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World Food Day 2021: Sustainable Food Systems

With more than 3 billion people unable to afford a healthy diet, alongside the significant impact of our global food infrastructure on our environment, World Food Day is hosted annually by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to raise awareness about issues that stem from our food systems.

The ultimate goal of our global food system is to achieve a sustainable network, in which a variety of sufficient, nutritious, and safe foods are available and affordable to everyone, with no one suffering from hunger or malnutrition. There would be plenty of food to go round, less food wasted, and the supply chain would be more resilient to the type of shocks that we have seen recently, including extreme weather and pandemics. Additionally, this would continue while limiting, rather than worsening, environmental degradation and climate change, in turn ensuring food security and sustainability moving forwards.

As the way we produce, consume, and waste food places further pressure on our natural resources, the environment, and our climate, the pandemic has only emphasised the urgent need for greater sustainability and resiliency across the supply chain, a supply chain that includes both transportation and financing. 

DID YOU KNOW? The world’s food systems are currently responsible for more than 33% of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity.

As it stands, the food and agricultural sector is not on track for a sustainable future and, with our food system accounting for a third of global GHG emissions, altering this is critical to reducing our environmental impact. However, for progress in this area to be made, change must occur across all levels of the system, from governmental policies, to regulators, and industries throughout the private sector.

Enabling sustainability through green financing 

Support from the financial sector is key to making the global food system’s transition to sustainability a success. Green financing is required to drive that transition and support the industry in taking full advantage of the opportunities of decarbonisation, but to do this, every decision needs to take climate into account. 

Already we’re seeing emerging financial policies and regulation moving towards environmental impact reporting which, in turn, is driving the financial prioritisation of greener companies. Therefore, the suggestion is that, in part, the current food system will be transformed by financial institutions placing preference on more sustainable companies, whether that be food distributors, transportation companies, or those in the agricultural industries. As a result, ESG initiatives will have to be adhered to in order for organisations to remain competitive and, subsequently, those leading the industry will be the more sustainable players.

Pole Star’s role in supporting the transition to a sustainable food system

As the leader in maritime intelligence, Pole Star is a key player in supporting the smooth running of global supply chains and has formed two key partnerships to redirect maritime trade, including financing and shipping, towards more environmentally conscious decision-making. By integrating both Vasanda EcoSphere and CarbonChain’s emissions calculations into our sanctions screening and compliance platform, PurpleTRAC, Pole Star is providing customers with a 360-degree view of regulatory and sustainability risk.

Vasanda aggregates raw environmental impact data to ascertain key risks associated with any actively traded commodity, supplier, grower, or miner. This data is then used to determine the environmental or social risks associated with a transaction and categorises them by environmental or climate impact risks, social conditions of the supply chain, and governance metrics of the supplier, producer, or miner. Similarly, CarbonChain brings emissions calculations on over 130,000 vessels to the table, providing greenhouse gas emissions data and a vessel’s environmental impact rating in comparison to their competitors.

These functionalities enable greater transparency across the global food supply chain, providing the insight required for financial institutions to have visibility over the sustainability efforts and environmental impact of those in the system and to, therefore, initiate greener financing to ultimately make headway in creating a sustainable global food system.

Contact purpletrac@polestarglobal.com to learn more about the solution and its sustainability risk screening capabilities.

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