By 2050, we will need to feed more people with less available water and land per capita in the context of a changing climate, a growing energy demand and declining ecosystems. These issues must be addressed if the objective of reducing food insecurity while increasing agricultural sustainability is to be met.
Business has recognized a clear need to develop new solutions to deal with the interconnectedness of water, food, feed, fiber and energy. Through the Action2020 Platform for Action, WBCSD and its member companies have identified a set of societal “Must-Haves” or goals that business and other stakeholders can and need to collectively achieve by 2020, in order to reach WBCSD’s Vision 2050, i.e. a world in which 9 billion+ people live well and within the limits of the planet.
The societal Must-Haves identified for the “Food, Feed, Fiber and Biofuel” and “Release of Nutrient Elements” Priority Areas are detailed below.
“Food, Feed, Fiber and Biofuel” Societal Must-Have
By 2020, sustainably increase the production and resource efficiency of agriculture systems to secure access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food and sustainable bio-based products.
Halve food loss and waste (Baseline:2009)
Double, sustainably, agricultural yields in smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia (Baseline: 2005)
Raise farmers’ net incomes, and improve rural livelihoods within agriculture landscape
“Release of Nutrient Elements” Societal Must-Have
In watersheds experiencing eutrophication or hypoxia, pollution from excess nutrients must, by 2020, be brought to levels that are not detrimental to ecosystem function and biodiversity, including marine and soil ecosystems, while avoiding adverse effects through air pollution on human health and climate change.
WBCSD and its members have identified a number Business Solutions that can contribute to achieving these targets. They focus on increasing food, feed, fiber and fuel security; decreasing environmental impacts of agriculture; and securing farmers’ livelihoods.
1. Halving Food Loss and Waste from Field to Fork
Thirty two percent of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted, a massive inefficiency which has significant impacts on people and the planet. This Business Solution aims to address this challenge and is structured around two pillars: Action and Measurement.
1.1 Food Loss and Waste Action Platform
A collaborative platform for companies to share best practices and ideas on how to reduce food loss and waste throughout the agricultural value chain – from input suppliers down to consumers.
1.2 Food Loss and Waste Measurement Protocol
The Protocol will provide a globally consistent approach and guidance for countries and companies to measure and monitor the food loss and waste that occur within their boundaries and value chains. The initiative is led by WRI. WBCSD is involved as one of the Steering Committee members, and coordinates WBCSD member companies’ involvement in the initiative. More information on the WRI’s dedicated webpage
2. Growth Platforms for Smallholder Farmers
Small-scale regional agriculture produces up to 80% of the food consumed in the developing world and is an important source of income in those countries for the 1.5 billion people who rely directly on the food and agriculture sector for their livelihoods. This Business Solution is looking into strengthening existing initiatives that aim to enhance smallholder farmers’ livelihoods.
2.1 Grow Africa (Led by the World Economic Forum)
Grow Africa is a partnership platform that seeks to accelerate investments and transformative change in African agriculture based on national agricultural priorities. WBCSD Member Companies have identified this platform as a key initiative that members should collaborate with.
2.2 Rural Livelihood Initiative (Led by WBCSD’s Social Impact Cluster)
This new WBCSD project intends to enable effective collaborative action across industry sectors (including agriculture, forestry, IT/telecoms, healthcare, banking, consumer goods, education, energy, etc.) to make rural areas more attractive places to work, live, and invest in. More information on this business solution.
3. Climate Smart Agriculture
The WBCSD and member companies are currently scoping out a new Business Solution on how to scale-up Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). SCA promotes production systems that sustainably increase productivity, resilience (adaptation), reduces/removes GHGs (mitigation), and enhances achievement of national food security and development goals.
4. Closing the Nutrient Cycle
The environmental release of excess nitrogen and phosphorus is a form of biological pollution that leads to the disruption of land, freshwater and marine ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity. It also leads to severe reductions in air and water quality, and alteration of global biogeochemical cycles with consequences for the global climate system. The WBCSD and member companies are currently scoping out a new Business Solution on reducing the impact of nutrient elements release in agriculture.