Prioritizing collective business action on and beyond proteins

Published: 21 Jan 2020
Type: Publication

At WBCSD, “Fixing our food system” has been the mission of our FReSH project since its launch in 2017. Amongst the debates we have had over the years with our members and partners, proteins have been at the heart of the debate. This is firstly because proteins are the food element that impacts the environment most per calorie of food produced. It is also because any discussion on proteins between business, scientists and civil society, tends to end up with entrenched positions.  

Therefore, to identify priority action areas, the FReSH project partnered with science partners (EAT and FABLE) and combined their modeling with quantified industry insights to develop a protein pathways white paper to guide the transformation of the protein sector.  

This white paper identifies the most promising solution spaces for the proteins sector, and beyond, for the entire food system. These would significantly help reduce GHG emissions as well as nature degradation. And even, go further than the commonly agreed 2030 “apex targets” for climate and nature. It demonstrates the potential impact of the business solution spaces to: 

  • reduce agricultural GHG emissions from 8.8 (under the IPCC and FAO projected BAU emissions scenarios) down to 1.6 GtCO2e by 2030; and 
  • increase the land area that could support biodiversity conservation by more than 20% by 2030. 

In parallel with the protein pathways white paper, we launched a report on plant protein that explores and shares the best solutions to scale-up a diverse variety of plant proteins globally, promoting a sustainable and healthy balance of plant and animal proteins.  

So, what’s next? WBCSD’s Food & Agriculture program area, through its FReSH and new Scaling Positive Agriculture projects, is now using the impact assessment of the business solution spaces to prioritize collective action with our members, on and beyond proteins. More will follow with our protein impact measurement framework and our Scaling Positive Agriculture ambition statement in June 2020, and our Sustainable and Healthy Diets Roadmap at the end of 2020.  

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