New USA Rice International Marketing Tool Delivers Strong Sustainability Message

Sustainability Infographic, 2030 Goals for land, water, and energy use
Vision for the future
Sep 03, 2020
LONDON, UK – USA Rice has developed a new infographic-based tool to help exporters, overseas importers, and end-users communicate the impressive U.S. rice sustainability story, differentiating itself from other rice origins.  That story is not just a look at the past, but also the current situation, and it’s also a look at the industry’s future sustainability goals to show where environmental metrics are headed.
Sustainability is an increasingly important factor for food companies and consumers.  Throughout the supply chain, businesses are being asked where food originates and what conditions it was produced under to ensure consumers feel morally comfortable buying their products.  
“Sustainability is not a static idea, it’s an ever-changing target with goal posts constantly being moved, but our industry has a history of adapting to the expectations of both consumers and the market,” said Jennifer James, an Arkansas farmer and chair of the USA Rice Sustainability Committee.  “That’s why it was important to develop and include our goals for 2030 to show our dedication to continuous improvement.  We have always been ahead of the curve compared to other commodities and we’re investing significantly to document that and ensure we stay ahead.”
Originally, just the premium or top-tier market sector was concerned with environmental responsibility, but that trend is shifting into middle and low-tier market segments, too.  This shift in consumer demand is not just happening in the United States, but in major markets like Canada, Europe, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore, among others.  It has become clear that, for international markets, sustainability commitments are more of an expectation than a bonus.  

“Consumers buying premium products want to know more than whether something is organic versus conventionally raised,” said Riceland Food’s Terry Harris, who is chair of the USA Rice International Promotion Committee.  “They want assurance that the product was raised responsibly, both environmentally and socially.  They want to know if forced or child labor was used, were there regulations on the chemicals applied, and was it grown by family farmers versus corporations.  All of these things are just a given in the United States, but not everywhere else.”
The infographic is a comprehensive look at the U.S. rice industry’s high standards for sustainability, and provides a turn-key brochure for USA Rice members to glean whatever information is most useful for their marketing.
USA Rice is working to translate the tool into several languages to increase its functionality and deliver the message to consumers around the world:  this is how we grow.