Industry

Sustainability in Agribusiness: Power in Partnership

Sustainability rises among agribusiness trends. The U.S. Soybean Export Council enables companies to advance these initiatives.

For generations, farmers have prioritized sustainability. What’s new: the value of on-farm sustainable practices for companies and end-users. Sustainability has evolved and today is a strategic management approach that enables companies to thrive in competitive markets, and U.S. Soy works to support these efforts in the Americas, and across the globe.

According to an FAO Report entitled Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021, the number of people living with some hunger increased and is at its highest point since 2000 after a 30% increase just from 2019 to 2020. Sustainable and efficient value chains and diversification of the food system are critical for healthy diets. Companies, farmer organizations, NGOs, and governments must all act together to deliver.

“Our relationship with local communities, regulatory bodies and other collaborators positively changed with the implementation of sustainability practices,” said Oscar Botero, President of Piscicola Botero, one of the largest aquaculture and tilapia producers in Colombia.

Botero was one of many speakers who shared the stage at the U.S. Soy Americas Agribusiness Sustainability Conference, where he explained the company’s sustainability journey as a long-term investment.

“The transition started when I joined my family’s company, and it took at least five years to raise awareness about sustainability,” he said. “It’s ongoing, continuously improving operations, outputs and relationships with the environment and stakeholders.”

How can agribusinesses prioritize sustainability, commercialize sustainable products, and navigate political implications of sustainability strategies? That’s where the power of partnership come in.

“More than a decade ago, the U.S. Soy industry began to take steps to measure our farming practices, so that we could identify areas of progress and use data and our own farmers’ pride of ownership in their family operations to help the international customers of U.S. Soy meet their sustainability goals,” said Jim Sutter, CEO of the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

According to the Field to Market National Indicators Report 2021, since 1980, U.S. Soy farmers have reduced GHG emissions by 42%, improved water use efficiency by 61%, reduced soil erosion by 35%, and increased soy production by 130%. Farmers’ value of sustainable practices and their focus on the environment enable customers of U.S. Soy.

“Thanks to U.S. Soy, we are improving our product offer and marketing campaigns of export products that will land on U.S. retailers’ shelves by mid-2022,” said Leonel González, Procurement Manager, RAGASA, one of Mexico’s leading companies focused on oilseeds and plant based products. “Our success comes from integrating sustainability in the vision, mission and values of our company.”

Byron Urrutia, General Manager, COMAYMA, one of Guatemala’s leading animal feed companies, added that sustainable practices are increasing in demand, and will soon be a basic competitive advantage in the marketplace.

“Sustainability is one of the most important opportunities that USSEC has imprinted in our company,” Urrutia said. “Since our engagement with USSEC, we’ve transitioned our strategy toward sustainability and better met the cooperative values that founded our company.”

Conducted biannually, the U.S. Soy Americas Agribusiness Sustainability Conference, which is partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain, is the premier event for companies concerned with their future in the marketplace and looking to make strides in sustainable positioning. Sixty industry leaders gathered to explore how sustainability can give them an edge in an increasingly competitive business environment and the solutions U.S. Soy delivers.

“USSEC is helping set a reference for how things are done in the sustainability age, and we are providing multiple tools to elevate our stakeholder businesses,” said Carlos Salinas, USSEC Regional Director for the Americas. “With USSEC’s collaboration, customers are developing markets and meeting local demand using sustainable U.S. Soy. We look forward to deepening the partnerships.”

Attendees at the U.S. Soy Americas Agribusiness Sustainability Conference included top executives in management, marketing, planning, procurement, strategy, sales and sustainability areas from importers, crushers and end-users of U.S. Soy products from the Americas region.

“We are committed to building a sustainability network that services livestock, feed manufacturers and crush industries in the Americas in response to global needs,” said Bustamante, U.S. Soy Marketing Specialist for the Americas with USSEC.

Learn more about sustainability efforts and find upcoming events at ussec.org.

  • Partially funded by U.S. Soy farmers, their checkoff and the soy value chain

Sustainability in Agribusiness: Power in Partnership

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Brandelyn Twellman

Ag Communicator

Missouri

Brandelyn Twellman is a freelance content creator, specializing in writing and social media management in the agricultural industry.