The climate crisis, biodiversity loss and food insecurity demonstrate the urgent need to develop secure food systems as the international community works toward meeting the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement and the Aichi biodiversity targets. Transformational and lasting change will only occur with the joint involvement of the private and public sectors. Policies must be designed to address environmental challenges posed by food production, food consumption and its impact on land-use. While mobilizing public sector investments is key, it is critical to ensure that certification and responsibility standards also serve to facilitate sustainability commitments for commodities. For the private sector, taking a sustainable approach that addresses ecological and social concerns creates value over the long term. By reducing carbon dioxide emissions, water use, producing less waste and developing more synergistic relationships with the environment, companies can benefit financially. Measuring the impact of food production on ecosystems leads to an improved capacity to quantify externalities, painting a more comprehensive picture of the true financial and environmental costs of doing business. Forging strong social commitments to employees and communities is a vital component of sustainable business practices. Sound government policies can help companies benefit from taking a socially responsible approach, while helping to protect investments and prevent market penalties.
Strategic efforts to reach high-level public and private sector decision makers on issues of value chain policy and sustainability already exist. With the private sector, including financial institutions, this covers activities at technical, corporate and value chain level to improve efforts toward transforming food system policies and standards to promote sustainable practices, sourcing and trade and ensure that incentives and financing opportunities are aligned. FOLUR representatives will participate regularly in private sector commodity roundtable meetings – sponsoring knowledge products, providing technical assistance, designing financial innovations and interacting with networks of business, government and civil society gathered in these pre-existing coalitions. These will be opportunities to disseminate FOLUR generated knowledge, practices and success stories and to seek feedback on the effectiveness of these products and the needs and gaps that need to be filled in the next cycle of collaborative work planning.
FOLUR partners will work with existing industry roundtables to include aligned objectives, working collaboratively to identify where gaps may exist or where additional incentives or tools may be necessary or helpful. Where an industry approach or sector roadmap does not yet exist, platform partners may work with industry players and roundtable stakeholders to develop or adapt one. Where sector roundtable organizations exist, the platform aims to optimize the number and manner of interactions with each, especially to provide early outreach for understanding the program and regular updates through existing events and communication channels. Partners will work with industry coalitions, regional coalitions, and national coalitions to move toward better aligned priorities. FOLUR will advocate -- produce guidance, case studies, success stories -- for a more consistent approach by value chain stage across commodities, enabling greater similarities among producer-focused activities, processing-focused activities, distribution and retail activities. They will recognize the importance of long-term commitments and note the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals provide a new level of political engagement with countries, beyond the commitments of specific companies and roundtables. FOLUR aims to support both public sector and private sector efforts toward realizing more ambitious sustainability goals. The Platform will support dialogue at regional and global levels to make available the best lessons and approaches are available for wider uptake. This will be supported by business case studies that provide evidence of the advantages of specific approaches.