Muntons role in the Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform

Muntons has, for a number of years, been a member of this international consortium that aims to standardise definitions and benchmarking of sustainability in a wide spectrum of food supply chains. In this article you can learn how our role has developed and the advantages of our membership

What is sustainable agriculture?

Sustainable agriculture is the efficient production of safe, high quality agricultural products, in a way that protects and improves the natural environment, the social and economic conditions of farmers, their employees and local communities, and safeguards the health and welfare of all farmed species

This is the agreed definition of SAI Platform which clearly shows the three dimensions of a 21st century sustainability program – it addresses People, Profit, Planet

 What is SAI Platform?[1]

  • Created in 2002 by the food industry to support the development of sustainable agriculture worldwide.
  • 80 members across the value chain (Sept 2016)
  • Covering all major commodities (see working sub groups below)
  • Operating globally 

SAI circles

What benefits have we found?

Ability to influence the establishment of a harmonised definition of sustainability through the Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA)

  • Schemes operated by our growers are now able to be benchmarked against the FSA to prevent farmers having to recertify to many different supply chain schemes
  • Access to different levels of customer contact to establish our reputation further and generate a new line of potential benefits to discuss when selling our products
  • We have formed strong supply chain partnerships along the brewing and food supply chains
  • It has helped us facilitate setting up our own Farmer Sustainability groups that is an important factor in supply to customers such as Heineken and Diageo who have joined us in setting these groups up
  • Our lead and enthusiasm for practical sustainability has led to our Manufacturing & Sustainability Director being voted to chair the Arable working group
  • We are clearly the lead malting company in this area. Others have signed up (Boortmalt, Holland Malt, Cargill) but with the exception of Cargill are known not to take membership seriously enough to be influencers

 SAI Vision

Implement secure and thriving agricultural supply chains and protect the earth’s resources through widespread adoption of sustainable practices that deliver value to our members, farmers, farming communities, and consumers.

How does SAI work?

SAI is a pre-competitive group and commercial discussions during the sessions are strictly not allowed. Of course setting out our credentials in front of the numerous customers in food and beverages around the table never does any harm for future opportunities. The group freely collects and exchanges data on sustainability practices, assessment, issues and opportunities and through collaboration seeks to find harmonised approaches to engage the supply chain.

SAI squares

How will SAI help improve our business?

SAI through the Farm Sustainability Assessment[2] should address the proliferation of sustainability schemes and allow a universal method of assessing the competency of those systems by geographical area and crop type. It allows for example a higher level of sustainability to be set for developed countries growing well established crops whilst recognizing that in some developing countries it can be counter-productive to set the standard too high too early. Some of our customers have already used the FSA to set targets for the percentage of certain raw materials that will be sustainably sourced within defined timescales. By us adopting the same approach we align with their strategies and continue to be viewed as reputable suppliers.

Jo Perrot

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In the case of Heineken this year our company was singled out in their supply chain sustainability conference and in their annual report (see excerpt, right) for our credible approach to sustainability which is largely driven through our collaboration on SAI and establishing farmer sustainability groups.

One of my drives as chair of the Arable sub-group is to facilitate new and easier methods of communication across a very large number of participants. It is likely that we will start a brewing supply chain sub-group hosted either through LinkedIn or directly on the SAI website. Whilst it is clear that we are gaining benefit amongst our supply chain by our participation we will continue to use this forum as a means to protect our raw material sourcing and develop stronger customer buy-in.

Dr Nigel Davies – Manufacturing & Sustainability Director

[1] SAI Platform website can be found at:

[2] The Farm Sustainability Assessment can be found at: from there you can link to the tool on a related website