The way we source and dispose of food is pushing us beyond the Earth’s planetary boundaries – the limits within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive.
The food sector needs a radically new collaborative approach to address this challenge and return to a ‘safe space’. To do this, we must tackle two intertwined priorities together:
It’s why we were excited to participate in Sweden’s COP27 Delegation led by Business Sweden. At COP27, we put forward our agenda to use our global footprint and industry expertise to accelerate actions and enable a shift towards resilient and sustainable food systems and healthier diets. Our progress depends on embracing a mindset which drives both growth and sustainability for a better future –system thinking, science-based decisions and collaborative innovation are crucial to this.
Johan Rockström, Director
The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Member, Sustainability Advisory Panel, Tetra Pak
Co-authored by Johan Rockström, leading climate scientist and member of our Sustainability Advisory Panel, the paper offers a science-based approach to make the argument that the way we source and secure food is pushing us beyond the Earth’s planetary boundaries – the limits within which humanity can continue to develop and thrive. From climate change to biodiversity loss and pollution, we cannot continue to push these boundaries without putting societies at risk. As a result, a radical approach is required to create more sustainable food systems.
In recent decades, food systems have delivered major human development benefits through massive increases in productivity. Yet, today’s systems are no longer fit for purpose. They are failing to deliver healthy diets, with 800m people going hungry daily and 2 billion people overweight or obese. At the same time food systems bear high hidden costs - amounting to some $12 trillion each year - and have a detrimental impact on the environment. We need to reinvent how we source, produce and process our food, its transportation and the materials we use to package it.
The opportunities to do that lie in four key areas:
Essential to this progress is collaboration, both across industries and between the private sector and governments. To drive food systems transformation and decarbonisation Tetra Pak is collaborating with multiple partners, including the Private Sector Mechanism of the United Nations FAO's Committee for Food Security and the Corporate Consultive Group of the World Resources Institute.
Food is the ’make it or break it’ for the future of our planet.
At COP27, food systems were firmly on the agenda. The conference’s final agreement highlighted the importance of safeguarding food security and ending hunger as part of addressing the challenges posed by the climate crisis. This was a major step in recognising the crucial role that food and agriculture play in the green transition.
Transforming food systems to improve resilience and sustainability is a monumental task. The private sector has a key role to play, but no company can succeed alone. So, we will build upon the progress made at COP27 and continue to work with our customers to support their decarbonisation journeys, as well as helping future-focused businesses develop innovative solutions that protect the future of food. All guided by system-thinking and science.
There’s still more to be done – particularly since there has been a lack of progress in abandoning fossil fuels. However, it’s clear that businesses are critical to address this, which is why we’re driving down carbon across every step of the value chain, including implementing all actions needed to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030.
Throughout the conference, it was evident that nature is among the best allies in helping to achieve net zero. The resilience of food systems is based on the resilience of nature. In the past, we had driven two separate agendas - a climate agenda and a biodiversity and nature protection agenda. The job we are doing now is combining the two agendas. We will continue to build momentum on these topics by calling for mandatory assessment and disclosure of nature to be included in the COP15 Global Biodiversity Framework and beyond.
The role of policy and innovation in the Green Transition, with United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme, Business Sweden (Tetra Pak speaker: Eija Hietavuo - VP, Corporate Affairs) - 7th November
A Just Transition, Grounded in Human Rights: The Role of Businesses, with Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Svensk Exportkredit, SSAB, Institute for Human Rights and Business and the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force. (Tetra Pak speaker: Eija Hietavuo - VP, Corporate Affairs) – 8th November
The importance of system-thinking and circularity for decarbonization, with the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, Volvo Cars, Normative, Alfa Laval, Ragn-Sells and Minesto. (Tetra Pak speaker: Eija Hietavuo - VP, Corporate Affairs) – 11th November
Adaptation: Business opportunities and responsibilities, with Council of Energy, Environment and Water, International Peace Institute, Ragn-Sells, Raoul Wallenberg Institute, Stockholm Environment Institute, The Maldives' Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology, and United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative. (Tetra Pak speaker: Eija Hietavuo - VP, Corporate Affairs) – 12th November
Call for collaboration: Developing climate resilient food system pathways, with Ragn-Sells, EasyMining, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Compassion in World Farming. (Tetra Pak speaker: Eija Hietavuo - VP, Corporate Affairs) – 12th November
Technological innovations accelerating circularity within the food value chain, with the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, EasyMining, the City of São Paulo, and Alfa Laval. (Tetra Pak speaker: Charles Brand - EVP, Processing Solutions & Equipment) – 12th November
How can we produce sufficient, healthy, and affordable protein in a sustainable way to feed a global population of 11 billion people by 2050?, with Alfa Laval, the Good Food Institute, Heura Foods, and TurtleTree. (Tetra Pak speaker: Charles Brand - EVP, Processing Solutions & Equipment) – 12th November
Healthy Planet and Healthy People – Dairy Net Zero, A Call for Action, with Malini Mehra FRSA, chief executive of GLOBE International secretariat and member of the Tetra Pak Sustainability Advisory Panel, Johan Rockström, Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and member of the Tetra Pak Sustainability Advisory Panel, Arla Foods, and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). (Tetra Pak speaker: Charles Brand - EVP, Processing Solutions & Equipment) – 12th November
Nature Positive action for Net Zero future, with World Business Council for Sustainable Development, São Paulo State Environment Agency, and Normative (Tetra Pak Speaker: Gilles Tisserand – VP Climate & Biodiversity) – 16th November
The transition to a green and circular economy, with Business Sweden, EasyMining and Einride. (Tetra Pak Speaker: Gilles Tisserand – VP Climate & Biodiversity) – 17th November