The title of the first workshop at Food & Beverage Manitoba’s Cultivate Sustainability Conference & Trade Show says it all, says executive director Mike Mikulak.
“Our first workshop, “Measuring Your Impact: ESG and GHG Tracking” deals with measuring your environmental impact and other areas,” he says. “If you can’t measure its impact, you can’t control the impact.”
That’s why it’s critically important to start setting realistic targets immediately.
“Sustainability is the issue that the industry will face for the next 10 years,” says Mikulak. “Right now, companies are in different stages of the journey of measuring their impact and taking the steps necessary to reduce it.”
Targeting areas like energy and water usage is good place to start, he adds.
“Measuring those outputs is a good starting point,” he explains. “And increasing numbers of companies are getting that. You need to measure those outputs. Only then can you start to figure out your impact on the environment.”
Another area companies can look at is their supply chain.
“While doing this can be tricky, companies need to source food ingredients,” he says. “To do this, you need a trusted third party to provide verification. You can drill down to the farm level, and trace back to production, and even soil carbon levels. Doing this helps work toward sustainability.”
At the same time, companies can also do a life cycle analysis.
“Companies need to know where their food waste goes as much as they need to know what their carbon footprint is. As well, companies need to look at ESG – their impact on environment, and social and governmental levels.”
Doing that entails looking at how you treat employees, wages, transparency, market share and, of course, environmental impact.
“The best performing companies are the ones with a holistic view that balances everything out,” notes Mikulak. “The ones that do that are the ones that are the most successful.”
In essence, doing good is good for the bottom line, right across the board.
“Sustainability is a powerful tool for attracting and sustaining a skilled workforce and for increasing consumer trust. Today’s consumers understand the impact of companies and will support the ones that make the effort to be as sustainable as possible.”
If companies commit to that – in the process shifting their mindsets from the cost of being more sustainable to it being a tool that will help unlock opportunity – the sky’s the limit, says Mikulak.
“The bottom line is that if you do everything correctly, you’ll do better as a business. Putting down and implementing action steps to work toward sustainability is a complex process but is worth all the effort.”
The Cultivate Sustainability Conference and Trade Show will be held on September 7, 2022 at the RBC Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Along with this workshop, there will also be workshops on Net Zero pledges and your supply chain, Water usage and wastewater, and Food waste and sustainable packaging.
There will be four keynotes as well from a diverse range of industry experts in the food industry, but all sharing a passion for sustainability and food.
Check out our website foodbeveragemb.ca/cultivate for more information, including ticket sales.