Comment: Taking the moral high ground when it’s handed to you on a plate

Kevin O'GradySomebody in the New Zealand meat industry once said to me that one man’s market restrictions is another man’s competitive advantage, writes contributor Kevin O’Grady.

On the assumption that global demand for agricultural commodities is the primary driver of deforestation the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Forest programme aims to collect reports from companies on their commitment to avoiding trade involving deforestation. One of the key risk commodities highlighted by the CDP is cattle.

Although there is no real risk to the New Zealand beef trade you might like to consider the impact on your competitors of the CDP forest programme. For example, beef originates from South America or Southeast Asia where the problems of deforestation are acute.

The CDP’s forests programme acts on behalf of 298 signatory investors with US$19 trillion in assets and this is a powerful incentive for those in the production, manufacturing or retail sector to take part.

The old adage is ‘Follow the Money’. It now seems that the money is following us. As a result, retail and foodservice clients for New Zealand beef are making public commitments to avoiding deforestation.

The CDP Forest programme reporting requires them to demonstrate low risk right back to point of origin. Now might be a good time to ask your clients what they may need from you and in order to complete the CDP Forest programme report clearly showing low-risk for deforestation for beef originating from New Zealand. Especially in cases where competing countries can’t make such a claim.

For more information contact Kevin OGrady

Occasional contributor, Kevin O’Grady, is a Kiwi who runs Pinnacle Quality, an Australia-based consulting service offering advice on sustainability and quality assurance matters.

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