“Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good” – a new milestone toward the UN Food Systems Summit 2021

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19 November, 2020


Insights from the CEO


Geneva, 19 November – The UN Food Systems Summit (UN FSS) in 2021 is  a critical milestone event that will contribute to the Decade of Action and Delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UN FSS will raise global awareness to understand the food systems challenges we must solve, build a global conversation on the way in which we produce, process, and consume food, and galvanize global actions and commitments to improve our food systems to provide safe, nutritious food for all within our planetary boundaries.

As part of its role in leading private sector engagement for the UN FSS, WBCSD is co-hosting five sessions during the Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good virtual event, happening on 23-24 November 2020. The event brings together high-level representatives from the business community, the public sector, civil society, international organizations, youth representatives, farmer leaders, as well as other key actors along the food value chain. The aim of the event is to produce concrete, multi-stakeholder input regarding the priorities, challenges, opportunities, and game-changing solutions that are needed to create  sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. The three objectives of the event are:

  1. Creating a global network of leaders at all levels to drive transformative change for sustainable food systems.
  2. Identifying a set of scalable, ‘Game-changer’ initiatives to achieve a sustainable food system and outlining the partnerships, funding and innovation hubs that would be needed to implement them in the lead-up to the UN FSS.
  3. Focusing dialogue on an initial set of science-based principles to change the food system that could be adopted between now and the UN FSS next year.

WBCSD is co-organizing the virtual event and co-hosting the following five sessions.  For the full list of events visit the event website; you can access the registration for WBCSD co-hosted events by clicking the following links:

These events can be followed and shared on social media with: #BoldActions4Food #foodsystems

This joint-partner organized event has been organized by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), the Government of The Netherlands, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), One Young World, PepsiCo, Royal DSM, Rabobank Tufts University’s Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy, Unilever, Wageningen University & Research, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the World Economic Forum and World Farmers Organization.

WBCSD role and commitments towards FSS

The UN FSS will be convened by the UN Secretary-General and, for the first time in history, will bring heads of state together to discuss a systems approach for food systems challenges and agree on a joint path forward. The UN FSS is scheduled for September 2021 in New York, USA.  A pre-summit event be held in Rome, Italy, likely in July 2021. WBCSD’s President & CEO, Peter Bakker, has been appointed as an Advisor to the Food Systems Summit Secretariat  

With Peter’s appointment, WBCSD has led the creation of the Private Sector Guiding Group (PSGG),  a group of global and regional business organization platforms which will help represent the private sector in all its diversity. The PSGG will help drive business engagement in the UN FSS processes and facilitate business action in support of the summit’s outcomes. The UN FSS presents a unique opportunity to accelerate private sector action to transform food systems and encourage more companies to engage.

WBCSD’s work focusing on  COVID-19 Rapid response initiatives is a concrete example to illustrate the commitment and actions of the private sector to “build forward better” and transform the food system. The private sector will prepare for the summit with defined policy asks, SMART commitments and clear pathways for scaling innovative initiatives. This can help build confidence among delegates and raise combined levels of ambition and catalyze the multi-stakeholder partnerships, policies and financing needed to deliver progress. 

The WBCSD Food & Agriculture Program Area Directors are engaged in several of the FSS Action Track Leadership Groups and cross-cutting levers, helping reflect the voice of business and our collective action into the planning. The results from the WBCSD Science-to-Policy Dialogues (see first session result here), the Food & Agriculture Roadmap (see first chapter here) and game-changing work with partners will help shape the level of ambition.

The Food Systems Summit Dialogues are gearing up for national dialogues, led by UN member state government conveners.  There will continue to be independent Food Systems Dialogues, much like the ones WBCSD has been leading recently for investors.  We will keep you informed of opportunities to engage and support, especially in-country.

Peter Bakker, WBCSD President and CEO and member of the Food Systems Summit’s Advisory Committee:

“2021 marks an important year, with the first United Nations Food Systems Summit taking place then. As a member of the Summit’s Advisory Committee, together with 25 Member State representatives and leading experts, I’ve been honored to build on WBCSD’s Food expertise and to have been working with businesses and stakeholders in the Summit’s run-up to amplify their contributions for transforming food systems and to help achieve the SDGs. Change is needed to achieve a positive transformation of the global food system. And this change needs to come from all stakeholders, including businesses who need to deliver and drive the innovations and actions the system and our people are in need of.”

Diane Holdorf, Managing Director of the Food and Nature Program at WBCSD:

“Business is ready to contribute in the food systems discussion, as so many core elements of our food depend on the innovation, hard work and dedication of the business community, starting from farmers to those who process food and those that ultimately sell and market it. WBCSD is committed to working together as transparently and openly as possible and ensure that the Food Systems Summit is a success.”