FOLU Roundtable Discussion in Davos

Davos, CH - Gathered together for the World Economic Forum in Davos, leaders from business, policy, civil society and international governance met to discuss the urgent need for transformation of food and land use systems to secure a brighter future for people and planet – and their relative roles in driving this. The collaborative and action-oriented conversation was convened by the Food and Land Use Coalition (FOLU) Chair, Paul Polman, who both initiated and concluded the discussions. 

Participants noted that food and land use systems are vital to achieving Sustainable Development Goals. However, issues of food and land use are not receiving the attention they deserve and as a result, decision-makers may not appreciate how serious the challenge and large the opportunity is. The community of food and land use actors can learn from the ‘climate’ movement – of which many were a part.

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Attendees agreed that rapid, coordinated action will need to underpin the required transformation. National governments may lead the transitions through close engagement with other governments, local and international businesses, scientific groups and civil society. The private sector is key, not least due to their connection to both farmers and consumers. Companies can work with other stakeholders to support the transition through changes to their business strategy and practice. Financial leaders should seek to develop financial vehicles and mechanisms to encourage investment in sustainable food and land use projects. In addition, attendees discussed the value of at times adopting transformation strategies that come with some risk. 

Additionally, further developing the evidence base will equip decision-makers with pathways for action and help to get investments flowing in the right direction. By supporting countries to use science-based analytical tools, decision-makers will be better informed of the long-term consequences of policy decisions like subsidy reform.

Attendees discussed the Coalition’s role in supporting the transformation. Several participants referred to the Coalition’s comprehensive approach and the substantial progress made in the last year. The Coalition was described by some as a clear leader, with the ability to bring multiple actors together in pursuit of people-centred transformation and the agility to move fast. 

What next? The Food and Land Use Coalition needs to support fast, coordinated action. The Coalition needs to raise the profile of our messages, purpose and achievements to bring the conversation into the mainstream. And in moving forward, decision-makers need to keep the interests and emotions of people and their specific, local concerns in mind at all times.

Paul Polman concluded the session by recognising the momentum in the room: “The FOLU Coalition is a very strong platform. Let’s get it to action”

Our sincere thanks to Yara International for their generous support in hosting the event. 

Businesses and organisations involved in the event included: African Development Bank, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, Cargill Incorporated, Chatham House, the EAT Foundation, UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, the Government of Colombia, the Government of Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative, the Government of the Netherlands, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Nestle, New Climate Economy, Rabobank, Royal DSM NV, Scaling Up Nutrition, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), SYSTEMIQ, UN World Food Programme, Unilever, the World Economic Forum, the World Bank Group, the World Resources Institute, WWF International and Yara International.