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Food & Agriculture Roadmap

Why a Food & Agriculture Roadmap?

The Food and Agriculture Roadmap is the implementation plan of the CEO Guide to Food System Transformation. It builds on the work carried out to date by WBCSD’s Food Reform for Sustainability and Health (FReSH), Scaling Positive Agriculture (SPA), Global Agribusiness Action on Equitable Livelihoods (GAA-EL) and Policy teams, and draws from a wide body of highly-regarded research from academic, governmental, and non-profit organizations. The Roadmap comprises several chapters and it aims to further galvanize the food and agriculture business community around the urgent need to take action towards food and agriculture system transformation, both within company operations and collectively. 

What is it about ? 

The Food and Agriculture Roadmap sets out transformational targets, key action areas and solutions urgently required to transform food systems to achieve environmental sustainability, equitable livelihoods, and healthy and sustainable diets for all. Grounded in scientific and economic analysis, the Roadmap helps companies prioritize and develop business-led solutions while advancing supportive policy, regulatory and financial frameworks.

Healthy and sustainable diets

Main goals

Transformational targets

Together with member companies and key partners, FReSH identified a set of transformational targets, action areas and solutions primarily aimed at the food and agriculture sector to provide healthy, accessible, enjoyable food for all, produced in a socially responsible manner within planetary boundaries. The proposed transformational targets fall within two categories: diet and nutrition, and food waste. Due to a lack of internationally agreed targets on this topic, we propose a set of new dietary and nutritional transformational targets drawn from the most relevant existing scientific and sector-specific literature – produced by EAT-Lancet, the FOLU Coalition, the FABLE Consortium, WHO-FAO, WRI, WBCSD and the United Nations. Companies should consider all targets and prioritize the ones that are applicable to the scope of their product portfolios, offerings and operations throughout the entire value chain.

The identified transformational targets set out the boundaries for the daily consumption of 13 specific food types needed for a healthy and sustainable diet by 2030 and 2050. These specific food types were selected based on their importance to the human diet and their environmental impacts. The upper and lower boundaries help account for variations in diets due to geography, culture, demography and dietary habits. Given where the sector is today, business must achieve, by 2030, at least 30% of the change required to meet the 2050 target for daily consumption of specific food types.

Company action areas

The identified key Action Areas to achieve the necessary food system transformation, covering the consumption part of the food supply chain and specific business-led solutions. These Action Areas present a range of change driven actions that businesses and other actors need to take to tackle the sector’s key issues - holistically rather than in isolation. Companies should consider all Action Areas and prioritize the ones that are most material to the scope of their product portfolios, offerings and operations throughout the entire value chain. 

Collective action areas

To achieve systemic transformation, it will be critical to collaborate and build coalitions across and outside of the sector. Companies need to establish more effective collaboration with diverse stakeholders along the value chain and beyond, considering how their actions can complement those of others who are working towards the same goals (e.g., consumer advocacy groups).

Key collaborative business-led solutions for food and agriculture companies to drive the necessary shift to healthy and sustainable diets should focus on the following:

  • Working with other companies across the value chain to promote healthy and sustainable products and meals (e.g., food manufacturers, retailers, workforce food canteens and other food service companies working together on the selection and placement of healthy and sustainable products);
  • Collaborating with peers, academia, government and civil society to commit to promoting a national transition to healthy and sustainable diets in a transparent and traceable fashion;
  • Promoting coalition building across value chains and regions to advance and accelerate legislation on a national and international level that supports the shift to a healthy and more sustainable food system (e.g., harmonization of international legislation).

Transforming agriculture

Main goals

Transformational targets

The transformational targets associated with this chapter focus on climate change mitigation and nature and biodiversity. For each transformational target, there are accompanying sector-level sub-targets that provide the more detailed targets required to meet the transformational target.

We have consulted a range of publications as detailed in the References section of this Roadmap, including those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Science Based Targets Network (SBTN) Interim Guidance, WBCSD (Protein Transformative Pathways), and EAT-Lancet, as part of the process to identify transformational targets. Each publication identifies the current unsustainable agricultural practices and the need to transition to food systems that use resources sustainability, while supporting the regeneration of nature and biodiversity.

These targets primarily focus on companies that operate in the production part of the value chain; however, they are also relevant to downstream actors, such as manufacturers and retailers, who can also support these efforts. Companies should consider all targets and prioritize the ones that are applicable and material to the scope of their product portfolios, offerings and operations throughout the entire value chain.

It is important to recognize that achieving food and agricultural system transformation and successfully delivering on the targets will require wider changes across markets and business models. Although we have developed these targets at the sector-level, wider changes will need to occur to enable the required transformation.

Climate Change Mitigation

GHG emissions from agriculture

Transformational Target 1: Reduce GHG emissions from agriculture and enhance carbon sequestration to reach net zero by 2050.

  • Sub-target 1.1: Halve GHG scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2030 (reduce emissions from 8.8 to 4.4 GtCO2e by 2030), to reach net zero by 2050 or earlier, and to become net positive beyond 2050 (indicative +5 GtCO2e by 2075).

Nature and Biodiversity

Nitrogen release from agriculture

Transformational Target 2: Close nitrogen cycles with significant reduction of losses on agricultural land, from livestock production and aquaculture, and food consumption and waste:

  • Sub-target 1.1: Reduce total N use from industrial and agricultural biological fixation and reduce N losses from agricultural land by 2050.

Phosphorus release from agriculture

Transformational Target 3: Keep phosphorus release from agriculture within environmental limits.

  • Sub-target 1.1: Reduce total P use from fertilizers to erodible soils and reduce P losses from agricultural soils & human excretion from freshwater systems into the ocean by 2050.

Shifting agriculture from the main driver of nature loss to a regenerator of nature

Transformational Target 4: Achieve zero net loss of nature from 2020, net positive for nature by 2030 and full recovery by 2050.

  • Sub-target 4.1: Achieve zero deforestation and no net loss of non-forest natural habitats from 2020.
  • Sub-target 4.2: Achieve zero conversion of natural habitats in the value chain by 2030.
  • Sub-target 4.3: Increase soil carbon stock through restoration and regeneration on agricultural lands by 4% per year.
  • Sub-target 4.4: Regenerate ecological integrity in supply chain by ensuring 10% ecological focus areas per km2 for all sourced agricultural inputs.
  • Sub-target 4.5: Maintain genetic diversity of seeds, plants, and farmed animals.
  • Sub-target 4.6: Eliminate sourcing from areas of high species extinction risk.

Water Use in Agriculture

Transformational Target 5: Reduce by half the global level of water stress by 2030:

  • Sub-target 5.1: Keep total yearly blue water use for irrigation within 2453 km.
  • Sub-target 5.2: Freshwater: By 2030, reduce water use across all high water impact parts of the value chain.
  • Sub-target 5.3: Wastewater: By 2030, ensure that 100% of wastewater reused for agricultural purposes is safe.
Company action areas

Transforming Agriculture Action areas

Actions taken along these key areas should be guided by the transformational targets outlined in the roadmap and organizations should also set key performance indicators for new policies or organizational approaches to monitor and ensure compliance and success.

Action area

Sub-action area

1. Improve the sustainability of arable farming practices 

  • Adopt transformative inputs for nature and climate
  • Strengthen water stewardship
  • Use regenerative agricultural practices

2. Improve the sustainability of livestock farming practices

  • Implement responsible animal feed practices and support animal health
  • Use regenerative livestock practices

3. Avoid damage to and promote restoration of natural ecosystems

  • Monitor, protect and restore nature across the value chain

4. Leverage technological innovation to support changing farming practices

  • Enable greater access to digital advisory services for farmers
Collective action areas

To achieve systemic transformation, collaboration, coalition building, and collective action across and beyond the sector will be critical. Collaborative actions that have been identified that SPA can take to support the shift towards food and agricultural system transformation are as follows. These have been broken down into direct collective actions and enabling collective actions:

Direct:

  • Farmers & Producers: Collaborating directly with farmers and producers to strengthen a sustainable, resilient agricultural system​
  • Landscapes: Implementing collective landscape approaches to deliver sustainable land use commitments​

Enablers

  • Finance & Incentives​: Scaling up finance for key food and agriculture practices and addressing the incentives required across the value chain​
  • Metrics​: Improving businesses’ ability to trace, measure and monitor impacts and progress towards food and agriculture system transformation

To implement the Roadmap, ultimately Scaling Positive Agriculture will work with its members to:

  • Strengthen Performance: Helping to resolve risky, material priorities to improve sustainability performance on critical imperatives: Climate, Nature
  • Scale Collective Action: Mobilising action opportunities via new partnerships and innovative solutions at scale
  • Systems Transformation: Achieving transformational change in the food system by focusing on enablers – finance, policy, traceability

Equitable livelihoods

Main goals

Transformational targets

Livelihoods and Human Rights

Transformational targets focus on the sector level, with (where possible) timebound impact goals designed to achieve food and agriculture production responsibly and within planetary boundaries and enhance the equitable distribution of value. The transformational targets associated with this chapter focus on livelihoods and human rights. For each transformational target, accompanying sub-targets provide the detailed targets required to meet performance against the transformational target.

We have consulted a range of publications, including those from the United Nations Food Systems Summit Action Track 4, the World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Smallholder and Agri-SME Finance and Investment Network (SAFIN), LandScale, the Global Commission on Adaptation, Champions 12.3 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as part of the process to identify transformational targets. Each publication identifies the need to transition to food and agriculture systems that distribute value more equitably across the value chain, ensuring a “just transition” for rural livelihoods and production communities.

Companies should consider all targets and prioritize the ones that are applicable to the scope of their product portfolios, offerings and operations throughout the entire value chain. These targets primarily focus on companies that operate in the production part of the value chain but are also relevant to downstream actors, such as manufacturers and retailers, who can also support these efforts. 

Strengthen rural economies

Transformational Target 1: Improve incomes and provide more resilient livelihoods for agricultural producers, workers, small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises (agri-SMEs) and rural communities by 2030

  • Sub-target 1.1: Enhance the climate resilience and adaptation of 300 million smallholder farmers and agricultural producers[i] [ii]
  • Sub-target 1.2: Provide all workers within supply chains with a living income[iii]
  • Sub-target 1.3: Halve the proportion of people living in poverty in the food and agriculture system[iv] [v]
  • Sub-target 1.4: Mobilize private funding and investments to close the financing and investment gap for equitable development, including for agri-SMEs[vi] [vii] [viii]
  • Sub-target 1.5: Ensure access to basic services considered essential needs (including clean water and sanitation, education and health care) for all agricultural workers[ix]
  • Sub-target 1.6: Halve food and agricultural product losses per capita by 2030[x]

 

Protect rural communities

Transformational Target 2: Ensure that   human rights are respected for all workers across agricultural value chains by 2030

  • Sub-target 2.1: End child labor in all its forms within production activities[xi]
  • Sub-target 2.2: Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labor within production activities[xii]
  • Sub-target 2.3: Protect workers’ rights (including freedom of association, working hour restrictions, protection from discrimination, and safe working environments) for all workers within production activities[xiii]
  • Sub-target 2.4: Secure formal land tenure rights for all indigenous and local communities across all landscapes[xiv]
  • Sub-target 2.5: Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws[xv]
Company action areas

The transformational targets outlined in section II of the Roadmap should guide the company actions taken along these key areas; organizations should also set key performance indicators for new policies or organizational approaches to monitor and ensure compliance and success

Action area

Sub-action area

1. Improve access to markets

  • Support rural communities to shape and benefit from emerging carbon and ecosystem markets 
  • Facilitate better access to finance and capacity building resources to strengthen smallholder farmers and SMEs as a critical source of rural employment
  • Develop inclusive procurement and fair labor practices

2. Respect and protect human rights

  • Conduct strong human rights due diligence and commit to implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)[i]
  • Improve access to healthy, nutritious and sustainable diets for rural communities
  • Strengthen company capacity to understand and manage priority human rights impact areas, including gender, land rights, forced labor and child labor

3. Promote inclusive innovation and technology 

  • Scale last-mile services for SMEs and smallholder farmers and improve access to technology solutions and digital advisory services
  • Develop innovative financing partnerships to effectively share risk across value chains
  • Leverage technologies to measure and minimize food and agricultural product loss
Collective action areas

To achieve systemic transformation, collaboration, coalition building, and collective action across and beyond the sector will be critical. We have identified collaborative actions that companies can take to support the shift to food and agricultural system transformation, as follows:

  • Use cross-sector collaboration and partnerships to work more closely with suppliers and other actors across the value chain. This could include actions to ensure the prevention and remediation of human rights issues and abuses (e.g., by providing training for suppliers, being transparent with consumers about actions taken).
  • Share innovations in food and agricultural product losses within supply chains to enable fewer losses for the sector.
  • Work collaboratively with other producers and other important local stakeholders (e.g., local government, SMEs and local communities) in key regions to contribute to local development and advance equitable livelihoods. This includes multi-sector coordination and coherence to ensure a “just transition” for groups adversely affected by the move to a more sustainable agricultural system.[i]
  • Develop partnerships with financial institutions to support the development and deployment of financial products and services for agricultural producers and small and medium-sized agricultural enterprises (agri-SMEs) across the supply chain to drive rural development and improve livelihoods. For example, this could include connecting farmers to carbon finance income streams and payments for ecosystem services.

To implement the Roadmap, GAA-EL and WBCSD members will continue working together to:

  • Advance individual business-led solutions identified within the Roadmap;
  • Catalyze collaboration across the agriculture value chain and beyond, along the collective solutions identified in the Roadmap; and

Enhance dialogue and encourage the development of supportive actions and frameworks by other stakeholder groups, including investors and policy-makers.

Policy recommendations

Main goals

Consumption Challenges

Even though research suggests that achieving healthy and sustainable diets for 9.8 billion people by 2050 is possible, there are a series of policy challenges that need to be overcome in order to realize this goal on a global scale and across the food value chain.

Some of these political roadblocks are:

  • The lack of global guidelines covering both health and sustainability for food, insufficiency of existing national dietary guidelines to bring food systems within planetary boundaries, and the prevalence of multiple definitions of sustainable and healthy diets across governments, spheres and sectors.
  • Misaligned financial incentives that hide the true cost of ‘cheap food’ and make sustainable food products unaffordable for many, due to the fact that food pricing often does not reflect the true value of food (by not accounting for negative social and environmental impacts).
  • Lack of transparent and clear information available for consumers to make informed dietary choices, often as a result of insufficient collaboration between private and public sectors to establish equitable regulation and policies that promote healthy and sustainable diets
  • Current public procurement practices do not comprehensively align with the requirements to achieve sustainable and healthy diets
Overarching Policy asks

Policy Ask 1: Establish global guidelines, supported by national standards and incentives, to standardize and normalize healthy and sustainable diets and build consumer trust

Policy Ask 2: Create an enabling environment to educate consumers on healthy and sustainable choices, and ensure responsible marketing practices and advertising to normalize consumption of a healthy and sustainable diet

Policy Ask 3: Commit to embedding health and sustainability requirements within public procurement

Detailed Policy recommendations

Policy Ask 1: Establish global guidelines, supported by national standards and incentives, to standardize and normalize healthy and sustainable diets and build consumer trust

  • Develop global guidelines and certifications
  • Develop regional and/or national diet and rating guidelines while also raising the ambition of existing standards
  • Develop true cost accounting approaches to ensure the societal impact of food is reflected within pricing
  • Reward companies for improving the nutritional content and environmental sustainability of their product

Policy Ask 2: Create an enabling environment to educate consumers on healthy and sustainable choices, and ensure responsible marketing practices and advertising to normalize consumption of a healthy and sustainable diet

  • Build a publicly accessible global knowledge repository
  • Educate consumers on the importance of healthy and sustainable diets
  • Use behavioral nudges
  • Manage advertising and marketing regulations
  • Use enhanced transparency to support consumers to make more informed decisions

Policy Ask 3: Commit to embedding health and sustainability requirements within public procurement

  • Develop public procurement requirements
Key Enablers

Coordinate Policies and Actions

  • Greater cooperation between international and national institutions
  • Within countries, support more integrated policymaking
  • Regular engagement between public and private sectors across the value chain
  • Facilitate public-private and innovative cross-sector partnerships

Leverage Data and Technology to Increase Transparency

  • Big data on environmental and health impact
  • Digital communications

Investment in Improving Infrastructure

  • Public investment in improved infrastructure

Main goals

Production & Equity Challenges

While research demonstrates that nourishing the future while staying within planetary limits is possible, without collective action in all aspects of the food system and using a broad portfolio of solutions, achieving this will be a real challenge.

Some of these political roadblocks are:

  • The multitude of ways to define and evaluate aspects of our food system. This can lead to  governments, business, academic and civil society, speaking in different terms and aligning toward a different set of solutions for food production.  
  • Inclusivity into current and existing policy framework may be limited to to those who have the capacity to engage in these. Therefore not all voices are represented, which means we fail to tap into the diversity of solutions, impeding our collective success.
  • Access to information and digital technologies is not always equally distributed. 
Overarching policy asks

Policy Ask 1: Create a common set of global targets for food systems

Policy Ask 2: Re-design policy development platforms using inclusive multistakeholder processes

Policy Ask 3: Shift finance and harness digitization to better account for and address risks and opportunities

Detailed policy recommendations

Policy Ask 1: Create a common set of global targets for food systems

  • Create a food systems “Apex Goal” or “North Star” (or: ‘Develop an equivalent of climate 1.5’)
  • Ensure coherence and alignment across global goals (SDGs) and frameworks for biodiversity, climate and food
  • Incentivize regional and national alignment with outcome-based policies

Policy Ask 2: Re-design policy development platforms using inclusive multistakeholder processes

  • Foster cross-institutional collaboration and build authentic partnerships with knowledge providers while aligning local and global agreements to strengthen political linkages
  • Establish a rules-based and fair-trade level playing field
  • Increase responsible investment in socioeconomic opportunities and innovations

Policy Ask 3: Shift finance and harness digitization to better account for and address risks and opportunities

  • Improved access to finance through various instruments (i.e credit facilities, blended finance, carbon trading, MDB), aiming to offset risk to borrowers and banks
  • Government subsidy reform must shift public finance so that food producers (small and large-scale) produce healthy food in a sustainable way
  • Harnessing private and public collaboration through the sharing of information, tools and exchange of data (open-source) that work toward mutually benefitting solutions
  • Prioritize R&D investment to help accelerate digitization and innovation
Key Enablers

Build and Maintain Trust and Buy-In

  • Transparency in all processes
  • Foster cross-ministerial collaboration
  • Simple and honest reporting

Livelihoods and Community Investment

  • Aim for a national living income
  • Infrastructure opportunity
  • Social safety nets

Prioritizing Equity

  • Unlocking the blocks for key roles women play
  • Youth and future economic opportunities
  • The vulnerable leading the discussion

Case studies

Explore this collection of case studies and examples of collective action initiatives that demonstrate how the private sector is working together to achieve the goals set out in the Food & Agriculture Roadmap.

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