Private Sector Must Be Part Of Solution To Provide Food And Nutrition Security

“Agriculture faces dual challenges: becoming more sustainable on a dwindling resource base while having to feed an increasing number of people,” Paul Polman, CEO of consumer goods company Unilever, and David Servitje, CEO of baking company Group Bimbo, who serve as co-chairs of the G20’s B-20 Food Security Task Force, write in a Washington Post opinion piece, adding, “To provide food and nutrition security in the coming decades will require a major and sustained effort by all stakeholders, including business.” They continue, “The good news is that food security is firmly on the political agenda of the Group of Eight, the Group of 20 and at this week’s U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20). And business has been invited to contribute.”

Polman and Servitje write that the B-20 has “proposed detailed recommendations to encourage governments to adopt national food and nutrition security programs (supported by public-private partnerships).” They add, “Most critically, companies have committed to investing $15 billion to help boost agricultural productivity 50 percent by 2030.” Noting they “have identified five priority areas: increasing investment in agricultural productivity; improving market function; ensuring more sustainable food production (including water resource management); accelerating access to technology; and integrating and prioritizing nutritional needs,” they write, “A sustainable response to global challenges is the acid test for companies everywhere — not just producers but also suppliers and retailers, as well as international organizations, governments, NGOs, and citizens” (6/17).