The need for improved systemic practices in the food industry

Today, businesses should address global food challenges. The practices in the food sector are increasingly aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change for improving financial, social, environmental and legal sustainability. However, much remains to be done, especially for sustainability reporting, which must be more systematic, detailed and useful for all actors: companies, investors, civil society and individual citizens. The necessary changes are complex and will require shared, holistic, long-term strategies. Collaboration and cooperation is key, because the transformation will require new partnerships and contributions.

The context

A shared commitment toward the SDGs

Sustainable development is the holistic framework agreed internationally to find a solution for facing the planet’s economic, social and environmental challenges. The commitments of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Paris Agreement on Climate Change involve the participation of the whole society - from individual citizens, businesses sector, to civil society organizations - and in the years to come, the markets and choices of companies, governments and institutions will be shaped.

4 Pillars to move forward

We strongly recommend that food business leaders undertake a series of actions to better align corporate practices with the SDGs. We identify four overarching questions for companies in the food sector in order to assess each company’s alignment with the SDGs:

Planning new stages of the project

Business pathways for the future of food systems

The Four Pillar Framework, launched in 2019, has been shared in 2020 consultation workshops with agri-food sector companies, financial services and benchmarking institutions

Using this Four Pillar Framework, we analyzed the business practices, accountability frameworks and sustainability reports of leading agri-food companies to identify how to best support the transformation to a more sustainable and healthier food system.

The analysis uncovered that a change in business practices is required, as well as more harmonised and comparable monitoring and reporting standards to support companies as they set ambitious targets in terms of the four dimensions highlighted.