Dutch financial services company Rabobank will invest $1 billion as part of its Kickstart Food programme to accelerate the transition to a sustainable food supply.
The announcement marks the start of a three-year initiative to scale up the bank’s support for clients and partners in the transition to a more sustainable food and agricultural sector.
The Kickstart Food initiative has four key focus areas: earth, waste, stability and nutrition. The new investment is part of the earth focus area, which is centred on sustainable and environmentally sound food production.
With this mission, Rabobank is working towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As the availability in arable land declines, the bank says that food production is now at a ‘critical juncture’.
Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts to increase food production by at least 60% towards 2050, while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50%.
It will also advise its clients on sustainable production methods and soil management. The new fund, which is supported by UN Environment, aims to offer grants and open the door for clients to initiate large-scale land restoration and forest protection projects.
Our latest initiative, the Kickstart Food programme, aims to speed up sustainable food production and reduce food waste throughout the food and agriculture supply chain
Rabobank chairman Wiebe Draijer said: “Our global lead role in financing food production urges us to accelerate developments on the sustainable food supply.
“With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally. We are proud of this major initiative with the UN Environment.”
Rabobank European regional head Tamira Treffers-Herrera added: “In 33 years the world’s population will have surpassed 9 billion. In the current climate this milestone has the potential to create a dilemma for the agricultural industry, with food production having to rise by 60% to accommodate for the growing needs of society.
“We need to take bold and brave action to address these challenges straight on and that’s exactly what we’re doing at Rabobank as part of our banking for food strategy. Our latest initiative, the Kickstart Food programme, aims to speed up sustainable food production and reduce food waste throughout the food and agriculture supply chain.”
The joint effort with UN Environment is designed to be an open platform for others to participate in. Rabobank is inviting stakeholders from across the entire food and agricultural sector to join its Kickstart Food programme.
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