POLICY UPDATE —
Stockholm +50, hosted by the Governments of Sweden and Kenya on 2-3 June 2022, was a key international conference to celebrate 50 years since the 1972 UN Conference on the human environment and the establishment of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP). The Conference, held under the theme “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity,” took place in Stockholm, Sweden and was firmly anchored in the Decade of Action which calls for an acceleration of sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges — ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.
So, what does this mean for sustainable food systems financing?
The Food Value Chain Transformation and the Stockholm Action Agenda
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), a core partner of the Good Food Finance Network (GFFN), and the Stockholm Environment Institute — in collaboration with the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Government of Sweden Secretariat for Stockholm+50 — curated a four-month process that produced the Stockholm Action Agenda on sustainable global value chains.
The Stockholm Action Agenda is an unprecedented multi-stakeholder initiative that seeks to identify practical ways to overcome the most significant roadblocks that businesses and other stakeholders face in scaling sustainability fast across six key global value chains, including food & agriculture. The Stockholm Action Agenda identified a set of three practical Action Priorities:
- A Global Corporate Accountability and Transparency Mechanism – to track business contributions to climate, nature and pollution targets. This would also be applied to the food, agriculture and land use sectors which are important contributors to GHG emissions.
- A Global Circularity Protocol – to remove common roadblocks for businesses and SMEs to scale circular business models.
- A Global Sustainability Skills for Action Initiative – to help the business and financial community build capacity to speed up the sustainability transformation across multiple markets. Research, innovation and knowledge sharing will be required alongside a skilled workforce to undertake the necessary steps to sustainably transform food systems and land use.
The Stockholm Action Agenda made practical recommendations for food and agriculture:
- The Action Agenda recognizes that financing and working with global capital markets can help define our economic and financial valuation models in line with the science for sustainability. More specifically, the Agenda recommends the establishment of a global Food Systems Resilience Board to make agriculture a more attractive investment for private investors.
- The Agenda found that enhancing resilience and promoting food security can be accomplished by linking small-scale growers of climate-smart crops to opportunities and markets, leveraging circularity and introducing national regulations to reduce food waste and loss in the value chain.
Financing the transition
While Stockholm +50 covered climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution as the ‘triple planetary crisis’ and goes well beyond food and land use, the discussions and outputs have implications for the finance and investment as a lever of change. Participants agreed on the need to scale up finance to unprecedented levels. Many highlighted the challenges developing countries faced in addressing these crises and called for predictable, adequate and transparent financial flows and a commitment to abide by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. For the food and agriculture sectors, this means transforming value chains and business practices requires new and innovative collaborations between a range of stakeholders of the civil society, public and private sectors to tackle the challenges to unlock finance and investments.
Stockholm +50 was a significant multi-stakeholder moment geared toward bridging the implementation gap on sustainability commitment ahead of the second part of the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 and the UN Climate Change Conference COP27. The coming few months will show how significant the progress has been. The Good Food Finance Network and its partners will continue to drive multi-stakeholder action to catalyze transformations of food systems.
Want to learn more? Interesting Outputs from Stockholm +50
- Press release: The Climate Investment Funds (CIF) launched the CIF Nature, People, and Climate (NPC) investment platform to pilot and scale nature-based solutions in developing countries.
- Event Summary: Developing a Roadmap to a Nature Positive Economy (includes a finance angle)
- Publication: Money where it matters for people, nature and climate
- Event Recording: Transforming the Food & Agriculture value chain
- Event Recording: Stockholm Action Agenda launch: transforming global value chains
- Blog: Three practical Action Priorities that will help businesses unlock sustainable transformation at scale along value chains
This blog was authored by Evelyn Frischknecht, Associate, Investment Partnerships, WBCSD.