Agrifood Sector Urged to Take Urgent Action on Climate Crisis

A consortium of leading organizations in sustainability and business has issued a clarion call to the agrifood sector, stressing the pivotal role it must play in combating climate change. The Food and Land Use Coalition, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the We Mean Business Coalition jointly released a series of reports emphasizing the urgent need for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and the scaling up of nature protection efforts throughout agrifood value chains.

The Future Fit Food and Agriculture report series underscores the necessity for agrifood companies to adopt ambitious sustainability action plans and commit substantial investments towards mitigating climate change. According to the reports, an annual investment of approximately USD $205 billion between 2025 and 2030 could unlock up to 9 gigatons of CO2 equivalent of mitigation annually by 2030. This financial commitment is deemed essential to align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2050.

The current climate strategies of most food and agriculture companies are deemed insufficient, with many yet to disclose any Scope 3 commitments, as highlighted by the World Benchmarking Alliance. Urgent and comprehensive action is imperative, as agricultural production emissions must decrease by approximately 30% by 2030 to meet the Paris Agreement targets.

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Morgan Gillespy, Executive Director of the Food and Land Use Coalition, emphasized the critical juncture faced by food and agriculture companies, stating, “Those striving to deliver ambitious sustainability strategies today, in close collaboration with farmers in their supply chain, will likely enjoy lower costs, stronger returns, and greater agility in the face of advancing sustainability regulation.”

The reports also shed light on the financial costs and benefits of implementing mitigation solutions, illustrating that the burden should be shared equitably across value chains. While significant, the suggested investments represent less than 2% of the sector’s projected average annual revenues for 2025-2030. Moreover, these investments offer associated co-benefits such as increased supply-chain resilience and potential additional returns in new and growing markets.

However, challenges remain in ensuring equity along the value chain. The reports highlight the disproportionate impact of mitigation costs on farmers, who typically operate on slim profit margins. Overcoming these inequities necessitates collaborative efforts among value chain participants and engagement with policymakers to incentivize and accelerate action.

Diane Holdorf, Executive Vice President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, stressed the pivotal role of businesses in food system transformation, stating, “To meet net-zero targets, businesses must take concerted and ambitious action to de-risk the transition for producers and ensure the costs and benefits of mitigation are shared equitably across the value chain.”

Luke Pritchard, Deputy Director of Nature Based Solutions at the We Mean Business Coalition, underscored the importance of mobilizing investments and fostering fair partnerships with farmers to transition to a future-fit food system.

The reports serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need for decisive action within the agrifood sector to address the climate crisis. Download the reports here.


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