The global food industry has a critical role to play in achieving multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Accordingly, global firms in this industry pursue a wide array of sustainability issues. However, it remains unclear as to how leading firms differ from laggard firms in the industry in terms of their overall approach to sustainability and SDGs. To bridge this gap, we conducted in-depth interviews with sixteen experts comprising representatives of global firms, non-government organizations (NGOs), and researchers and academics. First, we identified five sustainability performance criteria—engagement with multi-stakeholder groups (MSGs), measurement of sustainability outcomes, resource commitment by top management, integration of sustainability programs with traditional management systems, and a robust process for the identification of specific sustainability issues or SDGs. Then, we found that leaders and laggards are markedly different in their approaches to pursue these performance criteria.
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