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Barilla Foundation Continues Commitments in “Fixing the Business of Food” to Support Alignment of Businesses with Sustainable Development

Barilla Foundation Continues Commitments in "Fixing the Business of Food" to Support Alignment of Businesses with Sustainable Development

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Alongside the 75th session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN), an independent foundation that works on proposing concrete actions to solve issues around global food systems, will host its second “Fixing the Business of Food” event — a joint initiative in partnership with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Santa Chiara Lab – University of Siena (SCL) and the Columbia Center for Sustainable Investment (CCSI).

The event—moderated by Barbara Buchner, Global Managing Director of the Climate Policy Initiative—and featuring a keynote speech from European Commission’s Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans, will bring together representatives from business, finance, government, international institutions and academia for a discussion on the actions urgently needed to transform the current food system in order to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Notable speakers include:

  • Guido Barilla – Chairman, Barilla Group and Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition Foundation

  • Frans Timmermans – Executive Vice President, European Commission 

  • Jeffrey Sachs – Director, Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University

  • Alzbeta Klein – Director and Global Head of Climate Business, International Finance Corporation 

  • Alexandra Liftman – Global Environmental Executive, Bank of America 

  • Wai-Chan Chan – Managing Director, The Consumer Goods Forum

  • Rachel Kyte CMG – Dean, The Fletcher School, Tufts University

  • Mariangela Zappia – Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations in New York 

  • Pedro Moura Costa – Co-Founder and President, BVRio Environmental Exchange

  • Angelo Riccaboni –  Santa Chiara Lab, University of Siena

  • Guido Schmidt-Traub –  Executive Director, SDSN

  • Justine Leigh-Bell – Deputy CEO & Director of Market Development

The current food systems, even more broken by the Covid-19 pandemic, are not sustainable and do not provide adequate nutrition to a growing global population. Today, almost 690 million people are hungry, up to two billion overweight and obese. Despite a steady increase in investments in sustainable development and climate action, only 8% of public climate finance is directed to the agri-food sector and current Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) metrics do not establish the principles of value-chain responsibility nor set clear guidance for how responsible companies can and should support sustainability. 

“The next five years are the most important by far because we have to take along with us as many producers, as many suppliers and as many distributors as we can…There is one big risk: that a lot of our colleagues, a lot of other actors in the world of bus iness feel the danger, but they do not have the courage to really take actions within their company to make these very difficult decisions,” said Guido Barilla, Chairman of Barilla Group and the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation. “We are late in the 2030 Agenda, we are losing time in completing the sustainability goals and to really rationalize the dangers and lower the dangers on climate change and on sustainability issues. It’s unaffordable. We need to make a call to action.”

At the same time, changes in climate threaten the future of the agriculture sector—whose operations can, in turn, have major environmental and social impacts on several growing concerns such as greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, water and land usage, pollution, human and labor rights, among others. To support the private sector in the transition towards sustainable agri-food systems, the development of a robust framework will provide a guide with SDG-based operating principles and metrics in mind for agri-food business alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Businesses can contribute to more sustainable and healthier food systems. The question is not anymore why they should do it but how they can do it. Fixing the Business of Food is an open partnership supporting them in the transition through better measurements, assessment tools and a digital smart platform. Managers, entrepreneurs, experts, farmers, policy makers, regulators, researchers, consumers, students are welcome in a collective effort for better societies and a more sustainable planet,” said Angelo Riccaboni, Professor of Business Administration at Santa Chiara Lab, University of Siena.

Sparked by action from last year’s event, Santa Chiara Lab at University of Siena’s Angelo Riccaboni and Executive Director of SDSN Guido Schmidt-Traub will  present the findings of the “Fixing the Business of Food – How to align the agri-food sector with the SDGs” report, which will introduce a new proposal for measuring greenhouse gas emissions—a starting point of a broader proposal of indicators to be released in 2021. The report will provide companies with a reference framework to measure corporate performance in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and addresses current gaps within the metrics system. Click here to learn more: fixing-food.com.

“The good news is the rapid rise of interest by food industry leaders in the SDGs and the Paris Climate Agreement.  Our study suggests a holistic framework for aligning the food sector with the SDGs and Paris Climate Agreement, one which can help to guide the activities of industry leaders, reporting frameworks, investors, and policy makers,” said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

Many companies are aligning their practices toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement in order to promote their environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Much more work is needed, particularly in business actions and transparency of actions, with  more detailed reporting systems and metrics, making this alignment systemic for the whole agri-food sector.

“The food we eat has an enormous impact on our health and our environment. The Farm to Fork and the Biodiversity Strategies are Europe’s blueprint for improving our health and for bringing our relationship with nature back into balance – the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of this effort. With legislation, soft measures, and commitments from business, we will work to turn European food into the global standard of sustainability,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission.

About the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN)

The Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN) is a multi-disciplinary research Center which studies the causes and effects on food created by economies, science, society and environment. It produces science-based content that can be used to inform people and help them make responsible choices on food, nutrition, health and sustainability inspired by an independent Advisory Board. For further information: www.barillacfn.com

For the full text of the “Fixing the Business of Food – How to align the agri-food sector with the SDGs” report, please visit: https://www.barillacfn.com.

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SOURCE The Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition

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