Ice cream company Häagen-Dazs and its parent company General Mills are committing to more socially responsible procurement policies as they aim to purchase more sustainable vanilla to use in their products. The new program will help small vanilla villages and farms in Madagascar enjoy a better quality of life and take sustainable agriculture and corporate social responsibility to a new level.
Benefits seen for many
The program will call for an investment of $125,000 over the next two years and will allow General Mills and Häagen-Dazs to work with partners across their supply chains. While General Mills will adjust its processes, it will work with vanilla supplier Virginia Dare - to learn more about the agricultural aspect and market for the product - and humanitarian organization CARE to learn more about poverty eradication in the area.
While the project aims to help Malagasy vanilla farmers improve their livelihoods, benefit the environment and improve farming capabilities, the program will also benefit General Mills. The better agricultural methods and sustainable sourcing policies will help reduce supply chain risk, ensuring the company will be able to source an appropriate amount of vanilla from Madagascar, which is currently responsible for about 80 percent of the world's supply.
"Contributing to the viability and sustainability of vanilla farming could have a significant impact on the lives of Malagasy growers, their communities and the environment," said Steve Peterson, director of sourcing sustainability at General Mills. "Vanilla is integral to their way of life. From our knowledge of the region, we have come to understand that our ability to share our agronomic and supply chain expertise, while leveraging our financial resources, could help create a better, stronger, more sustainable supply of high quality vanilla, while raising living standards for the farmers who grow this important crop."