- To satisfy their predominately urban consumers perceptions of sustainability, major retailers like Walmart have defined business practices that support their brand positions and are only working with suppliers that fit their 'sustainability' criteria.
- Major global retailers are defining what is sustainable for food producers on the basis of their marketing positions
- Standards adopted are often driven by perceptions of what will play well with predominately urban consumers rather than being based on robust scientific research.
- If agricultural producers fail to meet the retailer's standards they are likely to lose the ability to sell into higher value global markets
Sustainability standards are a growing issue for U.S. agriculture producers. The definition of 'sustainability' remains fluid and unresolved, often tainted with the perceptions of major retailers — rather than scientific analysis and tangible research.
When it comes to producing sustainable agricultural products, farmers, growers and producers have to contend with multiple definitions of sustainability which are adding cost to production without necessarily benefiting the environment.
On the far side of the globe, agriculture producers are encountering some of the same sustainability problems facing U.S. farmers.
Please see the following article for more on global sustainability standard issues.