15 July 2021, 2:30 – 4:30 pm CEST
WBCSD is supporting food and finance agenda by co-hosting, with UNEP, the Finance Network for Food Systems, which will be launched by the Food System Summit’s Finance Lever.
The food system is a key solution to tackling the most critical, urgent challenges of our time. Food systems can and must be at the heart of supporting healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy economies. Sustainable systems can underpin strong economic recovery (including job creation and getting out of debt traps), climate action and public health.
But today’s food systems are typically extractive, destructive and reinforce major inequalities, generating over $12 trillion a year in hidden environmental, social and economic costs. Financial incentives are misaligned; negative externalities are not accounted for, preventing funds from flowing to sustainable opportunities and embedding huge risk into financial systems. As a result, our food systems are subtracting rather than adding value.
An additional $350 billion in investment is needed per year to transform food systems. This means changing how food is financed. Public capital must be used to de-risk regenerative business models, tackle challenges like hunger and poverty and build pipeline and capacity. Private capital can be used to incentivise more sustainable practices – properly valuing ecosystem services and mobilising resources, knowledge and technology for smallholders, indigenous peoples and other producers to support a more equitable way of producing and consuming food. Overall, reform of the financial system at-large is needed to redirect incentives and create the enabling environment for investment to flow to sustainable food systems.
To address this, the Finance Lever of the UN Food Systems Summit aims to tackle incentives which lock in an extractive, destructive, exploitative financing model, helping to develop the financial system architecture and funding mechanisms (both public and private) to support the goals of a higher performing, more resilient and equitable food system.