4.2 Questions to Ask

After deciding on a) the priority raw materials and priority issues that should be tackled by sustainable sourcing, and b) the way you want to shape your sustainable sourcing programmes (Chapter 3), your next decision will be to choose the appropriate sustainability requirements – or standard – from the many available options:

What sustainability standard should you apply to each of your company’s priority agricultural raw materials?

Evidently, the answer to this question depends on the specific agricultural raw materials, the level of assurance you need for compliance and the related key sustainability issues. Wheat, for example, does not generally have the link with deforestation issues that palm oil has. But it also depends on the company’s business exposure and security of supply risk. The general question can be specified in the following more-specific questions related to the best option:

  1. Is it useful and possible to use an external standard or to develop a tailor-made internal company standard?
  2. Is it useful and possible to use a multi-stakeholder endorsed standard?
  3. Is it useful and possible to use another external standard, such as national schemes or industry standards?
  4. Is it advisable to apply one standard or to allow for multiple standards for the same agricultural raw material?
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