Part 1 of a 2-part series calling for Big Ag innovation in sustainability
Each day, I try to carve out some piece of time to keep up with industry news. I’m guessing you do too. Have you noticed that social media’s really been a buzz these past several weeks with talk of Big Ag and a sustainable food supply?
There’s been announcements of corporate ag support for climate change policy, bullish visions of big data possibilities, promises of precision technologies making farming more sustainable, and more (all encouraging news if you’re an agtech start-up specializing in soil and water management, ehh??).
Two articles in particular caught my eye last week and led me to pause with concern. For anyone tasked with helping farmers meet the soil and water management challenges that lie ahead, I think you’ll share my concern.
First, I read a post by David Festa with the Environmental Defense Fund. It said this, “When we think about sustainable food production, most people don’t think about solutions coming from Big Business. Yet corporations have the potential to become our biggest ally in meeting SDG 12, the sustainability development goal set forth by the United Nations to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns by 2030.”
I agree! Big Business, in particular agribusiness, is the only hope we have of meeting this or any other target for improved environmental management that requires engagement of the agriculture community (more to come on this thought in Part 2).
That same morning, I read this quote in Green Biz from Will Rosenzweig, executive director of the recently launched Food Business School. He was specifically referencing food industry conglomerates. “Of course the theme is all about innovation… Everybody knows they need it. They don’t exactly know what it is, or how to do it, but everybody is recognizing the speed at which things are changing.”
Of course! Everyone knows that Big Business can’t innovate, right?
So…our greatest hope for ag sustainability success lies within Big Business and, at least traditionally, Big Business isn’t so good at generating transformational ideas. Ouch!
In my next post, I’ll share some ideas on how those tasked with implementing sustainability in Big Ag might overcome the Big Business innovation stigma.