Our Sustainability Journey
A Growing Timeline
A sustainability initiative was formally added to the strategic plan in August, 2019. A committee was formed, and networking efforts began with the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) to gain a better understanding of how a cooperative should embark on developing a sustainability program. Over the winter, the group defined the scope and focus areas of the program and presented MKC SERVES to the board of directors. With their approval, the working group started brainstorming the best ways to put action behind each focus area: the environment, rural communities and our cooperative.
What Can We Control?
Part of the field guide is understanding core sustainability principles that have been adopted on a global scale. These principles are sometimes referred to as the 3 P’s, or Planet, People, and Profit. We had to decide what those meant to MKC and what was in our control to meaningfully contribute.
Sustainability lives in three distinct levels of control. Things the cooperative can create and control, things that the cooperative can influence but not control, and things that only the farmer can control for their specific operations.
One of the intentional actions seen more prominently throughout our footprint will be the jug recycling project. This is our way of contributing to environmental sustainability. The jug recycling program is currently being done at our Haven location and plans are in the works to expand it to other locations.
Our new employee volunteer program is our contribution to sustaining our rural communities. Employees will be given 16 hours available to volunteer at an opportunity that alleviates hunger, enhances ag education, promotes community safety or develops ag leaders.
MKC will be putting forth intentional efforts around telling our sustainability story and garnering feedback from customers and employees about what sustainability means to them. This is our way of contributing to the vitality of our cooperative by promoting a strong commitment to share knowledge about sustainable behaviors that will preserve our member-owner's financial and agricultural interests for generations to come.
It takes more than simple talk to put efforts into action. MKC's new innovative sustainability program, SERVES, prioritizes the cooperative's efforts toward sustainable practices. The MKC SERVES program will serve as the framework that guides which initiatives are chosen to take action upon by the cooperative.
A change is taking place on farms across the Midwest; a transformation moving toward a farming system that is more sustainable – environmentally, economically and socially. Member-owners across the state are converting to regenerative agricultural practices on their operations, while still meeting consumer’s needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.