Day 3 & 4
The line up of presenters continues to amaze me, be they past state senators or governors, trade officials, CEO of farm lobby groups or directors of business such as Walmart, where does it stop.
Tres Bailey (the third), Director Federal Government relations of Walmart gave us an insight as to how the globes second largest entity operates. Walmarts history stems from the rural regions of the USA, they turned over $419 billion in F11 from 9700 retail outlets across 27 countries and will celebrate their 50th year of operation, next year.
This business executes over 200 million transactions per week and utilises over 8000 trucks across the US to distribute their produce. To complete these deliveries Walmart spend close to $1 billion in fuel and are actively looking at ways to improve their environmental footprint. To achieve these business goals, Walmart are JV partners with Peterbuilt truck builders to develop a hybrid prime mover (diesel/electric), capable of reducing their fuel bill by 25%.
Walmart also consider sustainable agriculture commitments are important to business and are socially required in the global food market. They have identified 3 pillars of commitment;
Support Farmers & their communities
Produce more food with fewer resources & less waste
Source products in a sustainable manner
Under each pillar, on ground actions are identified to meet these objectives, eg;
9% of all produce to be sourced locally <50km radius of store
provide technical education to build healthier soils
source palm oil from sustainable sources
understand complete product life cycle = zero waste
consume only electricity from renewable sources (currently US largest solar power user).
Tres's commitment and passion for these ideals was amazing, even if we did get the sugar coated version, he still raised the bar in what businesses and individuals can do for the wider community.
Ken Roberts, Director International Business Relations, Mondelez (formally Kraft International), highlighted the power of NGO's and ensuring businesses engage and inform these groups of their strategies. Mondelez is actively sourcing opportunities in Latin America, India & China, but in doing so are aligning themselves with interested NGO's philosophies regarding locally sourcing primary goods, local employment, rain forest sustainable, human welfare issues and animal preservation. Kraft certainly believe these "leader" groups have a significant group of "followers" which will ultimately drive success of their business.
An interesting side note Ken mentioned was the dramatic drop in chewing gum sales during the GFC, this decline is attributed to the number of people with out work, as gum globally is chewed primarily at work. May be gum will be the next global wealth measure.
Kay Hollabaugh, partner of Hollabaugh Brothers Farm Market, outlined her strategy of keeping the consumer engaged and interested in their product. Kay spoke passionately about their eduction program and the role of the Farm Bureaus in nutrition awareness (500,000 children touched by their awareness program). Kays catch lines are "these hands feed you" and "educate the children and you educate the next shopper, parent & voter".