern that the world is facing at present. As per the ideas of Dwivedi et al. (2017), global warming and climate change have taken the world by storm. Food production has a significant impact on the immediate environment and has been accredited with multiple negative impacts associated with this. Food production is responsible for eutrophication, acid rain and the depletion of biodiversity as well. This, in turn, contributes largely to the phenomenon of climate change. However, as per the ideas of Pickett et al. (2019), the major impact of food production is on the use of resources such as land and water, which is an essential aspect. Eliminating such negative implications can be facilitated using sustainable food production techniques.
The use of sustainable food production techniques has evolved over the years. However, as per Govindan (2018), a rise in the global population has led to an increase in the need for food production. As a consequence, all organizations associated with the production of food, have undertaken modern farming techniques, which has taken a considerable toll on the overall environment. Nevertheless, farming techniques have evolved over the years, which have led to a minimization in the use of chemical fertilizers. Instead, the practice has shifted towards the use of organic fertilizers, which has helped in conserving the quality and nutritional value of the land (Stevens et al. 2018). Moreover, it has also helped in reducing the levels of eutrophication caused as a result of fertilizer runoff. The use of resources has also been limited by making use of several modern techniques.
Impact of GWF’s measures in environmental sustainability
The organisation is making use of IoT in farming and techniques like drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation. As per the ideas of Thyberg & Tonjes (2016), the modern irrigation techniques help in ensuring the conservation of water and at the main time reduces groundwater pollution. Furthermore, the organization makes use of organic fertilizers as well, which has helped it to enhance productivity and contain impacts on the environment considerably.
Impact over social development
Overall impact on social development
Sustainable food production is a very essential aspect as per the reports of the UN. In 2017, UN reports claim that one out of nine people across the world remains hungry for more than a day and one of three suffers from malnutrition (tiptop-foodservice.com, 2020). Given this scenario, there is a need to leverage food production, without any adverse impact on the environment and the natural resources. Therefore, sustainable food production is an essential aspect that is required to be ensured. Moreover, as per Ueasangkomsate & Santiteerakul (2016), sustainable food production also helps in ensuring lower pollution rates and preserves the nutritional value of the food products. This can largely help in ensuring healthy eating habits. This is of high social importance, as the spread of major diseases has become a common phenomenon across the world.
Use of sustainable food production has also helped in reducing the use of major non-renewable forms of resources, which can be utilized to meet the needs of the growing population. Apart from that, as Fontana et al. (2018) points out, conservation of water has become an essential need, as there is an acute scarcity of freshwater for drinking across many countries in the world. This can largely help the people of these countries to meet their water requirements and will also inhibit the growth and spread of waterborne diseases largely. Thus, sustainable food production has major social consequences, apart from the economic and environmental impacts.
Impact of GWFs activities on social development
GWF has put the best foot forward in the aspect of water conservation, as it has been able to cut down water conservation by 12% since 2013 (tiptop-foodservice.com, 2020). Moreover, the organization has set a target of reduction by 20% by the year 2020 (tiptop-foodservice.com, 2020). It also undertakes water recirculation and rainwater harvesting practices in this direction. Apart from these, GWF also undertakes energy efficiency practices and greenhouse gas elimination practices. The organization has been able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 18.9% (tiptop-foodservice.com, 2020). All these efforts have helped the organization in ensuring greater social and environmental sustainability simultaneously.
Food production is a very important aspect that is required to be taken into consideration from the point of view of sustainability. Greater sustainability in food production is reported to have a wide range of economic, environmental and social implications. Taking a sustainable approach in food production not only allows greater productivity but also ensures a higher amount of nutritional value of the overall production. Moreover, it allows the reduction of the environmental impacts associated with the practice of food production. GWF has been able to meet all these criteria with their practices. Thus, GWF is practising Sustainable food production approach and has created a positive impact over the economic, social and environmental aspects of the operating market and the company.
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