The World Economic Forum (WEF) on 1 December announced the launch of its new 'First Movers Coalition for Food' initiative, aimed at accelerating sustainable farming and production methods and technologies by leveraging collective demand for low-carbon agricultural commodities
Accounting for more than 30% of global emissions, food systems are critical in achieving the Paris Agreement and limiting global warming to below 1.5°C. Aggregating demand for sustainably produced and low-emission agricultural commodities can therefore, accelerate the transition to net-zero, nature-positive transitions in food systems.
By utilising the combined procurement power for sustainably produced farming products, WEF's new initiative — comprising of corporate champions from multinational and regional companies — speeds up the adoption of sustainable farming, innovations and transitional funding. The objective of the initiative is to accelerate sustainable farming, production methods and technologies through the power of aggregated demand, aiming for a combined procurement value for low-carbon commodities of US$10-20bn from coalition members. Corporate partners currently participating in the coalition account for a combined revenue of US$2.1tn, with operations globally.
Manny Maceda, CEO and chairman of the Board of Bain & Company stated that the coalition would transform how companies procure agricultural commodities, thus enabling a shift toward eco-friendly production. She further highlighted that this would significantly reduce the risks associated with required investments in low-emissions agri-food production, in turn making it easier to expand to net-zero and nature-positive technologies, and help farmers adopt greener practices such as regenerative agriculture.
Starting mid-December 2023, the WEF along with participating companies and governments, will work together to identify the demand commitments and pathways to support and mobilise the ecosystem to enable such transformation. The coalition is expected to publish its initial results of the collaborative work in the summer of 2024.
“Through the First Movers Coalition for Food, leading global companies will send demand signals to catalyse the acceleration and adoption of environmentally friendly farming methods and green innovations," said WEF president, Børge Brende. "This collective public-private partnership will help de-risk upfront investments into more sustainable food production systems."
Ahmed Galal Ismail, CEO of Majid Al Futtaim acknowledged the company's role in reducing methane emissions across their value chains and the impact that it had on the long-term sustainable health of people and the planet. "By joining the First Movers Coalition for Food initiative, we aim to amplify the demand for low-emission products and partner with those promoting nature-positive practices, fostering resilient agricultural systems with improved biodiversity and reduced water usage."
For more information about WEF's work at COP28, visit: https://www.weforum.org/events/united-nations-climate-change-conference-cop28-2023/
US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken recently announced that it will be contributing US$50mn to the Vision for Adapted Crops and Soils (VACS)’s new multi-donor trust fund, hosted by the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
VACS is a vital response to the expected 50% increase in global food demand by 2050 and is aimed at boosting agricultural productivity and improved nutrition in rural communities of developing countries by better adapting crops and soils to the changing climate. Besides natural resource scarcity, a growing population, progressive urbanisation and changing diets, the occurrence of frequent and intense extreme weather events further hinders food production.
VACS employs an innovative above-ground/below-ground approach to boost productivity and nutritional quality. Above-ground efforts concentrate on developing resilient and nutritious crop varieties through plant breeding and addressing challenges like pest resistance and erratic rainfall patterns. Below-ground activities on the other hand, optimise land use and advance soil management. These include practices such as crop rotation, conservation tillage to reduce soil erosion, and the use of organic fertilisers like compost or biochar.
This holistic strategy will result in the production of crops that are more productive, possess a built-in resilience against extreme weather, rarely rely on costly inputs like fertilisers, and generate lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
"The initiative aligns with our mission to provide the funds and technology needed to strengthen climate adaptation and empower small-scale food producers and rural communities to lead their own development. Adaptation is no longer a choice but a necessity,” said IFAD's president Alvaro Lario, while expressing gratitude for the US State Department’s robust and timely support.
For more information, visit: https://www.ifad.org/en/
Abu Dhabi waste management company, Tadweer recently announced a US$2.5mn pilot project with UK start-up, Aquagrain, which has developed a unique soil enhancing technology that harnesses organic waste
Jan Plagge, president of IFOAM Organics Europe at an online press conference called on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and Member States to respect organic farmers and operators' choice to not use novel genomic techniques (NGTs)
As humanitarian crisis spreads across the globe, leaving millions of people hungry in its wake, Trimble Agriculture on the occasion or World Food Day, extended their support through the donation of US$100,000 to the United Nations World Food Programme US