Feeding the world, protecting the environment

Feeding the world, protecting the environment

More than 820 million people in the world are affected by food insecurity and malnutrition. An additional 2 billion people globally suffer from “hidden hunger” – a lack of essential nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, and zinc.

Demand for animal protein products continues to grow, supported by population growth, increasing incomes, and dietary changes in developing countries. Between 2018 and 2031, OECD-FAO expects an increase of 24 percent in total dairy consumption, and of 15 percent in meat consumption.

But the livestock sector has a large climate footprint, especially in developing countries, and an increase in meat and dairy production can lead to significant sustainability challenges. One way to reduce global emissions intensity and prevent deforestation while providing affordable and safe food in emerging markets is by investing in sustainable solutions that intensify production in developing countries.

This was the focus of a meeting hosted earlier this year by the Food Systems, Land Use, and Restoration Impact Program, a $345 million initiative funded by the Global Environment Facility and led by the World Bank that seeks to transform the global food system by promoting sustainable, integrated landscapes and efficient commodity value chains.

In Brazil, the World Bank’s private sector arm – the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – shared lessons from its Practices for Sustainable Investment in Private Sector Livestock Operations, which guide its approach to investing in the sector. These practices, developed in partnership with FOLUR and the GEF, aim to decrease the intensity of livestock farming’s greenhouse gas emissions and to stop deforestation in supply chains, at the same time increasing productivity and efficiency.

Many of the largest multilateral development banks have endorsed the IFC’s practices: the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and IDB Invest, which is part of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Dutch Development Bank (FMO), and British International Investment (BII).

There are many examples of the way these guidelines support implementation of best practices regarding commodity supply chains and climate resilience. IFC invests in livestock companies that are committed to aligning with the Paris Agreement and expects its investee companies to lower greenhouse gas intensity and adopt climate resilience practices.

In Zambia, IFC has supported beef producer Zambeef to develop a system for monitoring and reporting the greenhouse gas emissions of its operations. This has allowed Zambeef not only to identify decarbonization investment opportunities but has also been recognized by Zambian authorities for its compliance with national environmental regulations.

IFC invests in livestock companies that prevent loss of biodiversity through a public commitment to achieve no net loss of natural habitat. IFC also requires investee companies to develop a Sustainability Sourcing Policy to establish traceability and limit procurement to producers that can verify they are not causing conversion of natural habitats.

In Brazil, IFC is supporting Louis Dreyfus Company to train farmers and implement systems that are allowing the company to monitor and eliminate deforestation and conversion of native vegetation of high conservation value from its supply chains in the Cerrado.

Learn more about the practices here

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