World Benchmarking Alliance WBA identified seven transformations needed to take place to put society and the worldwide economy on a more sustainable path aligned to the UN SDGs
Launched in 2018, the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) identified seven transformations needed to take place to put society and the worldwide economy on a more sustainable path aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To support the transformations, WBA has developed, or will be developing, a series of benchmarks assessing 2,000 of the world’s most influential companies to measure the companies’ contributions to the SDGs. Data will be publicly available.
WBA’s food and agriculture baseline assessment evaluates the commitments of the world’s 350 most influential food and agriculture companies on fourteen main topics, with each having a set of sub topics by WBA:
Air and climate
Nature and biodiversity
Sustainable food production and sourcing
Sustainable water supply for human use and ecosystems
Reduce food and packaging waste
Ethical animal production systems
Availability of healthy and sustainable foods
Accessibility and affordability of healthy and sustainable foods
Promote healthy eating
Healthy and sustainable diets in the workplace
Food safety worldwide
Labor rights and decent work
Decent standard living for smallholder farmers
The majority of companies fail to demonstrate a comprehensive set of commitments in one or more dimensions, according to the findings by WBA. Below are four key takeaways:
The food industry is insufficiently aligned with the sustainable development agenda
About 25% of companies assessed by WBA do not commit to tackling environmental, nutritional and social challenges. An estimated 75% of companies disclose some commitments; however, only twelve companies demonstrate leading practices across the three dimensions: Arla Foods, CNH Industrial, Danone, Heineken, McDonald’s, Nestlé, OCP, Orkla, PepsiCo, ThaiBev, Unilever and Yara.
The road to realising the Paris Agreement is long
Half (50%) of companies assessed by WBA do not disclose targets or report on progress to reduce GHG emissions, while only 7% demonstrate holistic commitments needed for comprehensive environmental stewardship. While most companies across the food value chain are working on reducing water use, with 64% showing some form of commitment, only 25% consider their supply chain in water-stressed areas.
Improving nutrition poses the biggest challenge
The majority of companies WBA assessed struggle to identify how they can contribute to improving nutrition in society — nutrition had the smallest number of commitments across the three main dimensions. Sixty-three percent (63%) of agricultural input companies demonstrate no commitment to nutritional targets, while downstream, consumer-facing companies fall equally short on commitments.
Companies are not driving social change
Despite their large number of employees — about 1 billion people are employed in the agriculture sector by WBA — one-third (33%) of companies assessed have no public commitment to eliminate child and forced labor in their own operations and supply chain. By adopting the SDGs, the international community committed to ending child labor by 2025 and forced labor by 2030. The findings further reveal that companies seem to focus primarily on legal obligations rather than proactive actions to drive transformation.
Search the full set of 350 companies to see how each is performing on its commitments to food systems transformation.
Source Environmental Leader