New Report Calls Out Tyson For Sustainability Failure

If you pay close attention to food and beverage news, then you might have noticed more and more companies are being called out for their unwillingness to do better, only interested in increasing their bottom line. Starbucks was recently singled out for raising prices despite also seeing an increase in profits, and Tyson is the latest brand to be recognized for poor choices to further its sustainability efforts.

According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCSUSA), Tyson set a goal in 2018 to have better environmental practices in use across 2 million acres of corn, which it uses to grow animal feed. But according to the Tyson 2020 sustainability report, 408,000 acres (or less than ¼ of that promised 2 million acreage) has been converted to better practices. The company cited COVID-19 as part of the slow progress and shifted the goal date to 2025. But what the UCSUSA report insinuates is that Tyson could — and should — be using some of the "hundreds of millions of dollars in profits" from recent years to not only meet, but exceed its sustainability goal far more quickly.

The report asks Tyson to use its influence for good

One of the major issues that has slowed Tyson's progress toward practicing more sustainable farming techniques is the expenses switching to these practices incur. As UCSUSA's report points out, many farmers that are contracted by Tyson cannot actually afford the upfront costs associated with making the necessary changes for better environmental techniques. That's why the report suggests Tyson should be responsible for working with farmers to make those changes through incentive programs, as well as by influencing local policy.

Ultimately, Tyson recognizes that the world will have some 2 billion additional mouths to feed in less than 30 years. So, in order to produce enough food, environmentally-sound farming techniques are necessary to keep crops growing consistently and prevent food shortages in the future. Clearly, both the chicken mega-producer and its critics agree things need to continue changing for such goals and needs to be met before it is too late.