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Why agri-food?

The agri-food sector is responsible for over a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. With industries such as livestock, fisheries and crop production being heavily dependent on raw materials and often relying on complex and geographically disperse supply chains, the sector is a heavy emitter. Not only is agri-food generating a significantly higher volume of emissions when compared to other productive industries, it is also extremely vulnerable to the local and global climate shocks it contributes to, impacting on raw material production and sourcing.

Despite a recent surge in interest in food system’s impact on natural ecosystems and communities, the global community is aware that the system is inadequate and more needs to be done to transform it. Now is the time to accelerate action within a sector which is deeply linked to climate change issues but could also provide much needed solutions.

Agri-food potential

Agri-food’s role in climate is twofold: despite being one of the most significant climate-altering emission sources, the sector has the strong potential to become a net emissions sink, pulling, capturing and sequestering more GHGs out of the atmosphere than it releases into it. It is imperative that agri-food companies harness this, yet untapped, potential implementing forward-looking approaches to increase business sustainability and resilience in the long-term, as well as rethinking their business as a key driver in global green transition. The question is: what should agri-food do today?

A guide to action

A key step to act against climate change is defining and implementing a solid climate strategy, aiming to reduce and compensate direct and indirect GHG emissions along the entire supply chain. Agri-food extensive and environmentally impactful supply chain lends itself to a wide range of interventions which, when aligned to a science-based target, will maximise companies’ environmental performance in the short-term, with an eye to becoming net-zero in the long run.

South Pole and Carbonsink developed Feeding the Future, a practical guide for agri-food businesses to take ambitious climate action today. The guide – downloadable here – provides businesses with the tools to set up a robust climate strategy, improving their sustainability performance as well as increasing their competitive advantage and resilience. Feeding the Future outlines a roadmap of tangible actions to be implemented today to assess where businesses are within the carbon emission landscape and to define a path to where they should be. It also provides key recommendations for climate action within and beyond the supply chain.

When a big agri-food company moves, a whole value system moves with it. Our Feeding the Future guide is a key tool for agri-food, a sector which stands ready to take on the climate challenge and lead business action towards a more sustainable future.

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