Last week at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, 25 leading global companies announced their collaborative commitment to accelerating transformational change in global food systems. The companies have joined together to launch FReSH- the Food Reform for Sustainability and Health program- under the leadership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the EAT Foundation (EAT). The program is open for more companies to participate.

FReSH is designed to accelerate transformational change in global food systems, to reach healthy, enjoyable diets for all, that are produced responsibly within planetary boundaries.

To achieve this ambitious goal, FReSH has brought business and science to work together. It draws on knowledge and efforts from premier research institutions, and is working with the business community to develop successful, high-impact solutions.

The following companies are taking the lead:

The launch of FReSH follows the joint initiative announced by WBCSD and the EAT Foundation to create the “conference of parties” for food, in order to accelerate the transformation towards a healthy and sustainable global food system. The partnership was formally launched at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum on 14 June 2016.

“What we eat and how we produce it drives some of our greatest health and environmental challenges. On the other hand, getting it right on food is our greatest opportunity to improve the health of people and planet. This will require concerted action across disciplines and sectors – and business will be a key part of the solution” – Gunhild Stordalen, Founder and President, EAT Foundation.

Why FReSH?

Close to 100% of the food consumed across the world is produced and supplied by the private sector. This puts large and small businesses at the heart of the potential for transformational change in food systems all over the world.

FReSH is a platform for the private sector to achieve this transformation in a safe and pre-competitive space. In cooperation with science, academia, policy-makers and civil society, FReSH will catalyze change across the food systems, taking into account local eating patterns, by focusing on the following work streams:

  • Developing guidelines on healthy and sustainable diets taking into account social and environmental considerations;
  • Food production adjustment, including formulation and offering to help achieve healthy and sustainable diets;
  • Food consumption reorientation to strengthen demand for healthy and sustainable diets;
  • Improvement of food sourcing and reduction of food loss and waste
  • Measurement, reporting and communicating progress.

FReSH draws on the findings of the reputable EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets, where a multi-disciplinary group of world-leading scientists are synthesizing existing evidence to establish targets for healthy and sustainable food systems.

“Clear science-based targets will help businesses create ambitious yet implementable solutions, which can then be brought forward to guide policy makers to provide the framework for local or global food systems transformation” – Peter Bakker,  President and CEO, WBCSD

The business answer

The World Economic Forum has launched a scenario report on the future of global food systems. This report identifies two critical uncertainties for the future of food systems – demand shift and market connectivity – and explores four potential scenarios they could create.

Furthermore, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission has called for business leaders to take up the food systems challenges ahead of us. Meeting these challenges sustainably could unlock 14 business opportunities worth US$2.3 trillion annually by 2030, generating almost 80 million jobs. FReSH provides direct answers to these calls with an action agenda for concrete, meaningful and comprehensive measures. Additionally, the program will support the development of a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) sector roadmap.

“The private sector has a role to play to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable, available and aspirational. The market shift will create large-scale opportunities for early adopters in business, as the report of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission clearly shows” – Feike Sijbesma, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Managing Board DSM and Member of the Scaling Up (SUN) Lead Group

Companies are invited to contact WBCSD for engagement opportunities and to learn more about the program.