US: More than 500 potato growers and retailers unite on sustainability initiative

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) announced today their mutual membership and partnership with the Potato Sustainability Initiative (PSI) to align metrics in measuring sustainability issues in the potato supply chain. TSC and PSI will work together to align sustainability metrics for over 500 potato growers and key retail partners. This partnership will also help streamline reporting by potato growers to retailers by working together to align metrics between PSI and TSC. PSI will join several agriculture initiatives currently TSC has in place to align metrics from farms to manufacturers to retailers. Dr. Christy Melhart Slay, director of research at TSC said, “TSC is very pleased to announce our partnership with PSI. Potato growers have been some of the first to create and adopt sustainability metrics. We look forward to learning from this progressive initiative.” 

Eric Ritchie, senior manager agriculture North America for farm assurance and policy, McCain Foods, and chair of the Potato Sustainability Governance Council said, “The growers, processors and customers participating in the Potato Sustainability Initiative welcome our agreement – it will help make the process of sustainable of potato production more efficient for everyone.”

TSC has identified sustainability hotspots around the production of potato crops including greenhouse gas emissions from fertilizer use, soil management, use of pesticides, and labor issues on farms. By working with organizations like PSI to reach growers and suppliers to gain more visibility into their supply chains, TSC and PSI together can help companies tackle the environmental and social challenges that occur in agriculture supply chains.

PSI is the leading program in North America for growers producing potatoes for the processing market, with more than 500 potato growers participating, along with six major processors, key buyers including McDonald’s and Sysco, and the National Potato Council and Canadian Horticultural Council. Potato processors Basic American Foods, Cavendish Farms, Heinz, Lamb Weston, McCain Foods and Simplot fund the collaboration, which includes an annual grower survey, reporting on key performance measures including Integrated Pest Management, nutrient and irrigation use efficiency, energy use, recycling and reuse, and periodic on-farm audits.

“Potato growers have a long history of identifying and pursuing opportunities to improve production practices. The Potato Sustainability Initiative’s agreement with The Sustainability Consortium represents a continuation of our focus on great quality potatoes and real progress on sustainability. It also recognizes the tremendous amount of the time and effort potato growers are investing to continue to improve the sustainability of their farms,” stated John Keeling, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Potato Council.

Source: The Sustainability Consortium