Companies must engage with food systems initiatives

Businesses need to involve themselves more deeply in sustainable food and nutrition initiatives if the food system is to move onto a more sustainable path.

This was one of the key conclusions of a new report by SustainAbility and WWF which mapped existing global initiatives addressing sustainable food systems and diets and identified opportunities and gaps.

It found that although a wide range of stakeholders are engaged in initiatives to drive progress on a range of food systems issues, the comparatively low presence of retail and foodservice companies shows that more can and should be done to engage consumer facing businesses in these initiatives.

The research focused on initiatives seeking to address the food system across multiple issues or areas of the value chain and involving multiple stakeholders.

It found that current initiatives are primarily focused on climate change; nutrition; smallholder productivity and livelihoods; and consumption issues; however it identified a lack of focus on the entire value chain, and a missing focus on the governance and delivery and implementation of new sustainable systems.

The authors concluded that if more organisations were to take a food systems perspective there would be greater collaboration and coordination of initiatives and increased impact.

“There is evidence of mobilisation on many of the most urgent issues we face. But while we are making progress, we can, and need to, do more,” said Matt Loose, senior director at SustainAbility.

“Businesses needs to engage more deeply as critical agents of change,” Loose added.

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