PRESS RELEASE —
An international group of finance leaders are coming together to accelerate the mobilization of finance for healthier, more sustainable, and inclusive food systems.
21 September 2021—As the world is preparing for the landmark United Nations Food Systems Summit on 23 September 2021, finance leaders who have recognized the vital role of food in solving today’s most pressing environmental and social challenges, are joining forces for a transition towards financing healthier and more sustainable, equitable food systems.
Our food systems touch every aspect of human existence and have the power to generate large-scale positive outcomes for the health and resilience of people, nature, economies, and financial holdings.
That said, a large portion of today’s food systems are broken, unequal and simply unsustainable. Currently, they directly contribute to 30% of the world’s anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, threaten 86% of at-risk species, deny 3 billion people affordable access to regular, safe, and nutritious food, and leave 690 million people chronically hungry.
“We need to build a possible future where a just food system meets the health needs of our entire global population, provides lucrative financial return for all stakeholders from the woman smallholder farmer to the multinational asset managers and commercial bankers”, said Ambassador Ertharin Cousin, President and Co-Founder of Food Systems for the Future.
Leaders in finance from across the globe have recognized the immense potential of addressing major financial imperatives linked to food systems transformation.
C-suite leaders from financial institutions in the public, private, and multilateral sectors—including Rabobank, JP Morgan Chase, S2G Ventures, AMERRA, Phatisa, FIRA, the World Bank, IFAD, and others—joined a high-level roundtable, timed to coincide with meetings of the U.N. General Assembly, to launch the Good Food Finance Network.
“It is my distinct honour, together with all of you, to formally launch the Good Food Finance Network,” announced Wiebe Draijer, Chairman of the Managing Board of Rabobank, adding “I look forward to working with you to transform our food systems to provide healthy, nutritious and affordable food to all, within the boundaries of this beautiful planet.”
The Good Food Finance Network will bring together public and private financial institutions, governments and businesses, across all regions of the world. Convening a Leaders’ Group and technical expert Catalyst Groups to ensure measurable, verifiable and catalytic advances, the Network will serve as a go-to platform for developing the critical innovations that will allow sustainable food system finance to become the mainstream standard.
“Working with this unique coalition of leading public and private institutions toward the creation of a more equitable, healthy, productive and regenerative food and agriculture system augments our ability to have a more substantive impact,” said Erik R. Oken, Global Chairman of Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan.
Food systems also offer promising economic opportunities. If allocated correctly, public and private sector investments in sustainable food systems could cultivate an estimated USD 4.5 trillion per year in sustainable business opportunities by 2030. If we, on the other hand, continue with a business-as-usual approach to food finance, we risk widespread destabilization of not just our food systems, but indeed the financial system itself. Sectors representing nearly half of global GDP (around $44 trillion) are directly dependent on nature, threatened by the food system like never before. Additionally, the cost of undernutrition, in terms of lost national productivity and economic growth, ranges from 2% to 11% of GDP worldwide.
Jeremy Coller, Chief Investment Officer at Coller Capital and Chair of the FAIRR Initiative, told the Roundtable “Intensive agriculture emits more CO2 than the entire global transport sector and yet we have not set targets to enable us to achieve the Paris climate goals. The public and private sector can come together to rethink our approach to agriculture moving away from national and development bank subsidies that support factory farming to solutions that support sustainable agriculture including agri and food tech innovation. FAIRR looks forward to working with GFFN to drive positive change across our global food system.”
The investments needed to transform our food and land use systems are estimated at USD 300-350 billion a year until 2030. These are big figures, but they are dwarfed by the commitments made to COVID-19 recovery, for example. More importantly, they are dwarfed by the enormous business opportunities in sustainable, healthy, equitable food investments, and the societal value that these investments can unleash.
The Good Food Finance Network is convened by EAT Foundation, FAIRR, Food Systems for the Future, UN Environment Programme and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The Network works in close collaboration with the World Bank, Rabobank, S2G Ventures, UNEP FI, PRI, the GEF, Just Rural Transition, and other supporting partners. It will build on and take forward the finance outcomes of the UN Food Systems Summit, and is currently working to develop a multi-year Action Agenda to identify, deploy, and mainstream critical financial innovations to drive the transition to healthy, sustainable food systems.
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Visit the detailed event page, including elements of the emerging Good Food Finance Action Agenda, and a video featuring GFFN partners and leaders.