The UN Global Compact today introduced the Food and Agriculture Business (FAB) Principles in Rome.
As the first set of global voluntary business principles for the whole food and agriculture sector, the FAB Principles aim to help realize the goal of sustainable development as described in the Rio+20 outcome document (The Future We Want), and to empower businesses to make a positive contribution to the post-2015 development agenda.
As the world’s population grows to nine billion by 2050 and demand on global food systems intensifies, business will be a critical partner for Governments and other stakeholders to design and deliver effective, scalable and practical solutions for secure food systems and sustainable agriculture. With farming and food occupying a pivotal position in sustainable development, the FAB Principles provide a holistic framework for companies to collaborate with the UN, Governments, civil society and other stakeholders to meet this challenge.
The six principles are designed to complement many existing initiatives that advance sustainability in food and agriculture, and serve as an umbrella over voluntary standards and technical compliance platforms. They provide agreed global language on what constitutes sustainability in food and agriculture on critical issues ranging from food security, health and nutrition, to human rights, good governance, and environmental stewardship, as well as ensuring economic viability across the entire value chain.
“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,” said Puvan Selvanathan, Head of Food and Agriculture at the UN Global Compact. “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.”
The FAB Principles respond to the call from Rio+20 for sustainable intensification of food production by increasing local investments, access to local and global markets and reducing waste in supply chains. They establish the attributes of well-functioning and sustainable global food and agriculture systems, and articulate common understanding of the resources, ecosystem services and socio-economic impacts needed to build resilience into food and agricultural systems and the markets that they serve.
The UN Global Compact facilitated development of the FAB Principles through a nearly two-year broad and inclusive multi-stakeholder process. Over 20 consultations have been conducted globally, including more than 1,000 businesses, UN agencies and civil society organisations involved in agriculture, nutrition and food systems.
The FAB Principles provide a common basis for substantive sustainability reports to be developed and compared between organisations operating in the food, nutrition and agricultural sectors. UN Global Compact corporate participants from the food and agriculture sector can use the Principles to disclose their sustainability policies and practices in their required annual Communication on Progress (COP).
Reporting through the COP will demonstrate how an organisation’s activities are aligned with the FAB Principles, as well as achievements that contribute to meeting the global challenges of food security and sustainable agriculture.