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As part of Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020 , Business Fights Poverty and Nestlé are convening a webinar and online peer discussion on Building System-Level Partnerships to Strengthen Food Systems .
As part of Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020 , Business Fights Poverty and Nestlé are convening a webinar and online peer discussion on Building System-Level Partnerships to Strengthen Food Systems . The webinar will take place on Friday, 25 September 2020 at 10AM EDT / 3PM BST, followed by 30 minutes Peer Discussion ending at 11:30AM EDT / 4:30PM BST.
Register here to attend.
COVID-19 has had a dramatic impact on the global food system , exacerbating existing vulnerabilities. The pandemic has resulted in logistics disruptions to international food markets, the imposition of physical distancing restrictions, and the prohibition in some countries on exporting food during the crisis.
These disruptions have impacted businesses’ supply chains, employees and contract workers across the value chain, and consumers through higher food prices and product availability. The most vulnerable have been disproportionately affected by high food prices, low product availability, and growing unemployment - especially for low-skilled workers.
A Global Food System in Crisis
According to a recent FAO report , in 2019 there were 690 million people worldwide who were chronically undernourished, up by almost 60 million in the five years since 2014. Alarmingly, the report warns that a further 130 million people could fall into chronic hunger by the end of this year, as a result of COVID-19.
On the other hand, according to the United Nations Food Systems Summit , over 2 billion people are overweight or obese. We are producing more food than ever before, but it is estimated that a third of it goes to waste. Our mode of food production is also harming the environment, and is responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions, 80% of biodiversity loss, 80% of deforestation, and 70% of our freshwater use.
Clearly, there is an urgent need to rethink our global food systems and to ensure that all people have access to the nutritious food they need, both now, and in the future.
The structural problems inherent in the way that we grow, process, distribute, consume and waste food have been known for some time now. The World Resources Report warns that if we are to ensure adequate food supplies by 2050 we need to:
The task ahead is as monumental as it is essential.
Transformation through System-Level Partnerships
Fortunately, there are initiatives already in place to enhance resilience and promote positive change.
The United Nations Food Summit 2021  aligns the problems facing food systems to the Sustainable Development Goals in order to build a global coalition that can help countries and the most vulnerable to deal with these global challenges. Key themes include ensuring nutrition for all, shifting to sustainable consumption habits, boosting nature-positive production, building equitable livelihoods, and strengthening the resilience of food systems.
At the end of last year, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development released its CEO Guide to Food System Transformation which details the need for business leadership in this area, and the actions that businesses can take to bring about a transformational change in our food systems.
Crucially, the scale and nature of the changes required calls for system-level partnerships involving international organisations, governments, businesses, and civil society to build a more resilient global structure for producing, managing and commercialising food.
In an article for the World Economic Forum , Juergen Voegele, from the World Bank, and Jane Nelson, from the Harvard Kennedy School, recommended that collaborations focus on overcoming barriers in technology innovation, in nutrition research and in finance for small producers, and support agricultural practices that do not harm the environment.
One example of such a collaboration is the FReSH project , a coalition of 35 leading multinationals including Nestlé, Unilever, Danone, and Bayer, convened by WBCSD. The project drives solutions to transform the food system for healthy people and a healthy planet. Taking a “fork to farm” approach, the project starts with an analysis of the dietary shifts that will be required to ensure food security for all, within environmental limits. Following this, the project develops, implements and scales precompetitive, cross-sectoral and science-based solutions to transform the way that our food is produced and consumed. This includes reformulating products to increase nutritional value, prompting dietary shifts towards more sustainable consumption, and adapting agricultural production practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect biodiversity.
Through this kind of initiative, there is potential to reverse the rising rates of hunger and improve human health whilst building a fairer society and a more resilient future.
How Can I Find Out More?
Please join us for our webinar on Friday, 25 September 2020 at 10AM EDT / 3PM BST, followed by 30 minutes Peer Discussion ending at 11:30AM EDT / 4:30PM BST.
This informative and interactive session will address:
We look forward to seeing you there.
This online event on Building System-Level Partnerships to Strengthen Food Systems is part of Business Fights Poverty NYC Online 2020 , a one-week, online conference (21 to 25 September) that builds on our recent online conference Business Fights Poverty Online 2020 (13 to 17 July) to drive forward connection, conversations and collaboration around how we rebuild better - how together we create an equitable and resilient world.
The week consists of inspiring and engaging content, live events, peer networking and community-led learning. The week also builds on our Business and COVID-19 Response with Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative, and supported by DFID and a number of our corporate partners.
Each day, we will focus on a specific theme: Imagining the Future We Want (Monday); Creating an Equitable World (Tuesday); Helping People Survive and Thrive (Wednesday); Building Resilient Livelihoods (Thursday); Shaping System-Level Partnerships (Friday).
The conference Headline Supporter is Visa and AB InBev. Our Supporting Partners are Mars, Nestlé, Anglo American, Walmart and Standard Chartered. Content partners include Harvard Kennedy School Corporate Responsibility Initiative, the UN Office for Partnerships, WBCSD, Business in the Community, The Partnering Initiative and the League of Intrapreneurs.
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