SAI Platform releases a Communication Guidebook in response to member’s needs

23rd September 2022

Header background picture


The communication guidebook helps members overcome the challenges of communicating
internally on sustainable agriculture topics.

Section background picture

SAI Platform released a new Communications Guidebook on 21st September in response to members needs. Enabling members to lift and shift easily digestible content into their own internal presentations, the Communications Guidebook will assist members in communicating effectively on environmental sustainability topics including water, climate, soil, and nature.

Communicating on the importance of agricultural sustainability is a challenge for many SAI Platform members. As food and drink companies place greater emphasis on sustainability and therefore engage their wider internal teams on sustainable sourcing, the nuances and implications of implementing better practices at the farm level can be difficult to convey.

“The landscape of sustainability has changed. Increasingly, industry is being held accountable and this accountability is extending to all levels of the supply chain. While sustainability has existed in many organisations for decades, it is now a strategic priority. We are required to provide greater transparency, all the way to the farm level. This means bringing new departments up to speed on a topic that is not only challenging, but has a long and complex history.”

Christopher Munke-Svendsen, Head of Sustainable Agriculture Development, Nordzucker.

While many of the company representatives within SAI Platform are well-versed on sustainable agricultural practices, and the challenges, importance, and implications therein, sustainable agriculture is a relatively new area for other departments within their organisations. This creates a challenge for SAI Platform members when trying to relay the importance of their work and gain buy-in from senior management, procurement, and sales teams in particular.  

As Annelie Selander, Group Sustainability Director for Nomad Foods commented, “We are excited by this because it means that we can bring the story of farming home and make it accessible to those who are new to the sustainability space. For us, this is important because we are using the FSA as a foundation to help us progress towards our goal of sourcing all our vegetables from sustainable farming practices by 2025.”

“To drive this critical shift, we want to raise awareness of what sustainable agriculture means. We also want to help give farmers a platform to explain the reality of farming and how they are working within the FSA framework to make our supply chain more sustainable. This allows us to better communicate the value they bring to our internal and external stakeholders” she adds.

The creation of the Communications Guidebook was led by a Steering Committee made of representatives from SAI Platform member companies, including Griffith’s Foods, Kellogg Company, Nomad Foods, Nordzucker, and Ocean Spray. The support of graduate students from the University of Guelph resulted in a unique collaborative experience between industry and academia.

Content was developed by interviewing 10 farmers in 7 countries across 3 continents about the sustainability challenges they face on the ground and the messages they would like to convey to industry about the day-to-day decisions they make in order to balance the demands of production, farm economics, and the environment. SAI Platform has now collated information into a guidebook that includes validated farmer quotes, alongside statistical information.  

While the full breadth of experiences and locally relevant knowledge cannot be captured in a brief guide, the content provides insights into common overarching themes. There are 5 modules available: General Information, Land & Soil, Climate, Water, and Nature and the Communication Guidebook is supported by an infographic that links together the major takeaways from each topic to demonstrate how these concepts are interlinked. Throughout the development of the Communication Guidebook, the Steering Committee emphasised the importance of relating farmer stories.

“A farm is its own ecosystem, with many management challenges. Often, as you move up the chain, there can be a disconnect with what is happening on the ground. Kellogg’s Better Days™ ESG strategy is committed to supporting 1 million farmers and workers by the end of 2030, and we believe it’s crucial to recognise that growers are making decisions every day in the best interest of their farm business. Quite often this means making decisions that have trade-offs between cost, time, yield, and sustainability that we all need to be aware of.”

Emily O’Halloran, KNA Responsible Sourcing Manager, Kellogg Company.

Join us for an online webinar on 25th October as we present the guidebook and discuss with our members the challenges and successes they have had in communicating sustainability within their own organisations.

SAI Platform members can access the editable version of the Communication Guidebook by logging into My SAI Platform. Non-members can access the read-only version below.