Markets may well be the most finely tuned mechanism we have for allocating resources efficiently around short-term costs and prices. But absent a robust framework of social and cultural values and priorities to channel market operations these efficient markets will lead to vast inequity and depletion of critical resources.
In my closing remarks at the Sustainable Food Laboratory Summit I explained that I did not think sustainability was a goal, a metric, or even an approach to doing business. Rather, it is a principle. And it has at its core a fundamental rethinking of space and time.
It became clear in talking with farmers, ranchers, businesspeople, chefs and public advocates during the Sustainable Food Laboratory summit that there is a ‘goodness’ premium associated with these three linked terms. It was equally clear that few people have a clear sense of what these terms mean, beyond an evocation of being different and somehow better than conventional produce.
At meeting after meeting, the conversation almost always turns to metrics and data. And while we need better data and better metrics - knowing of course that we do what we measure - we also need to remember for what reasons we are collecting data. Measurement alone is not the goal.
Hannah Jones, VP of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike, had the most memorable lines among dozens of speakers at two recent conferences, the “Ceres Conference 2011: Igniting Innovation, Scaling Sustainability” and The Conference Board’s “Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability” gathering in Washington, DC
I have worked with Jonathan to full satisfaction on a number of small, strategic projects. He is a creative thinker with a deep understanding of the intricacies of sustainable agriculture and with a keen eye for business value.
Jan Kees Vis
Global Director Sustainable Sourcing Development, Unilever