Food manufacturers must invest in innovative agriculture to meet COP26’s deforestation goal

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Food manufacturers are facing challenges to meet their sustainability goals
Food manufacturers are facing challenges to meet their sustainability goals

Related tags: Supply chain

Food manufacturers have been warned that they must invest in more innovative agriculture to meet the COP26 deforestation goal, GlobalData has said.

COP26’s ambitious pledge to end deforestation by 2030 presents major challenges to fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) producers the data and analytics company has noted. 

It has highlighted that global food commodities such as meat, palm oil, soya and cocoa are currently entwined with significant land usage and deforestation and has predicted that hardline policies and increased investment in research and development (R&D) will be vital moving forward. 

Global Policy

“Without tangible and clear direction on how a global policy like this will be enforced across national borders, the worry is that it simply won’t be. Technologies such as blockchain or artificial intelligence (AI) could allow brands to better monitor their actions in protected areas and provide more transparency to governing bodies,”​ said Carmen Bryan, consumer analyst at GlobalData.  

According to GlobalData’s latest survey, (Q3 Global Consumer Survey, September 2021) two in five (40%) global consumers want to know about production methods in an accessible way via packaging. Another 69% of consumers said they found ‘sourced sustainably’ claims to be extremely or quite important. 

GlobalData's Q3 2021 Consumer Survey

GlobalData's Q3 2021 Consumer Survey was carried out in 2021 in 42 countries globally, with a sample size of 500 respondents per country per survey wave. Qualifying respondents are aged 16 or above. Samples are nationally representative of age and gender. The survey mode is online, self-complete.

 “Agroforestry and afforestation are also crucial ways in which brands can support farmers in transforming their operations to protect and integrate local biodiversity,​” Bryan added. 

Wide scale changes

“Many farmers lack the resources or knowhow to implement wide-scale changes, therefore, brand collaboration from mega players such as Nestlé or Unilever with local and indigenous communities will be key to ensuring COP26’s commitment is met. On the other hand, innovations in vertical farming and cultured meat allows brands to localise supply and cut out mass land usage altogether.” 

The research also found that changes to consumer buying behaviour are also needed as many of these commodities are imported as consumer goods to western nations from developing markets. 

Related topics: Supply Chain

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