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Bulk food store © Kerri Major / WWF-Aus

Bulk food store © Kerri Major / WWF-Aus

What can you can do to improve sustainable food production?

16 Oct 2019

Keywords
  • Partnerships

The way we produce and consume food is the single biggest threat to our planet. It uses the largest portion of all land and freshwater on Earth. It’s the biggest cause of deforestation and toxic greenhouse gas emissions which are causing climate change. It threatens wildlife on land and is causing fish stocks to collapse.

Whether you are a producer, supplier, retailer or a customer, sustainable food production is everyone’s business.The good news is working more closely, and across sectors, can accelerate action and raise awareness of the need for change.  Here’s how you can start thinking more sustainably...

Produce more with less
To feed the world sustainably we need to produce more food with fewer resources. And this is something more and more consumers are demanding. To achieve this, one of the key actions is for businesses to implement sustainable and transparent supply chains. That’s why WWF-Australia works with partners to improve the production of everyday foods with the largest environmental impact. These include beef, sugar cane, palm oil and seafood (both wild and farmed). In addition, OpenSC, a blockchain-enabled food tracking platform developed in partnership between WWF-Australia and BCG Digital Ventures, is working to increase visibility and transparency in supply chains with household names like Nestle. 

While the private sector must lead the way by using new technologies and traceability tools, others - including governments, financial institutions, international organisations, and consumers - also have a key role to play.

 

OpenSC is a digital platform that tracks the supply chains of food and products

Sourcing sustainably
Knowing where and how food is produced gives businesses and consumers the information they need to make sustainable choices. Tracing products along supply chains provides assurances that environmental credentials are credible. 

A range of independent, scientifically credible standards, certification and traceability systems for everyday foods. In Australia, responsibly grown sugar cane is certified by Bonsucro, while products containing sustainable palm oil is certified under the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, wild-caught seafood is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, and farmed seafood by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

At WWF, we work with seafood suppliers to achieve sustainable sourcing we also conduct supply chain assessments for commodities such as sugar, rice and beef. 

Learn how WWF works with retailers, producers and suppliers to achieve sustainable sourcing.

Food choices
As consumers, we have a powerful voice. Choosing certified sustainable food when shopping or dining out is a simple way to support planet-friendly food production and sourcing. When we vote with our dollars and shop responsibly, we can send a message that the way food is produced is just as important as its quality and cost. 

And if you are unsure whether a retailer has sustainable practices, ask them! By telling companies you prefer sustainably produced food and patronising businesses that implement such processes, can play an important role in driving change in the industry. 

 

Reducing food waste
Approximately one third of all food produced is never eaten - meaning all that water, energy and care in production process is simply wasted. In Australia, more than half of all food waste occurs at the point of consumption, including plate waste in restaurants and food rotting in our fridges. Businesses, governments and consumers can play a role in reducing food waste, especially at the point of consumption. Efforts to transparently measure and reduce waste and where it occurs as well as reducing food packaging has a role to play as well - excessive or unsustainably sourced packing forms part of the environmental cost of food.

 

Trashed vegetables in dumpster GNU Foerster / commons.wikimedia

Governing and financing food
The sustainability of food production depends on many factors. Soils and climate are obviously important, alongside technology and market forces, such as certifications. But the sustainability of our food system also depends on land- and water-use plans and regulations enforced by governments, infrastructure design, and sound lending and investment decisions by banks and asset managers. Natural resources and financial capital allocated to food production must be managed more transparently, with full consideration of social, environmental and economic impacts.

Get in touch
Want to learn more about how your business can contribute to a more sustainable future of food? Get in touch with our Impact Partnerships team today.

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