How can Companies Accelerate Food Transformation for Climate Change?

Food and agriculture are not only the biggest contributors to climate change and biodiversity losses but also are under pressure to increase production. Climate change is real and a threat to society. Companies need to alter their business models to be relevant in a low carbon future and seize the opportunities that come in way. Supply chain decarbonization will be a game changer for corporate climate action.
carbon emissions, ghg emission, sustainable food system, carbon management, GHG protocol
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Our Food systems feed 7.9 billion people, employ 40% of global population and generate a third of the global GDP.  

Do you know that food systems are under global threat due to overpopulation, urbanization and climate change?  

Food and agriculture are not only the biggest contributors to climate change and biodiversity losses but also are under pressure to increase production. With the climate change being a major threat to our planet, feeding millions more sustainably has become imperative. Sustainable food production, Consumption of nutritious food and Policy decisions are few of the changes that need to happen 

Global Shocks of Food Systems 

Food, Agriculture, land and Oceans form the sustenance of life. Agriculture is responsible for a third of the global greenhouse emissions, over 70 % of freshwater use and 80 % of tropical deforestation and habitat loss. The true cost of food comers up to nearly $20 trillion that includes environment, health and economic costs. 

The pandemic disruptions, Ukraine conflicts, rising food prices, energy prices, extremities in weather due to climate change, market uncertainties, varying consumption behaviours are fuelling an urgency to strengthen the resiliency in food systems. 

345 million in 82 countries face food insecurity 

800 million people which is 10% of world population go to bed hungry. 

Consumers 

87% willing to pay more for environmentally friendly products 

Sustainability price tag high and not sure of the product’s sustainability 

Farmers 

Want to experience the long-term effects of regenerative agriculture 

Costs money and involves significant change 

Markets 

Food systems optimized, scalable and efficient 

Fragmented, Lack of transparency and sustainability 

Accelerating changes in Food systems 

  • Shift in Consumption Behaviours 

Companies need to help consumers switch to sustainable diets which are healthier for them and the planet. The benefits need to be made aware of setting reasonable price premiums. 

According to Bain, brands that are sustainable grow 2X faster. 

Plant based alternatives are driving the reduction of waste, plastics and carbon emissions ensuring a sustainable future. The meat sector is getting disrupted with alternate and tasty options. 

  • Regenerative practices for the Farmer 

Farmers producing food sustainably should be rewarded to accelerate their adoption to these practices. Carbon sequestration, reducing methane from livestock, regenerative agriculture, no-till technologies and protection of biodiversity are few of the practices that needs to be adopted. This would result in higher yields with reduction in food waste and costs and at the same type ensures food safety. 

  • Redesigning the Value chain 

The existing value chains are vulnerable to environmental changes, labour abuses, food insecurity and there is a need for transformation. The value chains need to be transparent, more collaborative and shorter. Ethical sourcing with adoption of sustainable practices can scale up efficiency in food systems. 

  • Building resilient food systems 

Public-private partnerships with collaboration among entities is necessary to implement food security solutions. The stakeholders in the ecosystem need to be  engaged on a common platform to ensure sustainable and healthy food systems 

Climate change is expected to hamper global trade. Adopting sustainable and climate resilient practices should help in mitigating climate changes and addressing the needs of poverty. 

There is a need for committed leadership, collective action to support these global priorities and build new business models in transforming agriculture systems to lead the race to net-zero. This will help the world in safeguarding nature and biodiversity, improve food security and build inclusive economies for a sustainable future 

How can Companies work towards this climate change? 

Climate change is real and a threat to society. Extremities in weather with heatwaves, floods, drought are causing devastation leading to loss of humanitarian and economic costs. 

World’s largest 500 companies could face $1 trillion of financial risks due to climate impacts. 

The targets of Paris agreement is off track! Businesses need to understand how their operations and supply chains are vulnerable to the risks of climate change. They need to alter their business models to be relevant in a low carbon future and seize the opportunities that come in way. 

45 countries including the UK have pledged to protect nature and transit to sustainable farming. They have promised to combine more than $4 billion in public sector investments to make agriculture more resilient to climate changes. UK has pledged to use £3 billion in Climate Finance for nature and biodiversity and protecting 5 million hectares of rainforest from deforestation. Countries including US, Germany, Japan, India, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Ghana have also signed the pledge.  

Since 25% of total GHG emissions come from agriculture and land use, this sector is a key to resolve climate crisis and limit the global warming to 1.5˚C above pre-industrial levels. According to the pledge, the investments would be used to grow climate resilient crops and build new techniques for soil regeneration.

The following activities can be included in their Agenda 

  • Encourage sustainable practices which are economically viable for farmers 
  • Enable participation in farmer organizations 
  • Growing of climate resilient crops 
  • Reduction of post-harvest losses 
  • Address water scarcity issues 
  • Improve quality and quantity of animal feed 
  • Vocational programs for youth. 
  • Investments in people and technology 

These practices can limit the greenhouse gas emissions and help to meet the commitments of the climate agendas and also ensure the wellbeing of more than 500 million smallholder farmers

Decarbonizing the Food and Agriculture Sector 

It is not possible to reach the net-zero targets or limit the global temperatures without tackling emissions from the global food system. For many companies, the emissions in their upstream supply chains outweigh the emissions from direct operations. Pushing for decarbonization among suppliers allows companies a chance for greater impact and it could result in emission reductions across borders. 

Supply chains are the biggest sources of carbon emissions in business and are critical to combat against climate change. Scope 3 emissions are a major challenge with only 16% companies able to measure them. Addressing the supply chain sustainability is a step towards net-zero. 

Active supply chain decarbonization is becoming a license for businesses to operate and stay ahead the curve. The burden to decarbonize falls on the upstream material producers who find it tough to transit to net zero. The raw materials inputs may be costly but when costs are shared with the downstream customers, the burden is lighter. There is a need for collaboration between the companies and consumers which could be vital for climate change. 

A Paris compliant world needs supply chain collaboration. Supply chain decarbonization will be a game changer for corporate climate action. 

Technology and Innovation will be the way forward 

Technologies can help companies track their supply chain emissions. Blockchain technology has transformed food supply chains bringing in transparency, accountability and food security in the food ecosystems. TraceX ‘s blockchain powered traceability solutions drives sustainability and builds climate resilient systems for the future. 

Measuring emissions and establishing targets to reduce emissions is not easy especially in the food industry. There is a need to embrace new technologies, platforms and innovations that could disrupt the existing systems. Large food companies are investing in innovative solutions which requires the necessary expertise and knowledge to operate. The agriculture and food sector is also one of the hardest sectors to abate and this requires governments, companies, farming communities and consumers to collaborate with adequate support from the financial sector. Tackling scope 3 emissions is complex that has opaque carbon accounting and tracking practices which needs to keep the stakeholders engaged. 

Innovation is transforming food systems and companies are putting together their net-zero commitments in line with the Paris agreement. That’s not all. Action should follow intent. Companies embarking on this sustainability journey should articulate their intent to the stakeholders and set a strategy amongst them to achieve the climate targets. Supply chain decarbonization presents an untapped opportunity in climate action. 

Implementing a net zero supply chain will amplify the climate impact for companies and enable reduction in emissions in hard- to- abate sectors and accelerate climate cation in countries where it is not high on the agenda. 

Companies that want to ensure their future need to accelerate their decarbonization efforts. It cannot be pushed further. Carbon-free footprint is no longer optional! 

 No time to wait, start your decarbonization journey with us!

Download eBook – Agriculture and Climate Change 

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