KNOWLEDGE MAP Back to overview

An overview of insights on the (un)sustainability of the international food system.

Food & Sustainability

…in cooperation with other food chain parties?

Sustainability often works best in partnership. Many successful sustainability initiatives are the result of a collaboration of government, business and civil society organizations. Joint visioning, selecting the right partners and building trust are critical success factors.

Joint visioning

To make greater strides in sustainability, it is important for parties to agree on a common vision. An example is “al het vlees duurzaam in 2020” from the Van Doorn Commission (2011), in which thirty organizations committed themselves to more sustainable livestock farming in the Netherlands. While some NGOs prematurely dropped out due to a lack of concrete objectives, the initiative has grown to include a number of mandatory measures in the areas of antibiotic use, closing nutrient cycles and landscape integration.

De Bakker, D. E., Dagevos, H., Mil, V. E., Wielen, V. D. P., Terluin, I. J., & Ham, V. D. A. (2013), p. 74-75.

Criteria for a good partnership

When cooperating, it is important to learn from each other’s knowledge and expertise, while both parties can continue to earn enough (profit). Important steps in the initiation of cooperation are the selection of a complementary partner, carefully building trust, transparent communication, and a contract with agreements on the traceability of production processes. Together chain partners can innovate sustainably in the following steps:

  • Create measurable sustainability goals and ensure compliance
  • Green up the supply chain, efficiency improvement and waste reduction
  • Develop sustainable products and services
  • Develop business models based on the consumer’s needs
  • Create entirely new business practices and platforms

Omta, S. W. F., Fortuin, F. T., & Dijkman, N. C. (2014), p. 47-50.

Nidumolu, R., Prahalad, C.K. & Rangaswami, M.R. (2009), p. 3-10.