Rabobank and UN Environment kick-start $1 billion program to catalyze sustainable food production

Rabobank – the world’s leading food and agricultural bank – announces its global activation program, ‘Kickstart Food’, to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food supply. One of the first steps in this program will be the launch of a one billion dollar facility to initiate land restoration and forest protection initiatives.

  • In Europe alone we produce more than 250 million tonnes of food waste every year
  • That equates to consumers throwing out a total of 30 billion euros worth of food annually
  • It is estimated that the food and agriculture industry loses 60 billion euros every year

Focus on four food issues

The facility is being launched in partnership with U.N. Environment. It marks the start of a three-year initiative to kick-start and scale up Rabobank’s support for clients and partners in the transition to a more sustainable food and agricultural sector. The Kickstart Food initiative has four key focus areas: EarthWasteStability and Nutrition. This facility is part of the first focus area: Earth, which is centered on sustainable and environmentally sound food production. The Waste program will focus on reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain. The Stability program aims to create a more stable and resilient food and agricultural sector. The Nutrition program will focus on ensuing a healthy and balanced diet for everyone.

Mission Critical Initiative

Chairman of the Executive Board Wiebe Draijer: “Our global lead role in financing food production urges us to accelerate developments on the sustainable food supply. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally. We are proud of this major initiative with the UN Environment. We will engage others to expand the initiative. It fits very well with our mission of Growing a better world together.”

Tamira Treffers-Herrera, regional head at Rabobank Europe said: “In 33 years the world’s population will have surpassed 9 billion. In the current climate this milestone has the potential to create a dilemma for the agricultural industry, with food production having to rise by 60% to accommodate for the growing needs of society. “We need to take bold and brave action to address these challenges straight on and that’s exactly what we’re doing at Rabobank as part of our banking for food strategy. Our latest initiative, the Kickstart Food program, aims to speed up sustainable food production and reduce food waste throughout the food and agriculture supply chain.”

 

Commitment to SDG

With this mission, Rabobank embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the world’s population growing towards 9 billion, the decline in available arable land, and the impact of agriculture on climate change and the environment; food production is now at a critical juncture. Therefore, Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts to increase food production by at least 60% towards 2050 while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50%.

 

Around the globe, Rabobank is actively promoting sustainability certification for its clients. The bank is also advising them on sustainable production methods and soil management. The facility together with U.N. Environment aims to offer grants and open the door for clients to initiate large scale land restoration and forest protection projects. It positively affects their risk profile, which leads to easier access to loans.

 

Building on Existing Initiatives

Significant progress has already been made in many areas by Rabobank. For example, in Brazil Rabobank has been promoting and financing Integrated Crop, Livestock and Forestry (ICLF) farming. Working with the World Wildlife Fund and local partners we will endeavor to restore underutilized or degraded arable land under the management of Brazilian farmers owning 17 million hectares (42 million acres).

Together with clients and influential partners such as U.N. Environment, the WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Rabobank will increase and scale similar efforts around the world. A kickstart with Justdiggit will be prepared in Africa.

This joint effort with UN Environment is designed to be an open platform for others to join. Rabobank invites stakeholders from across the entire food and agricultural sector to join the Kickstart Food program.

 

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About The Author

Deputy editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer as well as responsibility for the Agronomist and Arable Farmer and Farm Business websites. After 17 years milking cows on the family farm John started writing about agriculture in 1998 and has since written for a variety of publications and has developed a wide circle of contacts within the industry. When not working John is a season ticket holder at Stoke City and also of late has become a fitness freak, listing cycling, swimming and walking as his exercises of choice.