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First Movers Coalition for Food to create up to $20bn value chain for sustainable farming

Date:

  • World Economic Forum First Movers Coalition for Food aims to create aggregated market demand for sustainably produced and low-emission agricultural commodities.
  • The UAE and over 20 leading food companies will create a combined procurement commitment with an estimated value of $10-$20 billion by 2030.
  • In mid-December 2023, the Forum and participating companies and governments will identify commitments and pathways to support food systems transformation.
  • Learn more about the Forum’s work at COP28 here.

The World Economic Forum, with support from the Government of the United Arab Emirates, along with more than 20 corporate and research partners in the food sector, launched today the First Movers Coalition for Food. The initiative uses the combined procurement power for sustainably produced farming products to speed up the adoption of sustainable farming, innovations and transitional funding.

Food systems account for more than 30% of global emissions and are critical in achieving the Paris Agreement and limiting global warming to below 1.5C. Aggregating demand for sustainably produced and low-emission agricultural commodities, therefore, can accelerate the transition to net-zero, nature-positive transitions in food systems.

“Through the First Movers Coalition for Food, leading global companies will send demand signals to catalyse the acceleration and adoption of environmentally friendly farming methods and green innovations. This collective public-private partnership will help de-risk upfront investments into more sustainable food production systems,” said Børge Brende, President of the World Economic Forum.

The First Movers Coalition for Food comprises corporate champions from multinational and regional companies with significant purchasing power, value chain partners, farmer organizations and research partners alongside governments to improve existing food systems.

The new initiative aims to accelerate sustainable farming and production methods and technologies by leveraging collective demand for low-carbon agricultural commodities. It will do so through the power of aggregated demand, aiming for a combined procurement value for low-carbon commodities of $10-$20 billion from coalition members. Corporate partners currently participating in the coalition account for a combined revenue of $2.1 trillion, with operations globally.

Founding members of the First Mover Coalition for Food are leading companies that recognize the need for more sustainable practices and innovation in food production systems. Starting mid-December 2023, the World Economic Forum and participating companies and governments will work jointly to identify the demand commitments and pathways to support and mobilize the ecosystem to enable such transformation. The coalition is expected to publish its initial results of the collaborative work in the summer of 2024.

“The way we produce and eat food causes 30% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, uses over 70% of the world’s freshwater, and is responsible for 80% of deforestation and habitat loss in tropical areas,” said Mariam Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment of the United Arab Emirates. “If we don’t quickly find new, sustainable ways to produce and consume food, these problems will worsen in only a couple of decades. Showing clear demand for improvements in sustainable agriculture production methods is crucial for reaching our global climate goals, and we need to act now.”

Ahmed Galal Ismail, Chief Executive of Majid Al Futtaim, added: “We recognize how our role in reducing emissions across our value chains has an impact on the long-term sustainable health of people and the planet. As an increasing number of customers make the everyday choice to shop sustainably, we as a retailer have the responsibility to deliver more responsibly sourced and produced products. By joining the First Movers Coalition for Food initiative, we aim to amplify the demand for low-emission products and partner with those promoting nature-positive practices, fostering resilient agricultural systems with improved biodiversity and reduced water usage.”

Manny Maceda, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Bain & Company said the coalition will transform how companies procure agricultural commodities, enabling a shift toward eco-friendly production. “This will decrease the risks associated with required investments in low-emissions agri-food production, make it easier to expand to net-zero and nature-positive technologies, and help farmers adopt greener practices such as regenerative agriculture.”

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