Tyson Foods: Sustainability Will Fund Itself, Increase Profits

by | Sep 11, 2017

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Tyson Foods Inc. has announced that sustainability will play a key role in the company’s strategy as it moves into fiscal 2018; the company expects sustainability will be one element that will help the company reach an expected sales growth of about 6% next year. The company has already engaged in major sustainability efforts, including one that is expected to help improve the traceability of the global food supply chain.

Tom Hayes, the company’s president and CEO, says Tyson Foods is working with “some of the world’s best thought leaders and problem solvers to drive change and develop science-based targets for improvement,” which will lead to growth in volume, sales, and profits. The company has generated momentum in its sustainability efforts this year, continued progress will be made, and the company’s sustainability initiatives will fund themselves over time, says Hayes.

“We expect to grow volume, sales, profits and our people,” Hayes said. “By delivering results and improving continuously, we’ll sustain the company and the world for future generations.”

Not Just Talk…

Tyson Foods has already put its money where its mouth is in terms of sustainability. This year, Tyson joined a group of other leading companies across the global food supply chain in a major “blockchain” collaboration with IBM.

What Is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a digital list of records that “enables proof of ownership and the transfer of ownership from one entity to another […].  The value that is transferred can also move through an extended supply chain while ensuring that what occurs at each point in the chain can be chronologically recorded,” according to Forbes.

IBM and a consortium of leading companies including Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods, Unilever and Walmart are working to identify new areas where the global supply chain can benefit from blockchain and further strengthen consumer confidence in the global food system.

Improving Food Traceability

IBM says its blockchain technology can be used to improve traceability by providing trusted information on the origin and state of products. In the case of the global food supply chain, all participants -growers, suppliers, processors, distributors, retailers, regulators and consumers – can gain access to information regarding the origin and state of food for their transactions. This can enable food providers and other members of the ecosystem to use a blockchain network to trace a product to its source.

Food traceability has become a major issue for companies like Tyson, which are being asked by consumers, investors and other stakeholders to address unsustainable and unethical practices along their supply chains.

In parallel trials in China and the US, IBM and Walmart recently demonstrated that blockchain can be used to track a product from the farm through every stage of the supply chain, right to the retail shelf, in seconds instead of days or weeks.

These trials also demonstrated that stakeholders throughout the global food supply chain view food safety as a collaborative issue, rather than a competitive one, IBM says.

Walmart Is All In

Walmart VP of food safety Frank Yiannas says blockchain technology enables a “new era of end-to-end transparency” in the global food system and can be used as a more effective food traceability and food safety tool.

It will also promote responsible actions and behaviors, he says, adding that Walmart looks forward to expanding on its initial blockchain work by collaborating with others to accelerate exploration on how this technology can be used, according to Sustainable Brands.


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