- The World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) assessed 350 major food and agriculture companies, revealing a lack of commitment to sustainability and healthy food.
- Fewer than 4% of these companies assess how to bridge living income gaps for small-scale farmers.
- Only 6% of the companies are committed to eliminating deforestation by 2025.
- Just 18% of consumer-facing companies share how they adapt products to improve nutritional quality.
- Regenerative agriculture practices are gaining traction, but little is being done to reduce chemical inputs and water pollution.
A new report by the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) reveals that over 90% of the world’s major food and agriculture companies are not doing enough to farm sustainably or provide healthy food. The WBA assessed 350 companies, including Bayer, Unilever, and Walmart, on their commitment to sustainability, healthy food products, and decent working conditions.
Lack of Commitment to Sustainability
The report shows that fewer than 4% of the companies assess how to bridge living income gaps for small-scale farmers from whom they source their commodities. Additionally, only 6% are committed to eliminating deforestation by 2025. This is concerning because food systems are responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and almost 90% of global deforestation.
Inadequate Focus on Healthy Food
The report also highlights that just 18% of consumer-facing companies share how they adapt products to improve their nutritional quality. Only five companies have set targets to increase sales of healthy foods. Global restaurant chains and food service providers are among those furthest behind in taking decisive steps to improve their food offerings.
Some Progress Noted
Despite the grim findings, the report notes some progress. Almost 50% of companies have some form of climate commitment, and 27% support farmers’ income stability through procurement and pricing practices. Regenerative agriculture is gaining traction, with 51% of companies referencing it and 27% implementing strategies to improve the livelihoods of farmers and fishers.
Call for Rapid Action
The WBA calls for rapid action from food and agriculture companies, emphasizing that improving the performance of this sector could have a vast ripple effect, including protecting and restoring nature, contributing to people’s health and well-being, and lifting people out of poverty.
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