A year after the launch of the Good Food Finance Network (GFFN), the GFFN principals and co-chairs met businesses and investors during Climate Week NYC 2022 to demonstrate the progress made and invite them to join the network to unlock finance for sustainable and climate-resilient food systems.
“Financial institutions, be it asset managers, commercial banks or insurance companies, have discovered food. The climate world has equally discovered food. It is now an issue of conceiving investable or bankable business propositions that feed the world within planetary boundaries. For this to happen, we need to connect the worlds of food and finance, agree on measurement frameworks, be bold in our actions and finance food systems transition. The Good Food Finance Network brings the leaders from all these worlds together and works with determination and urgency towards solutions.”— Wiebe Draijer, CEO Rabobank and GFFN Co-Chair
Meeting the climate commitments of the Paris Agreement and ESG or Net Zero commitments, while ensuring food security for all, requires food to be produced more sustainably and carbon efficiently. Currently, food systems are responsible for an estimated 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions, having negative externalities impacting nature, people and health. Continuing the current ways of production, consumption and waste ensures a fast degradation of our planetary systems, resulting in significant financial risks and material implications on our food and economic systems. Financial institutions and actors in the value chain need to recognize food systems as an important lever for systemic transformation and take action to mitigate financial risks, meet climate, nature protection and other SDG goals, and leverage economic opportunities.
“Our food systems are an important pillar of our economy. Climate change together with the energy and food crises demand we improve food system resilience and mitigation solutions. This can only be achieved when businesses, private and public sector finance raise their ambition together and implement their climate and ESG commitments by investing in low-carbon, nature positive and equitable food systems. Timing is critical as we move toward COP27 and the first Global Stocktake of the Paris Agreement in 2023.”— Diane Holdorf, Executive Vice President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and GFFN Principal
To achieve a successful transition to sustainable food systems, an estimate of USD $300-350 billion annual investments are needed until 2030, according to the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU). Yet, current figures place less than 5% of global financial sector assets as provisions for the sustainable food and agriculture sector, which indicates an insufficient allocation of capital to finance the transition of our food systems. New partnerships and innovation in finance are imperative to turn food and land use systems from climate polluters to a significant lever for climate solutions. Finance leaders can both mitigate emerging risks and leverage economic opportunities by recognizing the dependencies on climate and the natural environment.
“We must not forget hundreds of millions of vulnerable people around the poverty line and wider groups crushed by the current cost of living crisis: informal workers, women, small holder farmers, families on the poverty line. To ensure access to affordable food for all we must support vulnerable groups, stabilize global markets, reducing volatility, and the uncertainty of commodity prices.”— Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and GFFN Co-Chair
GFFN’s catalyst groups and the High Ambition Group have been working with high-level leaders, technical experts and agropreneurs from the finance, business and public sector to address the barriers which are causing this underfunding of our food systems, raise ambition from investors, businesses and policymakers and drive action to develop innovative solutions. You can get involved with GFFN’s working groups here.
One of GFFN’s significant workstreams discussed at Climate Week NYC is the Co-Investment Platform, which aims to scale-up and drive investments in climate resilient food production and enable expanded access to affordable, healthy and sustainably produced foods. The Platform will be designed to crowd in both private and public finance, and to become a center of gravity, connecting existing funds, institutions, and networks, in and around our food systems to unlock massive shifts toward climate-aligned food system finance for farmers, cities, and other actors. A series of consultation workshops are being held to ensure an integral design and implementation – contact GFFN at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get involved.
“The way we finance food systems will determine whether we are equipped to successfully address climate change, maintain international peace and stability, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, leaving no one behind. This is why the GFFN is working to convert innovation insights into a multi-sector Co-Investment Platform for food systems transformation.”— Dr. Gunhild Stordalen, Executive Chair, EAT Foundation and GFFN Principal
In the coming months, we will focus on identifying and implementing solutions to overcome barriers between food and finance, with a series of knowledge products that will inform the next phase of implementation. GFFN welcomes further experts from private and public finance actors to develop the most effective tools. For COP27, GFFN’s High Ambition Group is developing ambitious yet credible targets in some of the impact areas most material for each member. Follow GFFN’s events at COP27 where these targets will be announced and the implementation will be discussed.
“Robust financing in sustainable food systems will breed innovation which in turn will drive forward ambitious climate solutions; create more resilient populations; and unlock economic and financial potential for everyone from the woman smallholder farmer to the multinational asset manager. In short, the future of our climate depends on today’s good food finance investments.”— Amb. Ertharin Cousin, Founder Food Systems for the Future and Managing Director, Good Food Opportunity Fund and GFFN Principal
Climate and Food Systems:
A recent paper states food systems emit ~ 20 GtCO2e/y or 35% of global greenhouse gas emissions and this amount is expected to increase and possibly threaten global climate targets. Transforming and intensifying food systems could lead to a reduction of its emissions from 21.4 to − 2.0 GtCO2e/y and address increasing food demands, more with carbon offset strategies. Further action is required to seize the potential for carbon sequestration and adopt diet shifts as well as new technologies.