New Executive Committee elected as drive continues towards 2025 goals

6th December 2022

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SAI Platform welcomes three new members
to its Executive Committee

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SAI Platform is pleased to announce that a new Executive Committee (ExCo) was officially sworn in during its General Assembly in Cambridge. The 9 new and re-elected members have the mandate to lead SAI Platform in achieving its 2025 strategic goals and safeguarding the quality and financial viability of the organisation. It has been formally agreed that Robert Erhard of Nestlé and Leon Mol of Ahold Delhaize will continue their tenure as President and Treasurer respectively and SAI Platform is delighted to welcome Katharine Teague of AB Sugar as its new Vice President.

The three new members, including Emily Kunen, Senior Director of Positive Agriculture Capabilities at PepsiCo, Hansel New, Director of Sustainability at Dairy Farmers of America and Andrew Utterback, Global Lead for Sustainable and Regenerative Agriculture at Ingredion bring a wealth of industry knowledge and add further diversity in terms of sector and global representation.

L-R Emily Kunen, Hansel New and Andrew Utterback.

Having previously worked for government, NGOs and other private sector companies with diverse value chains, Emily Kunen is well positioned to represent the views of a diverse range of SAI Platform members. She has demonstrable experience in developing global strategies and implementing on the ground activities to address impacts on nature, human rights and livelihoods.

The election of Hansel New, representing Dairy Farmers of America, the farmer-owned cooperative, is crucial to ensuring that the farmer perspective is heard and respected as SAI Platform moves forward with the implementation of its new regenerative agriculture programme. Farmers are the backbone of the agricultural system and must be engaged early and often in the process if SAI Platform’s 2025 goals are to be realised.

“Collaborative action is a must and listening to others is a key to unlocking creative energy. Top-down, one-size-fits-all solutions usually don’t work, which is why the food and beverage industry needs tools and solutions that recognise and build upon existing programmes while emphasising scale of adoption and collective impact”

Hansel New, Director of Sustainability, Dairy Farmers of America.

As an ingredient manufacturer, Ingredion has direct links to the growers who supply the commodities and the global brands that market products to consumers. By being able to connect across the supply chain, Andrew Utterback sits in a unique position, bringing valuable insight into what works for growers in their operations as well as what food companies and consumers value.

Both Hansel and Andrew have been heavily involved in the successful development of SAI Platform’s globally used industry solutions, namely the Sustainable Dairy Partnership and the Farm Sustainability Assessment respectively. While Emily is relatively new to SAI Platform, partnerships, shared-value and pre-competitive collaboration are core to the approach at PepsiCo, and she is motivated by SAI Platform’s mission to harness the collective power of our members to accelerate widespread adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.

“The scale and speed at which we’ll need to develop and deploy solutions to achieve regenerative and sustainable food systems globally requires deep industry collaboration, knowledge exchange, and innovations. SAI Platform is uniquely positioned to bring the food industry together to lead transformational change so that farmers and farming communities have a viable future”

Emily Kunen, Senior Director of Positive Agriculture Capabilities, PepsiCo.

Leading the transition to more sustainable food systems within the current context of climate change and geo-political conflict requires collaborative thinking from all stakeholders. With this in mind, we asked the new ExCo members what they see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing SAI Platform as we move into 2023.

It is clear that the global food system is undergoing dramatic change and mounting risks, requiring a rapid transformation to adapt to and mitigate against climate change and geopolitical induced crop shortages. Emily Kunen explains that we are faced with both an urgency for action at scale and the reality that there’s no quick-fix for a scalable solution. “The nature of agriculture and sustainability is that the solutions we all strive for must be locally-adapted, locally-driven, and farmer-centric” she commented.

Andrew Utterback draws on SAI Platform’s experience in developing practical industry solutions as an opportunity. He sees the continuous improvement model embedded in the FSA programme, the SDP and the ERBS as being key to building resilient supply chains.

“Climate change has put Scope 3 emissions front and center for all companies that participate in agricultural supply chains. SAI Platform has built and continues to build tools that help members address Scope 3 challenges but also plans for ways to build resiliency and remain successful in the face of the many uncertainties we are currently facing” commented Andrew Utterback.  

Hansel New echoes this sentiment when speaking about the opportunity for SAI Platform to take the lead in regenerative agriculture. While there are many moving parts in the regenerative agriculture movement right now, he strongly believes that developing an adaptable solution that follows the science while keeping farmer needs first and foremost is where SAI Platform can provide real value to the global food industry.  

All three new ExCo members are confident that SAI Platform, with its broad membership base and 20 years history of deploying sustainable agriculture solutions, can lead the urgent transformation required to drive far-reaching and long-lasting impact. The more member companies collaborate and demonstrate alignment, the more SAI Platform’s approach will be validated, and the more members’ collective voices will be heard.