DRIVING IMPACT BY STREAMLINED REPORTING FROM FIELD TO RETAIL
A Case Study with TSC, Field to Market, MyFarms, Ingredion, Coca-Cola
The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), alongside Field to Market, MyFarms, Ingredion, Coca-Cola North America recently announced a unique partnership to help streamline communication of field-level data on-farm through a combination of software and aligning current sustainability assessments. Consumers are increasingly interested in knowing how their food is produced and where it comes from. Numerous platforms from across the food and agriculture supply chain are working to meet this demand – yet the challenges to translate farm performance data from field to fork remains a costly barrier to sustainability improvement.
Since many of the key supply chain impacts of consumer goods occur on the farm-level, TSC faced a challenge: how to connect sustainability systems from farm to retail. TSC partnered with Field to Market, a multi-stakeholder alliance representing more than 145 organizations across the food and ag value chain, to bring their robust, data driven Fieldprint Platform to document and demonstrate this impact alongside TSC. TSC and Field to Market created a “data translator” to enable farm supply chain transparency while removing some of the data reporting burden from growers, ingredient suppliers, and product manufacturers.
Christy Slay, TSC senior director of science and research applications states, “As the food and agriculture value chain looks to demonstrate credible sustainability progress, increased collaboration across platforms to scale sustainability data from the farm to the retailer is critical to reducing the data reporting burden.”
Streamlining and Scaling Sustainability Assessment
The Sustainability Consortium was established to create and facilitate product sustainability performance reporting from consumer goods companies to retailers in a platform called THESIS. Currently, the sustainability performance of over $1 trillion of consumer goods is reported through TSC’s THESIS platform to retailers like Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger, and others. Since many of the key supply chain impacts of consumer goods occur on the farm-level. TSC looked to Field to Market, a multi-stakeholder alliance representing more than 145 organizations across the food and ag value chain, to bring their robust, data driven Fieldprint Platform as a tool to document and demonstrate this impact alongside TSC.
Over the past five years, the two organizations have worked together to map Field to Market’s field-level metrics to TSC product categories and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with a goal of streamlining and scaling supply chain sustainability assessment and reporting. In 2019, Field to Market created an automatic data conversion function within the Fieldprint Platform to assist supply chain companies with aggregating and translating field-level data and Fieldprint scores into TSC KPI results.
“From farmers to consumer-facing brands and retailers, the entire agricultural value chain is united in the understanding that you cannot manage what you do not measure,” said Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market. “The partnership between Field to Market and TSC helps to seamlessly connect science-based, field level metrics and data with broader supply chain sustainability reporting, advancing a shared goal of improved environmental outcomes.”
Meanwhile, Field to Market works with a number of farm management software providers, including MyFarms, to integrate its pre-competitive sustainability metrics into third-party tools. MyFarms, a custom sustainability solutions software company and one of Field to Market’s Qualified Data Management Partners, saw an opportunity to help support suppliers and brands with reporting Fieldprint data into TSC’s THESIS platform. MyFarms became one of the first sustainability assessment tools to use Field to Market and TSC’s automated data conversion guidelines to directly assist a downstream brand in meeting this need.
Chris Fennig recounts, “A sustainability leader with one of the largest grain companies on the planet mentioned to me in passing one day, ‘If you want to make my life easier, automate the process of transforming Fieldprint Analysis data into the TSC KPIs’. We enjoy listening to leaders and making their lives easier.”
The “Data Translator” in Practice
Coca-Cola North America reports annual farm measurements including greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, water use intensity, and yield to The Sustainability Consortium’s THESIS KPIs which powers retail programs such as the Walmart Sustainability Index. With this seamless chain of partnerships in place, downstream brands like Coca-Cola are able to streamline these complex reporting processes to accomplish critical sustainability reporting.
In earlier years, the company reported TSC KPIs by compiling spreadsheets of data from suppliers, costing days or even weeks of valuable staff time and assuming the risk of calculation errors that comes with a manual process. The solution to eliminate this costly process came by partnering with their ingredient supplier, Ingredion, and farm software platform, MyFarms. For Ingredion, there was a clear opportunity to meet their brand customer’s needs by easing the burden of collecting sustainability data from the farm.
“Ingredion is pleased to offer our customers access to the sustainability data they need to meet their commodity goals. Using the TSC data translator within MyFarms enables us to respond to customer needs and ensure our supply chain is making progress on key sustainability issues,” said Andrew Utterback, Senior Manager, Sustainability for Ingredion Incorporated.
This partnership enables MyFarms software to translate field-level Fieldprint analysis into TSC KPIs, providing reports to Ingredion which they can then use to inform Coca-Cola of their farm level sustainability outcomes. The process saves valuable time for Ingredion and Coca-Cola and ensures accuracy.
“By streamlining field level data collection and analysis, we can more efficiently report results into Walmart’s sustainability platform while eliminating complexity for farmers and our suppliers,” said Jon Radtke, water sustainability program director for Coca-Cola North America. “This level of accuracy and transparency helps support Coca-Cola’s commitment to advancing the sustainability of our priority agricultural commodities.”
While TSC strives to completely automate the process for reporting into their THESIS platform on Supply Shift, this innovative partnership with Field to Market and MyFarms enables a huge step forward in meeting the largest challenge — automating the aggregation and reporting from farm to brand for retail reporting. As consumer demand for sustainability continues to grow, collaborative and science-based approaches across the supply chain are the key to ensuring brands can document and demonstrate their collective impact in improving environmental outcomes. Through streamlined reporting food companies can spend less time on collecting and analyzing data and focus resources on engaging their supply chain to drive positive impact.
Through collaboration farm data are translated into sustainability metrics reducing the reporting burden and enabling faster and higher quality performance reports.