That was the verdict of Tom MacMillan, executive director at the Food Ethics Council, speaking at Food Manufacture's 'Sustainable Supply Chain' conference in London last month.
A mature approach to sustainability carried the opportunity of generating respect with trailblazing initiatives. But if an initiative went wrong, it could damage reputation. Collaboration could mitigate risk, but risked losing competitive advantage.
"You could work with your competitors to mitigate the impact of costs [of sourcing sustainably] on pricing, but if you do, you could come into trouble with competition authorities."
Many consumers wanted manufacturers to make decisions regarding sustainable resource use. But this choice editing demanded high levels of trust. Pressure not to break that trust was rising, said MacMillan.