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The first mover and competition phase

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Important conclusions of this chapter:

1. As pressure continues to increase, each sector is learning the valuable lesson that fragmented projects alone do not lead to a structural solution. The sector is now ready for the next phase.

2. First-mover companies start to understand that their responsibility goes beyond their immediate self-interest, but that competitive benefits can also be gained if they play smart and use the situation to their advantage.

3. This triggers a race between companies to score points in the public domain, enhance their reputation and increase brand value. The competition is not limited to companies alone; NGOs, international standards organizations, and others also join the race.

4. Attention for sustainability soon increases, and companies start making public commitments to be a part of the solution.

5. A new industry is born in which sustainability is a hot topic and, for a while, it seems like the solution has been found.

6. However, the problem remains largely unsolved until the industry learns that the root causes have not yet been addressed. More needs to be done structurally to improve the situation.

7. But now, at last, sustainability is on the strategic agenda.
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Keywords: business management; cocoa sector; coffee industry; competition; cotton; fish farming; food standards and certifications; food systems; innovation; leadership; market transformation; palm oil; popularity; soy sector; sustainable agriculture; sustainable food production

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 November 2014

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