Organic and sustainable food chains
How can sustainability be brought into the mainstream within the agriculture and food sector? Case studies, visions and ideas for redesigning the sector.
agriculture causes negative impacts on natural systems like the
dramatic loss of soil fertility and biodiversity, soil degradation and
depletion of water supplies. The sector is one of the major contributors
to the ecological footprint of humanity. Production processes depend on
varying climatic conditions and are determined by cultural values,
regional and geographic conditions. Raw materials, inputs, feed and food
are traded at regional, national and at a global level. © Rainer Sturm/pixelio.de
profound change of the global food and agriculture system is needed if
we are to nourish today’s 925 million hungry and the additional 2
billion people expected by 2050” (FAO). The situation will most probably
not improve with population growth, competition between food and other
land use (e.g. bio fuels, infrastructure) or farmers leaving their
The food system extends far beyond the farm. The
agriculture and food sector has enormous implications on the economic,
social and natural environment, as well as human health. An effective,
sustainable sector will be decisive for the fair and sustainable
coexistence of mankind.
Farmers and especially small scale
farmers, producing more than half of the world’s food, input suppliers,
processors, retailers, consumers, and policy makers are involved along
the product chain with different or even competing interests. Parties
involved in the chain cannot evade responsibility for acting
The same applies to consumers, who can also play
their role in creating a sustainable food system. However, broadening of
the consumer perspective is necessary so that environmental quality,
resource use, and social equity issues are considered as well in
To ensure sustainability in the food sector
makes real progress, key players must adopt a diverse range of
approaches, tools and strategies.
Challenges and questions
- What kind of business models do we need for sustainable food chains and
how can businesses make the transition towards these business models?
- What are the criteria to assess sustainability in agriculture and food chains?
- What are success factors/ barriers for sustainable food chains and what is needed to overcome such barriers?
- How can the right framework to support sustainable food production be developed?
Key questions for the panel:
- How should sustainability strategies be developed and implemented?
- What are the tools and intervention points to achieving sustainably strategies?
- How should solutions and business models be identified for a broader implementation of sustainable food chains?
- How can businesses make the transition towards sustainable business models?
- How should a sustainable offer be incorporated into consumer values?
|Moderator and Setting the scene: David Gould, IFOAM, |
Coordinator of the Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN)
|Jan-Kees Vis, Unilever|
|Christian Schader, Fibl Switzerland|
|Volkert Engelsman, Eosta|
Martina Fleckenstein, WWF Germany
|Marion Fürst, Danone|
|Chris Wille, Rainforest Alliance|
- Discuss tools and intervention points to foster sustainability in the sector.
- Show examples of sustainable business models and discuss transferability into practice for other businesses.
- Scaling up sustainability: How to broaden the consumer perspective so that sustainability is considered in shopping decisions.
- United Nations sustainable development platform: Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, http://www.un.org/en/sustainablefuture/food.shtml
- Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems (SAFA), FAO, http://www.fao.org/nr/sustainability/sustainability-assessments-safa/en/
- SAFA Guidelines, (Test version 1.0), http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/nr/sustainability_pathways/docs/SAFA_Guidelines_12_June_2012_final_v2.pdf
- Food and Agriculture: The future of sustainability, released by the U.N. Division for Sustainable Development as a major strategic input to its landmark “Sustainable Development in the 21st Century” Report, http://thecosa.org/future-of-sustainability.html
- The Sustainable Organic Agriculture Action Network (SOAAN), http://www.ifoam.org/growing_organic/Best_Practice_Program/index.php
- WWF Deutschland: Nachhaltigkeitsstandards für Agrarrohstoffe, http://www.wwf.de/fileadmin/fm-wwf/Publikationen-PDF/Machbarkeitsstudie_2012.pdf
- IAASTD report: Agriculture at a Crossroads, http://www.agassessment.org/reports/IAASTD/EN/Agriculture%20at%20a%20Crossroads_Synthesis%20Report%20%28English%29.pdf