During a recent closed-door event hosted by Food Tank and Oatly, sustainability leaders from mission-driven food businesses discussed the sustainability challenges that they are facing and the opportunities they see to scale impact. A new report summarizes the key findings and recommendations from the roundtable.

Building relationships with producers and other supply chain actors is extremely important if food companies want to improve the sustainability of their operations, business leaders say. This entails identifying the changes that farmer partners would like to make if given the opportunity and investing in these efforts. It also means entering into long-term partnerships that provide producers with the stability they need.

Speakers at the roundtable also highlighted the need to support sustainability efforts internally. Increasing the capacity of sustainability departments by investing in and expanding the team, they say. But speakers also argue that sustainability initiatives must be framed as a core business objective that cuts across departments.

Diversity in all its forms cannot be overlooked either, speakers say. They argue that homogenization in crop types grown, ideas prioritized, leadership structures, and the flow of capital have all contributed to deep inequalities. To transform food and agriculture systems, sustainability leaders say that these major barriers to change must be dismantled.

The report also incorporates actions that policymakers can take to create the environment necessary for food systems transformation. For example, governments can make it easier for farmers, food processors, and food companies to shift toward regenerative agriculture by addressing the missing infrastructure, research, and public technical assistance. They can also set national food system and agriculture emissions targets and incorporate these into the Nationally Determined Contributions, National Biodiversity Strategies, and other related strategies.

Read the full article about mission-driven food businesses by Elena Seeley at Food Tank.