Knowledge for better food systems

Fixing the business of food

This report explains how the Barilla Centre for Food & Nutrition, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the Columbia Centre on Sustainable Investment, and the Santa Chiara Lab of the University of Siena have helped the food industry move towards alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

To assess the sustainability of several major food companies, the following questions were used as guides:

  1. Does the company contribute to healthy and sustainable dietary patterns through its products and strategy?
  2. Are the company’s production processes economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable?
  3. Are the company’s global supply chains sustainable?
  4. Is the company a good corporate citizen?

The report concludes that, while many food industry leaders have made progress, much more needs to be done to make the industry more sustainable, including making sustainability reporting more systematic and detailed.

Read the full report, Fixing the business of food - the food industry and the SDG challenge, here. See also the FCRN project Plating up Progress and the Foodsource resource What interventions could potentially shift our eating patterns in sustainable directions?

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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