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Life at McCormick August 12, 2021

Meet the MGIL Team - Leading the Way in Sustainably Sourcing McCormick's Iconic Herbs and Spices

McCormick Global Ingredients Limited MGIL team photo


At McCormick & Company, we're guided by five principles, one of which is "Purpose-led Performance" or PLP. Our PLP approach is two-fold: we're delivering industry-leading financial performance while doing what's right for the people, communities, and the planet we share. And the McCormick Global Ingredients Limited (MGIL) team is dedicated to furthering our commitment to create a healthier planet with healthier people.


The MGIL team works with stakeholders throughout the supply chain to ensure materials sustainably sourced. Donald Pratt, Managing Director, and his team ensure only the highest quality of raw ingredients are used throughout McCormick's supply chain. The team is currently leading the effort to sustainably source 100 percent of our five branded iconic herbs and spices – vanilla, black pepper, red pepper, cinnamon, and oregano – by 2025.


Here, MGIL provides us a closer look at their work through a Q&A:


Tell us a little bit about your team and what you do for McCormick. Ours is a team of specialists in Quality & Supplier Development, Supply Chain Planning, Strategic Sourcing, Finance, Sustainability, and Agriculture Development. MGIL's charge is simple: assure our herb and spice supply and drive value chain transformation. We achieve this in a number of ways including, best-in-class sourcing, supply quality and integrity, Agricultural science, analytics, and sustainability. Our boots-on-the-ground team works with partners in origin countries such as Madagascar, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Brazil to deliver superior sourcing solutions for our iconic herbs and spices.


In our PLP report, McCormick laid out a series of corporate social responsibility and sustainability goals. How does MGIL's work reinforce those? MGIL's work focuses on upstream activities in our herbs and spices supply chains, therefore championing all PLP commitments which impact our key suppliers and beyond. We are responsible for the goals related to the sustainable sourcing of our top five iconic ingredients, building farmer resiliency, and empowering women within those supply chains. In addition, we consult with other global functions on commitments related to ethical compliance and scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions.


How do sustainable sourcing and corporate responsibility align with McCormick's commitment to our PLP strategy and goals? In our 2019 PLP report, McCormick announced the launch of McCormick Grown for Good Framework, outlining our approach to sustainable sourcing from origin countries. This third-party verified sustainability standard goes beyond the industry norm to advocate farmer resilience, gender equality, and women's empowerment and is the first of its kind in the herb and spice industry. The foundation of the framework is regenerative agriculture and ethical supply chains, with continuous improvement requirements related to community resiliency and women's empowerment. These four pillars incorporate all of McCormick's upstream sourcing sustainability commitments and provide a roadmap to achieving our 2025 PLP goals. This holistic approach to sustainability puts McCormick at the leading edge of the industry, delivering a positive impact to the communities that grow our iconic herbs and spices, and to our business.


How does MGIL partner with global non-governmental organizations (NGOs), to advise and assist with initiatives focused on social issues and responsibility? To achieve impact at scale, it's critical we collaborate with the right partners both globally and in origin countries. McCormick's commitments cover a variety of commodities in multiple countries. Therefore, the localized knowledge that both our supply partners and local NGOs provide is invaluable. In Madagascar and Indonesia, we have co-funded multi-stakeholder partnerships with organizations including USAID and USDA with NCBA CLUSA taking on the role of implementation partner. Their responsibilities include the training of farmers in good agricultural practices that drive improvements like soil health and yield and setting up sustainable social programs like village savings and loan associations (VSLAs) and health insurance programs. For our women's empowerment objectives, we are collaborating with CARE Impact Partners on the creation of a framework that identifies challenges for gender equality and can measure and credibly track the impact on women's empowerment as targeted programs are implemented. We also consult with other NGOs including WWF on topics such as supply risk and environmental conservation.


Can you elaborate on the work MGIL does in sourcing countries like Madagascar? How did the team support Madagascar for World Environment Day this year? Madagascar is a world biodiversity hot spot: 80 percent of plant and animal species are only found on the island. However, deforestation has impacted approximately 94 percent of Madagascar's forest lands, jeopardizing water sources and increasing vulnerability to climate change. McCormick supports multiple projects in the region, and in one supply chain, we've partnered with USAID to support over 3,000 vanilla farmers, to help them organize into cooperatives, and provide training and support to meet the standards for third party-verified sustainability certification. These programs underpin our commitment to biodiversity and forest conservation, sustainable agriculture, improving farmer livelihoods, and our access to a sustainable supply of herbs and spices.


When we were approached by McCormick's Corporate Communications team to understand how employees could make a positive impact for World Environment Day, tree planting came to mind.  We liaised with our local partners to identify areas in which we could plant trees and support the reforestation of this vital ecosystem. Each of our 13,000 employees has the opportunity to sponsor a tree, which will be planted by our partners in one of three national parks, including high-priority zones for the conservation of the local lemur population. Our sincere hope is that all employees take advantage of this opportunity, and work together to create a positive impact on the environment and local vanilla-growing communities from which we source.


How does MGIL promote continuous improvement of sustainable production across the flavor industry? We believe in leading by example and hope that as customers and consumers become increasingly motivated by sustainability issues, the whole industry will join us in creating a more sustainable future. As mentioned previously, McCormick Grown for Good framework provides a robust roadmap for continuous improvement within agricultural supply chains. We are increasingly collaborating with our peers on ensuring environmental and social challenges are addressed at scale in origin countries.


Why is MGIL's mission so important to you, personally? McCormick's leadership in herb and spices remains. However, the competition is always making inroads against our sourcing, quality, and food safety advantages. We need new avenues of differentiation to help maintain McCormick's leadership.  Transforming our value chains and launching McCormick Grown for Good framework are two imperatives we believe will deliver business impact that drives structural advantage and growth. That agenda is very important because we understand it's everyone's responsibility to drive business results.  


The MGIL team consistently demonstrates how a small group of individuals can have a significant impact on an organization and the industry as a whole. For example, our sustainability work translates into shared value across our iconic supply chains as we build community resiliency, benefit farmer livelihoods, reduce supply risk, and improve quality. Our high-performance focus, teamwork, and innovative approaches embody the core values of McCormick and for us, make MGIL a great place to work.


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