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Bloomberg reports that 19 big food companies have joined a coalition designed to deal with the fact that the "world’s biggest food crops are too similar, which could jeopardize the entire food system in a pandemic or crisis." The coalition is designed to "push for regenerative agriculture, a holistic method of farming that rebuilds resources instead of depleting them."

According to the story, Danone is taking a leading role in developing the coalition's mission, joined by "Google Inc., Nestle SA and L’Oreal … Other companies participating include Mars Inc. and Kellogg Co., as well as Dove soap maker Unilever, Gucci owner Kering and specialty chemicals maker Royal DSM NV."

The formation of the group was announced this week at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, and comes "a year before the United Nations is set to update its strategic plans for improving biodiversity from 2020 to 2030. While concerns have mounted on the impacts of climate change, the spotlight has mainly been on reducing plastic waste and carbon emissions, and not biodiversity."

“The way we’ve created the food system over the last 50 years has been to focus on driving economies of scale and simple solutions, but it’s over-simplistic now,” says Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber. “We have a complete loss of diversity.”

Bloomberg goes on: "The group, dubbed 'One Planet Business for Biodiversity,' seeks to provide a UN meeting in China next year with achievable targets for 2030. Those set a decade ago have not been met.

"Members of the group plan to work with farmers that supply them to promote regenerative farming. They also will lobby governments to introduce incentives for farmers to ditch chemicals and promote organic matter in soil … The coalition will aim to introduce more diversity of crops into their products and even use satellite monitoring to keep a steady check on how agricultural practices improve over time, Faber said.

"We need to reintroduce biodiversity within agriculture itself," Faber tells Bloomberg. "If the 2030 targets aren’t properly set and missed, the whole food system will be at risk."
KC's View:
I know very little about this subject, but just enough to suspect that some people will be surprised and others will be skeptical about these big companies taking this position; many probably are viewed as being the problem, not the solution.

But if we accept the sincerity of their position, we can accept the possibility that they have come to realize the fragility of their positions and see this kind of approach as being not just their moral and ethical duty, but also their fiduciary responsibility as corporate leaders. I have no problem with that if it gets us where we need to go - tending to the needs of an increasingly fragile planet.