Sustainable agriculture improves revenues and cuts costs

09 April 2024 14:18

New York - Investments in sustainable agricultural practices pay off, including those that leverage circular economies, a new Deloitte report written in conjunction with New York University found. But these investments pay off in different ways according to their place in the value chains that typical agricultural markets.

The world’s farmers are growing enough food to reduce food insecurity significantly. But farmers and food companies must also embrace more sustainable business strategies to reduce their environmental impacts and survive climate change and other challenges, according to a new Deloitte report written with New York University researchers.

Entitled “Unleashing Sustainable Value in Food and Agriculture,” the report published in March surveyed 350 food and agriculture executives in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. The executives said sustainable operations and processes, including embracing circular economies, generated better revenues and saved money.

“Compared to other sectors, food and agriculture is already seeing the impacts of climate change on its business and is uniquely positioned to drive change through its connection to sustaining climate, nature, and humanity,” the report’s authors wrote in the report’s executive summary.

Around 79 of the survey’s respondents said their firms increased revenues by 2 percent after investing in sustainability strategies. 74 percent saw cost decreases of 2 percent or more from these investments. Another 60 percent foresaw more value from sustainability strategies in the next two years.

Companies’ financial benefits depend on their geography and place in the value chains where food is grown, distributed, and consumed, however.

The report’s authors, for example, recommended that farmers, food providers, and other agriculture-related businesses make sure they recycle and reuse their waste properly. The report noted that a third of the food produced worldwide is lost to waste. Around 14 percent goes missing between harvest and retail. These problems incur around $1 trillion in economic losses annually globally. ce/jd

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