Multinationals get behind SDG food drive in UK

Fresh plans to drive forward progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UK through a food programme have been supported by Nestle, Nando's, BaxterStorey, and other organisations.

Multinationals get behind SDG food drive in UK

This scheme brings together cross-sector organisations to build on the UKSSD’s report Measuring up

The move will see the companies joining organisations including WWF and the Food Ethics Council on the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD)’s Food System Programme.

This scheme brings together cross-sector organisations to build on the UKSSD’s report Measuring up, which highlighted UK calories from healthy foods consistently cost more than unhealthy food and 20% of 10-11 year olds are obese; global food systems contribute up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions; and food is a major contributor to the climate emergency and biodiversity loss.

The founding partners of the scheme are Nestlé, the British Retail Consortium, Nando’s, BaxterStorey, the Food Ethics Council, WWF, Giki, the British Poultry Council, the RSPB and the Suffolk Sustainability Institute. A series of meeting with all stakeholders has been set-up for 2020 with plans for a roadmap to be launched for a sustainable food system in September 2020.

Systems transformation

Speaking about the announcement, UKSSD network director Emily Auckland said: “Our food system in the UK needs new thinking which can only come from cross-sector collaboration.

“Systems transformation is critical if the UK is going to achieve the SDGs by 2030 and today marks the start of a new programme of activity for UKSSD. We are responding to the clear need for a fresh look at our food system, and now exploring other sectors where cross-sector collaboration can help to accelerate action.”

Head of sustainability at Nestle UK & Ireland Anna Turrell said “a systemic transformation of the food system” was required “to achieve healthy people and a healthy planet”, while the British Retail Consortium’s sustainability policy advisor Leah Riley Brown said it was “important that leading organisations spearhead action on the biggest environmental and social challenges” and the roadmap would “provide a common vision that will allow all of us to make a positive contribution to the UK.”

Partnership schemes

Other schemes have already been set-up by the UKSSD, such as a coalition of more than 400 businesses in London’s Midtown partnering with the group to accelerated business contributions towards the SDGs in October. The partnership will design programmes that enable members to develop solutions that accelerate progress towards the SDGs.

As for the UKSSD, the organisation launched a landmark report into the UK Government’s approach to the SDGs. The UKSSD’s report revealed that the nation was only performing well on 24% of targets considered relevant to the domestic delivery of the Goals.

Presented to MPs at the House of Commons in July, the report listed policy gaps or inadequate performance alongside 57% of the 143 targets, while 15% had “little to no policy in place” to address them.

MPs have since scrutinised Government’s reluctance to launch a Voluntary National Review for the gaols and the UKSSD believes that updates on targets are needed to inspire cross-sector collaboration to tackle areas where the UK is lagging. The Government eventually launched the Review this summer.

James Evison

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