This week: Cargill’s Truke Smoor explains the motivation and science behind the company’s newly announced 2030 water targets. And Mariko Thorbecke from Quantis on why ever-more food producers are working with nature to develop regenerative agriculture programmes.


Plus: UN FAO identifies the countries likely to experience food security post pandemic; the $10tn potential green economy rebound, says WEF; new nature-related financial reporting taskforce; and, how better air conditioning standards can help counter climate change according to UNEP and IEA, in the news digest.


Host: Ian Welsh



Sarah Carpenter, manager for business and human rights at Assent Compliance, explains to Ian Welsh why proper engagement means listening to suppliers. She outlines some methods to counter the challenges reaching out beyond tier one suppliers, and how to ensure training is anchored within a wider programme of engagement that is relevant while also respecting the diversity of supply chains.


Assent Compliance was a sponsor of the recent Innovation Forum ethical trade and human rights event.

This week: Franco Costantini, managing director of Control Union UK, on the growth of regenerative agriculture and how food producers are switching to more holistic farming techniques, encouraging greater soil organic matter, biodiversity and carbon dioxide sequestration.

Plus: how the Loop platform is helping consumers cut single-use plastic footprints with Tesco in the UK; Coca-Cola European Partners backing for better PET recycling; methane emissions spike; and, the importance of indigenous peoples’ knowledge and skills.

Host: Ian Welsh   

Listeners interested in the new Control Union project can find more information here.


Stephanie Westhelle, development manager for sustainability and partnerships at Fairtrade America argues that it’s hard to see how cocoa supply chains can be viable in the long term if farmers are compensated by less than $1 a day in a sector worth over $150bn a year.

She discusses how poverty, gender inequality and child labour risks can be tackled, and why these are closely linked to the deforestation associated with the cocoa sector in west Africa. Beyond simple farm economics, consumer pressures and the industry taking a more holistic view of cocoa “supply communities” are required, she says, to enhance the sector long-term. With Ian Welsh.  


This week: Sarah Carpenter, manager for business and human rights at Assent Compliance, on how to tackle the challenges of taking supplier training to scale, and how to develop effective codes of conduct.

Plus, in the news digest: deforestation rates increased during pandemic, says Rainforest Action Network; Look Behind the Label takes Boohoo to task on UK supply chain modern slavery; and could spreading rock dust on crop land be an effective tool to counter climate change?

Host: Ian Welsh 

Ryan Lynch, practice director, sustainability, at BSI talks with Innovation Forum’s Ian Welsh about what food sector companies can do to drive action on climate change.

They discuss the policy and regulation that can help, skills that companies need to develop and how to tackle existing constraints preventing adoption and scale. As Lynch comments, the one thing to note regarding these big challenges is that there is no one solution, and that a holistic approach is what’s required.

 BSI was a sponsor of the recent Innovation Forum future of food conference series.


In this hour-long session, co-hosted with the Accountability Framework initiative, hear on-the-ground insight from commodity producers – palm oil in Ghana and cocoa in Cameroon – about how the pandemic is impacting their supply chain sustainability efforts and what they are doing to stay on track with their commitments.


  • Samuel Avaala, general manager, Benso Oil Palm Plantation
  • Roland Besong, sustainability director, TELCAR Cocoa
  • Akiva Fishman, manager, forests, WWF

 Hosted by Ian Welsh, Innovation Forum

This week: Stephanie Westhelle, development manager for sustainability and partnerships, Fairtrade America, on challenges for developing farmer incomes in the cocoa sector to ensure long-term producer community viability.

Plus: UN Global Compact reveals big sustainable development goals shortfall; soy sector reaffirms commitment to protect Brazil’s Cerrado; Rainforest Alliance certification shakeup; renewable energy sector labour rights processes lacking essential policies; and human rights defender Andy Hall’s acquittal upheld in Thailand, in the news digest.

Hosted by Ian Welsh

Charlotte Bande, food sector and climate strategy lead at Quantis, talks with Ian Welsh about best practice in the food sector for reducing environmental impacts in operations and supply chains.

They discuss the key points that companies should consider when identifying the commodities that are driving impacts and when engaging suppliers. Bande argues that a central danger is getting stuck in “data traps” – and that there is no point in having perfect data accounting if the actions to back that up are not also in place.

Quantis was a sponsor of the recent Innovation Forum conference series on the future of food.    

Felicitas Weber, Know the Chain project director at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, outlines to Ian Welsh the results of the new Know the Chain benchmarking of technology sector companies.

They discuss the specific risks that ICT companies should be aware of, and geographical concerns – Malaysia, China, the Philippines and Thailand are countries that Weber highlights. Debt bondage, recruitment fees, long working hours, exploitation of migrant workers and other vulnerable groups, and a lack of grievance mechanisms and freedom of association are all too common in the sector.

The new Know the Chain benchmark report is available here.

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