Read the full story in Forbes.
Animal agriculture has become a divisive industry as environmentalists and animal welfare activists criticize the “factory farms” for contributing to climate change and harmful treatment of animals. In response, there has been a lot of innovation in animal production and farming techniques since the turn of the 21st century, from plant-based meat alternatives to technological advancements that have allowed a single farmer to feed 5 families in the 1800s to now 168 families.
Still, consumers are demanding more and more of retailers — they want to know that their animal proteins are sustainably sourced, and they want to know exactly how their purchase contributes positively to the overarching goal of creating an environmentally responsible food supply chain. And while retailers — especially major corporations — are eager to contribute (take, for example, the plant-based burger options that fast food chains like Burger King and McDonald’s), there is a gap in knowledge, as the global animal agricultural supply chain is both complex and byzantine.
Enter the Environmentally Sourced Retailers Certification Program, an idea borne out of the Forbes AgTech Hackathon this past weekend. A team that spanned from Indianapolis to Bangalore, India, these three entrepreneurs — Chandler Chapman, Mallikarjun Malkiodeyar and Evan Wheeler — quickly identified an information and accountability gap between retailers (ex: McDonald’s) and producers (ex: feedlots). They sought to fill that gap with this program that would bring capital investment from corporations, which could then be used to propel and maintain sustainable farming practices without sacrificing quality, efficiency, or profits for the producers.