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Center for Sustainable Business | Food and Agriculture Sustainability Strategies Framework

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Return on Sustainability Investment

Food and Agriculture Sustainability Strategies Framework

Using the ROSI methodology to drive the transition to sustainable agriculture across supply chains

ROSI Helps Food & Agriculture Companies Drive Value Across the Supply Chain by Monetizing Investments in Sustainable Business Practices

The food & agriculture industry increasingly faces material environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues including climate change-induced extreme weather events, pollution, ecosystem impacts and water scarcity.  Farmer and worker livelihoods and safety are directly impacted by these factors. As companies grapple with COVID-related supply chain disruptions, consumer behavior shifts and employee wellbeing challenges, sustainability investment presents an opportunity to develop more resilient organizations.  

Building on work in the apparel industry, NYU Stern CSB is developing a Food and Agriculture Sustainability Strategies Framework that identifies sustainability strategies and their related practices and develops monetization frameworks to demonstrate the financial benefits of sustainability investments in the industry. Inputs into the framework include:
  • Food and agriculture-focused ROSI projects and case studies completed by NYU Stern CSB research staff including Deforestation-free Beef in Brazil and Sustainability-Focused Mars Supply Chains (see example monetization tool)
  • Grant-funded projects including those funded by HSBC which includes partnering with ABinBev, Ingredion, & Hero Group on developing ROSI case studies in sustainable agriculture
  • Individually-funded ROSI projects for various companies including Cargill and InvestIndustrial providing full or partial sustainability benefit assessments, monetization metrics and models for companies.
Click here to download an overview of the Food and Agriculture Sustainability Strategies Framework.

Food & Agriculture Sustainable Strategies Framework

Based on research, experience, and engagement with industry leaders, we have identified the following sustainability strategies used by the industry to include in the framework:
Improving Water Security Graphic
Improving Soil Health Graphic
Mitigating & Adapting to Climate Change Graphic
Reducing Use of Harmful Chemicals Graphic
Protection of Biodiversity & Ecosystem Conservation Graphic
Treating Animals with Respect Graphic
Circularity into Food Waste Management Graphic
Implementing Sustainable Sourcing Graphic
Improving Nutritional Profile of Food
Adopting Sustainable Packaging Solutions Graphic
Employee & Supplier Well-being Graphic
Sustainable Brand Marketing & Communications Graphic

Thank You to our Sponsor, Company Partners, and Research Team

CSB contributors to the project include Tensie Whelan, Chisara Ehiemere, Elyse Douglas, Divya Chandra, Rithu Raman, and Maggie Paruta. We would like to thank our funder, HSBC Bank USA, and our company partners, including ABinBev, Hero Group, and Ingredion. Findings from other individually-funded ROSI projects with Cargill, InvestIndustrial, Mars, and McCormick are also contributing greatly to the development of our Food & Agriculture framework. Lastly, we thank our student assistants Chana Rosenthal (EMBA '22), and Stella Yao (MPA '21).