Leading financial institutions announce ambitious targets in the food sector ahead of COP27

Targets set by public and private sector finance and business leaders in the Good Food Finance Network’s (GFFN) High Ambition Group mark the beginning of a journey aimed to raise the level of ambition in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges, bringing food systems further up on the sustainable finance agenda. 

Read the press release – here

27 October 2022, members from GFFN’s High Ambition Group have publicly announced targets across material impact areas and geographies, demonstrating how financial institutions can work together to increase the capital invested in sustainable food systems, use their influence to improve policies and access to finance, and drive companies to adopt more sustainable food systems practices that deliver healthier diets.

7 members published targets, including Rabobank (NL), Nuveen Natural Capital (US), Signature Agri Investments (NL), Global Environment Facility (US), Phatisa (Mauritius), Yara (Norway), and FIRA (Mexico)—the largest source of finance for agri-food and rural sectors in Mexico. 

Impact Areas with Targets set by HAG members as of October 6, 2022

*other members are in the process of updating or setting new targets

Finance is a critical lever of change for the transformation to sustainable food systems, yet food systems currently receive less attention on the sustainable finance agenda than is warranted. For example, according to a breakthrough UNFCCC report, mainstream climate scenarios used by investors to price risk – such as those developed by the IEA and NGFS – focus on the energy system, overlooking the critical agriculture, forestry, and land use (AFOLU) sectors. However, it also finds the value of opportunities in the food and agriculture sectors are expected to reach USD $4.5 trillion by 2030. 

Therefore, we urgently call for public and private financial institutions and businesses with portfolio exposure to food systems to join GFFN and do their part in accelerating the shift to a more resilient food value chain through accounting for sustainability risks, increasing investments in sustainable agri-food value chains as well as land use and nature based solutions. From production to trade, retail and consumption, operations and investments need to be aligned with the imperatives to halt climate change, restore nature and achieve equitable livelihoods. 

The COP27 is an opportunity to begin to align food security interventions, investments in climate resilient development, other sustainable finance priorities, and mainstream finance, to unlock capital that can—and, as science makes clear, must—go to work for people and nature. The public, private, and multilateral sectors can leverage opportunities inherent to improved food system finance, supported by technical innovations in data, metrics, and whole value-chain analysis, to reduce harm, expand opportunity, and make climate-aligned food systems a major global economic development priority. 

GFFN offers the space to collaboratively address the challenges and develop solutions which will catalyze the transformative actions required. The key to accelerating transformative food systems finance will be clear science-based targets, rapid coordinated timelines for implementation, and verifiability of outcomes. 

Targets set by High Ambition Group members were considered by UNEP Finance Initiative to exemplify good practice and high ambition in target-setting, ensuring goals are specific, time-bound and have successful methods for monitoring and reporting. Commitments reveal how institutions can practically improve the assessment and management of material environmental & social risks while increasing positive impacts, putting a roadmap for implementation into place and pioneering sustainable finance solutions. 

Key areas to watch at COP27 will be finance innovation, including in monitoring, reporting, and verification, links between adaptation finance and land stewardship practices, and emerging cooperative “non-market approaches” to accelerating climate change mitigation and climate-resilient development. These cooperative approaches provide nations with a wider suite of policy and financial tools to constructively align food systems and other everyday practices with science-based climate goals. 
The Good Food Finance Network is focusing on instrumentation of resilience-building food finance, to meet human health, sustainability and climate goals.

At COP27, the GFFN will:

  • co-host a deep dive into HAG targets, on Finance Day in the Food Systems Pavilion;
  • co-host a formal UNFCCC side event on managing climate risks and externalities from the food system; 
  • release a Draft Blueprint for Good Food Finance Data Systems Integration; 
  • formally activate the work plan for development of a Co-Investment Platform to catalyze cross-sector flows of climate-aligned finance into food systems transformation.

About GFFN: Convened and coordinated by The United Nations Environment Programme, EAT Foundation, FAIRR Initiative, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Food Systems for the Future, the Good Food Finance Network (GFFN) offers a platform for finance stakeholders, global environmental funds, banks, asset managers, fin-techs and agri-businesses to collaborate and take action to overcome challenges and scale-up capital flows into sustainable food systems. Learn more about our working groups and get involved today.

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