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Companies Are Using Regenerative Sourcing to Meet Sustainability Goals

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Increasingly, consumers are demanding traceable, ethical products and greater responsibility and transparency from the companies that make them. Additionally, we are seeing a high level of awareness and movement of climate to the top of the agenda for leading textile companies that recognize climate change impact mitigation.

The resilience of agriculture inputs from suppliers is key to continued business success. To meet these challenges, companies and international coalitions are working to promote solutions through cooperative efforts.

Regenerative agriculture as a solution

One solution to meet carbon goals, sourcing resiliency and consumer demands that is gaining traction is regenerative agriculture. It provides an opportunity for companies to transform their products and supply chains from being pollution-emitters to being part of a solution that fights climate change while supporting farmers and building a more resilient agriculture system.

What is regenerative agriculture?

We are in the early days of an evolving movement with different definitions. Regenerative agriculture practices support healthy soil, people, animals and the environment. Farming and ranching practices such as cover cropping, rotational grazing and minimizing tillage can help replenish the land and boost the ability of farms and communities to weather the unpredictable effects of climate change. Regenerative agriculture not only improves soil health but also sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Broadly speaking, regenerative agriculture is a powerful tool to reach climate and sustainability goals that can be promoted through a company’s responsible sourcing strategy.

Meeting sustainability goals

The imperative for industries that rely on agricultural inputs to secure future supply is not a trend, it is smart business practice.  The imperative for industry to take action to help solve climate change is not a trend—pressure for companies to demonstrate action on climate goals through their sourcing is increasing from both NGOs and investors.

Companies and brands can use regenerative sourcing to meet their climate targets and other corporate responsibility goals, such as Science Based Target commitments, which provide companies a goal for future-proofing growth by specifying how much (and how quickly) they need to reduce GHG emissions. Targets are “science-based” if they are in line with levels needed to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius (for more information, visit the SBT website). Carbon sequestration is a key benefit of implementing regenerative practices.

Opportunities for brands, customers and employees

Through encouraging or incentivizing suppliers to implement regenerative practices, brands can drive change throughout their supply networks and accelerate their sustainability strategy. Some opportunities for companies looking to get started include:

  • Benchmarking analysis of current brand practices
  • Setting a strategy to engage in regenerative sourcing
  • Prioritizing suppliers, ingredients and products
  • Choosing the right regenerative framework for measurement or certification
  • Identifying resources to position suppliers and farmers for success
  • Implementing their regenerative program and tracking progress

Putting commitment into action

NSF’s own commitment is demonstrated through our work with the Regenerative Organic Alliance in helping develop and launch its certification program. In addition to serving as the scheme manager for the Regenerative Organic Certified™ (ROC) program, which includes creating documentation, systems and processes to support a successful launch, NSF serves as the oversight body and is responsible for approving certification bodies.

Additionally, we serve as a Design Team Partner on development of the Soil Carbon Initiative, an outcome-based, verifiable standard designed to improve soil health and build soil carbon by encouraging the shift to regenerative agricultural practices.

We are working with companies to accelerate progress on regenerative by designing approaches, implementing programs and communicating impacts with credibility.

For more information about how NSF can work with your company to implement regenerative sourcing, you can watch our free webinar, download our roadmap to regenerative sourcing or check out our infographic on ideas to implement regenerative throughout the supply chain.

Ryan Daly is a senior marketing manager at NSF International, providing companies information on sustainable solutions, including sustainable textiles verifications, chemical assessments, sustainability reporting as well as consulting and advisory options. For more information, visit www.nsfsustainability.org or email sustainability@nsf.org.

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