Telling Sustainability's Story
Apr 02, 2020
Sustainability is an extensive discipline, and one that seems to be a buzzword in today’s global climate. As society becomes more aware of its impact on the environment, sustainability is increasingly being prioritized in the business models of individuals, organizations and corporations alike. However, it takes more than simple talk to put efforts into action.
MKC innovatively created a new sustainability program aptly named SERVES. The name stems from the program’s tagline, ‘We will sustain the environment, rural communities and the vitality of MKC through education and stewardship.’
“The goal of the program is to explain, internally and externally, what sustainability means to MKC, why it’s important and how we plan to take action at the cooperative level to support it,” says Amy Meyers, MKC director of strategic initiatives and SERVES committee member.
“Sustainability is a complex idea,” says MKC Agronomy Field Sales Manager and SERVES Committee Member Troy Walker. “You could ask ten different people what sustainability means to them and come back with ten different answers. This committee is the first step to help focus MKC’s definition down to a manageable element.”
The 2020 SERVE initiatives focus on three key dimensions: environment, rural communities, and the cooperative system. The committee has designated activities to support efforts in each area, including a jug recycling project, employee volunteer program and influencer awareness plan.
“The jug recycling project is one initiative that will support our efforts to sustain the environment,” Meyers says. “The committee is still working through the specifics on what types of jugs will be collected, how they will be broken down and where this will take place.”
The employee volunteer program is an initiative idea that will put action behind sustaining rural communities. It will allow employees to explore opportunities to donate time to a community cause close to their hearts and hometowns.
Public awareness of sustainable agriculture is the goal of the influencer awareness plan. Advertisements such as the inside cover of this newsletter were placed in seven major media outlets, including The Hutchinson News, The Topeka Capital-Journal and The Kansas City Star.
“This initiative is designed to raise public awareness and shine a light on the causes and values that are important to agricultural cooperatives such as MKC and our strategic partners,” Meyers says.
Within each pillar are three tiers in which the action will take place: the cooperative level, the cooperative and farm level, and the farm level.
“Our initiatives start fully in our control,” Walker says. “Our goal is to get to the point where we can support our growers with sustainable practices.”
The MKC SERVES program will serve as the framework that guides which initiatives are chosen to take action upon by the cooperative.
“If we know what success looks like for the program, we can strategically work our way toward it,” Meyers says. “We believe success looks like being good stewards to our environment, being present and supportive in our local communities and shining a light on the value of partnering and doing business with MKC.”