Ambition 2025 - Sustainable supply chains

Our ambition: To promote the recognition and uptake of sustainability standards and initiatives in the food and drink sector.

There are many compelling reasons for taking action to improve social and environmental impacts throughout the supply chain. Ultimately though, through supply chain sustainability, companies protect the long-term viability of their business and secure social license to operate.

The uptake of sustainability schemes to drive responsible and sustainable sourcing has already made significant progress, with many new initiatives emerging. These schemes are now adopting a more holistic approach, addressing environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability. Many food and drink companies now recognise a sustainable supply chain is no longer just an optional nice to have but a business imperative, and many FDF members are already fully committed in this area.

But the landscape has become saturated, with a clear pattern of duplication and overlap amongst many standards emerging. Consequently, there is general consensus on the need for all food chain stakeholders to work together in a coordinated way to advance a company's supply chain objectives, particularly for issues that are too challenging and complex to tackle alone.

Building on FDF's guide developed under the Five-Fold Ambition – 'Sustainable Sourcing: Five Steps Towards Managing Supply Chain Risk', FDF intends to promote the recognition and uptake of sustainability standards and initiatives in the food and drink sector. Through developing a comprehensive online signposting tool, we will provide members with practical and meaningful guidance, supporting a shift towards integrating sustainable sourcing into decision making at all levels throughout the supply chain.

Case studies


McCain Foods is proud of its British agricultural heritage and works closely with over 300 Red Tractor Farm assured growers in the UK to ensure high quality potatoes are grown in the most sustainable and efficient way possible, whilst promoting farming best practice.

As the largest purchaser of British potatoes, ensuring extensive traceability across the supply chain is key. As such, all McCain main crop growers in the UK are supplied by the company's dedicated seed business in Scotland, ensuring high quality raw material and increased product assurance. Long term partnerships are essential to ensuring a sustainable and resilient supply chain. McCain offers its growers multiple year contracts that reflect input cost variances and encourage on-farm efficiencies – allowing growers to take a long term view on investment in their own operations. Through the support of dedicated McCain agronomists, they support ongoing knowledge transfer and support is also given via the McCain Good Agricultural Practices programme.

"As the largest purchaser of UK potatoes, we're proud of our unique relationship with UK agriculture and our long term partnerships with our growers. Working directly with over 300 British potato growers, many of whom are in their third generation of supplying McCain, these partnerships are key to achieving a sustainable and resilient supply chain."

Nick Vermont
Regional CEO McCain Foods & Chair of the FDF Sustainability Steering Group


Warburtons has established a long term partnership approach to working with its farmers, enabling the business to ensure consistency of quality and supply, as well as confidence that the wheat is grown under a back drop of sustainable thinking.

The bakery brand's unique, hands-on relationship with its farmers is facilitated by Openfield, a British grain co-operative. The contract has been running for almost 20 years, making it the longest-running contract in the UK cereal supply chain.

Under new five year contracts implemented in 2016, Warburtons has moved to integrate focused activities that enhance both environmental and social sustainability. This is represented both in its supply contract with Openfield and duly reflected in farming contracts provided by Openfield to the farmers.

"At Warburtons we work with likeminded farmers, where sustainability is seen as integral to success and where market and environmental volatility can be managed by working in long term partnerships."

Michael McDermott Corporate Sustainability Manager, Warburtons


As the world's largest chocolate company and buyer of cocoa, Mondelez International is committed to ensuring a sustainable cocoa supply chain. The Cocoa Life program is a long-term $400 million investment to empower 200,000 cocoa farmers and reach over one million community members in six key cocoa growing origins by 2022.

Mondelez published its first progress report on the Cocoa Life sustainability program in February 2016, highlighting the wide ranging impact and efforts to date across its six cocoa-growing regions: Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil. Since its inception in 2012 to the end of 2015, Cocoa Life reached 76,700 farmers in nearly 800 communities, establishing a strong foundation and framework for the program. Results also show Cocoa Life farmers' incomes increased 49 percent and cocoa yields increased 37 percent more than the control communities.

"A vibrant cocoa supply chain is essential for the future of chocolate and we're leading its transformation by getting involved on the ground. We work with our employees, supply chains and communities to protect the wellbeing of our planet focussing on those areas where we can have the greatest impact"

Glenn Caton
President, Mondelez Northern Europe

Last reviewed: 12 Oct 2016