The topics of sustainability and climate change have been on the forefront of national conversations for some time. And while pulse growers and the industry overall are able to take pride in the fact that pulse crops naturally help reduce carbon emissions, use less water than other sources of protein, and improve soil health, it is becoming increasingly clear that there is an opportunity to further expand global demand for Canadian pulses by identifying as a solution to meeting broader global climate targets.
Sustainability shed itself of being a trend long ago. Consumers are asking more questions about where their food comes from and how products are made, and companies are working not only to align themselves with consumer demands, but to get ahead of the curve. As these conversations trickle up to government and policymakers, Pulse Canada is working to ensure our industry’s sustainability strategy evolves while ensuring value is brought back through the value chain right to the farmgate.
At Pulse Canada, we have two goals that drive our work. Our sustainability initiatives work to:
- Create conditions for growers, processors, and exporters to monetize commitments being made to global environmental sustainability.
- Establish the Canadian pulse sector as a leader in providing food and ingredient solutions that decrease agriculture’s impact on climate change, effectively strengthening our global reputation and brand.
Pulses and pulse ingredients are some of the most sustainable foods around due to their capacity to fix nitrogen, their water-use efficiency, and their contribution to soil health. Furthermore, because of the world-leading stewardship practices of our producers, Canadian pulses are a leader among sustainably grown crops. When it comes to addressing Canada’s and our planet’s climate goals, our sector could easily pat itself on the back and lean on the fact that pulse crops naturally leave the earth better than they found it. But not only is that mentality not aligned with the innovativeness of Canadian pulse growers, it would also leave dollars on the table.
As this conversation around sustainability grows, so should the expectation of Canadian pulse growers and the trade to realize and monetize the opportunity that exists for sustainably grown crops and ingredients that can transform diets and food products. So, rather than allowing decisions that impact our industry to be made for us, we’re working with our members, the pulse industry, food companies, ingredient processors, and governments to ensure we can collectively evolve Canadian pulse’s sustainability story. For example, Pulse Canada is actively working to bring value to the pulse value chain by facilitating research that builds life-cycle assessments for Canadian pulses. This work will position Canadian pulses as the definition of sustainable food and ingredients in the global food industry.
As consumers continue to demand more from their food and products, pulses and pulse ingredients will continue to be recognized as the most sustainable options. The Canadian pulse industry has the opportunity to showcase Canadian pulses as the leader in sustainability and to capitalize on an opportunity that benefits the grower, the consumer, the Canadian economy and the global climate. And at Pulse Canada, we will continue to work on behalf of pulse growers and the entire value chain to turn this opportunity into a reality.
Pulse Canada is the national association of growers, traders and processors of Canadian pulses, also known as lentils, dry peas, beans and chickpeas. Pulses are an essential part of a healthy and sustainable diet. Pulses and pulse ingredients can help food manufacturers improve the nutritional and functional quality of food products.