The UN’s sustainable development arm has unveiled six principles for sustainable food production, aimed at ensuring that food produced worldwide is healthy, good for the environment and economically viable.
The principles were announced in Rome by the UN Global Compact and have been described as an important step for sustainable development, in the light of figures on population growing to nine billion by 2050.
They say that agriculture and food production should be environmentally responsible, create shareholder value, help communities and workers and promote access to information, knowledge and skills.
Sustainable food should also have a focus on human rights, the rights to nutrition and health, while “business should behave legally and responsibly by respecting land and natural resource rights, avoiding corruption, being transparent about activities and recognising their impacts”.
Puvan Selvanathan, head of food and agriculture at the UN Global Compact, said, “The Food and Agriculture Business Principles establish a set of values for companies in this sector wanting to act responsibly, by bridging between their practices and the public good outcomes sought by policymakers.
“We welcome all farmers and agribusinesses – regardless of size, crop or location – to make this principle-based commitment and show their overall orientation toward corporate sustainability”.
Recent figures by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) revealed that greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, forestry and fisheries have almost doubled over the past 50 years.
However, research published in May, suggested that ecological farming that tries to preserve the soil and minimise pollution, can be economically viable and can help reduce emissions in the sector.
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