On 3 October 2023, we launched the second Food and Agriculture Benchmark, assessing and ranking 350 of the world’s most influential food and agriculture companies on their contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals.
These companies were assessed using the Methodology for the 2023 Food and Agriculture Benchmark, which includes 46 indicators distributed across four measurement areas of governance and strategy, environment, nutrition and social inclusion. The methodology and indicators, based on extensive stakeholder consultation over several years, are connected to a company’s full value chain – at corporate level, in the workplace, in the supply chain, marketplace and community.
The methodology reflects relevant updates to the 2021 methodology, incorporating both internal learnings and external feedback from companies and other stakeholders, following the first publication. All updates have been made carefully and in line with WBA’s methodology review principles. Main changes include the adding of an indicator on corporate lobbying practices in the governance and strategy measurement area and the implementation of elemental scoring across all indicators. These necessary changes have slightly impacted scores across all companies, whereby comparability analysis has only been applied at elemental level.See methodology
Approach to scoring and ranking
The benchmark scores each of the 46 indicators against a set of elements that are based on stakeholders’ expectations, global agendas including the SDGs, the best available science, guidance from experts, and extensive research on existing standards and current practices. Scoring guidelines are defined for each indicator element. The scoring guidelines will be published after the launch.
As the benchmark focuses on keystone companies in the food and agriculture sector, the parent companies were the starting point and main unit of analysis. In scoring performance across different subsidiaries, we sought to assess performance at a group-wide level to ensure all relevant operations worldwide for a company were assessed and held accountable. In some cases with complex group structures, companies received a low overall score where only one food and agriculture subsidiary was leading on activities and other subsidiaries lagged behind.
Six benchmark segments
The 350 companies assessed in the benchmark span the entirety of the food and agriculture value chain. The ranking encompasses companies active in the agricultural input, agricultural products and commodities, animal protein, processing and manufacturing, retail and food service segments.
Companies were ranked in a total benchmark ranking, as well as through segment rankings, ensuring peer-to-peer comparison and an understanding of the role of different segments in the food system.
Company engagement and draft assessment
Companies have been assessed against all indicators of the methodology that are considered material to their business, and based on relevant and publicly available data from a company’s and other third-party disclosure. This led to the development of a draft assessment for each company. To do this, WBA worked with a third-party research provider. Companies received the draft assessment in the months prior to the publication of the benchmark, which provided an overview of the company’s performance at an indicator and indicator element level. Additional information provided by companies through this process have been used to complete the assessment.