Policy Briefing: The Case for Mandatory Business Reporting in the Food Sector
Mandatory business reporting to accelerate the food industry’s transition to healthy and sustainable food.
A lack of basic, transparent data within the food industry is currently hindering progress towards healthy, just, and sustainable food systems. Businesses need good data to drive improvements in their own operations and supply chains, investors need good data to understand risks and opportunities related to the companies they invest in, and governments need good data to assess progress towards national targets.
Establishing clear metrics that businesses are required to report against, transparently and publicly, will drive faster progress than we are currently seeing through voluntary initiatives. Our analysis shows that the areas where businesses are making most progress are those where there are already mandatory reporting requirements or public commitments by government to introduce new reporting requirements.
This briefing makes a series of recommendations to the government to make reporting of key metrics mandatory. Some of these metrics have since been included in the National Food Strategy recommendations to the government.
Key Recommendations for the Government
Strengthen existing mandatory reporting requirements on greenhouse gas emissions and modern slavery.
Maximise the impact of newly announced reporting requirements on forest-risk commodities and food waste.
Work towards the introduction of new sales-based reporting requirements for healthy vs unhealthy foods and plant-based proteins.
Work towards the introduction of new supply chain reporting requirements on sustainable production and water.
Though there are many voluntary benchmarking and reporting initiatives operating in the Plating Up Progress topic areas, it is notable that the areas where businesses were found to be making most progress were those in which there are existing government mandatory reporting requirements and/or government commitments to introduce new reporting requirements, or where there have been major campaigns with high levels of public attention and scrutiny.