Data-Driven Sustainability: Transforming Food Supply Chains for Future Impact 

Author: Sarah Shannon
Date:  February 28, 2024

We work closely with a sustainability and carbon management solutions provider to assist their clients with responsible sourcing practices. Our focus? Getting to the heart of value chain data. Recently, we customised a due diligence project on behalf of their client. It was a major Irish fresh food company with 130+ suppliers, where collecting sustainability data was essential to enable the food company to get to know who they work with and verify their sustainability claims.

Challenge: Real Data Accuracy for Real Impact  

In today's food industry, being proactive about sustainability from the beginning to the end of the supply chain is essential. Companies are not just reacting to problems; they're looking ahead to making sure their products are made in ways that are good for the planet and fair to everyone involved. This leading food supplier in Ireland was eager to step up their game in sustainability. They wanted to up their due diligence game too and gather better information from their suppliers. A robust due diligence questionnaire was key to ensure their practices were as responsible as possible. However, the old tools they were using, like Survey Monkey and Excel, weren't up to the task. These tools weren't delivering the speed, reliability or security needed, making it challenging for the company to get a clear picture of their supply chain's sustainability. 

Solution: Customising Data Collection with Secure and Robust Tools 

The solution lay in a shift from the traditional data collection tools to a more reliable customised Due Diligence Questionnaire (DDQ) system on Pulse. This approach was not just about replacing outdated tools but was a comprehensive strategy to ensure accurate data collection, stored securely and easily organised with transparent audit trails. This supported the primary objective which was to enhance the sustainability reporting functionality, a critical aspect for a food giant committed to responsible sourcing and regulatory compliance.  

Secure, Efficient Data Collection and Storage 

The customised DDQ system on Pulse Market provided a secure platform for suppliers to submit their data, safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring compliance with data protection regulations. This system streamlined the data collection process, making it easier and faster for suppliers to provide the necessary information. 

Enhanced Sustainability Reporting Functionality 

The new system wasn't just about collecting data; it was about making sense of it. A user favourite functionality is the comparison feature tab enabling side by side comparisons of supplier details. This helps the user quickly identify what information is missing and therefore easily identifying how responsible each supplier is.  

Outcome: Streamlining Processes and Boosting Sustainability Success 

The implementation of the customised DDQ system marked a turning point for the food supplier. The streamlined processes led to more efficient data management, significantly reducing the time and resources previously wasted on manual data collection and analysis. 

1 Positive Supplier Relationships 

The ease and efficiency of the new system fostered positive relationships with suppliers. They were now more engaged in the sustainability process, understanding their role in the food supplier's mission towards environmental stewardship. This collaboration was key to driving meaningful change within the supply chain. 

2 Boosted Sustainability Success and Reporting Accuracy 

The most significant outcome was the boost in sustainability success and reporting accuracy. With a more reliable data foundation, the food supplier could make informed decisions, leading to more effective sustainability initiatives. The improved reporting accuracy also enhanced transparency with consumers, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies, reinforcing the company's commitment to sustainability. 

Conclusion: Leading with sustainability data management

The journey from farm to fork is complex, but this case study exemplifies how reliable and robust data management solutions can simplify the process, ensuring sustainability and impact assessments are accurate and actionable. By customising its approach to collecting relevant data in an easy to use but secure tool, the food giant not only streamlined its processes but also strengthened its relationships with suppliers and boosted its sustainability credentials.

This is not a one off project.

After successfully collecting project data and verifying suppliers, integrating sustainability into their ongoing strategy will enable them to gain more and more valuable insights over time. This helps the fresh food company to more effectively manage responsible sourcing along the food supply chain.

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