World Wildlife Fund Sustainability Works

filtered by category: Food Security

  • Date: 10 September 2020
  • Author: McDonald's Corporation

McDonald’s feeds millions of people around the world every day and with that comes a responsibility – and opportunity – to use our size and scale to help transform the global food system for the better. While COVID-19 has revealed near-term supply chain vulnerabilities, climate change will have even more devastating impacts along the food system value chain in the long run - from changing weather patterns to the potential collapse of ecosystems, and as shown in the 2020 global Living Planet Report, we can’t put climate action on hold. In 2018, McDonald’s became the first restaurant company in the world to commit to a science based target to reduce emissions across our restaurants, offices and supply chain by 2030 from a 2015 base year. We can’t do this alone, which is why we’re partnering with our franchisees, suppliers, farmers, ranchers and expert partners, like WWF.

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  • Date: 22 June 2020
  • Author: Jason Clay, SVP, Markets

Finding the right balance between food imports and domestic production will continue to be a challenge as COVID-19 disrupts supply chains and governments want to ensure that food will be available for their citizens. Trade is an essential part of any sustainable food system. There will be pandemics, droughts, and plagues of locusts in any given year, and unfortunately, like now, sometimes all in the same year. Trade helps the global food system fill in the cracks created by disruptive individual or multiple events, regardless of their origin, that may lead to localized rolling hunger across a landscape.

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  • Date: 18 June 2020
  • Author: Stephanie Bradley, director of fisheries in transition

One of the biggest threats to the ocean is unsustainable fishing. When done right fishing can benefit people while maintaining balance in nature. But when fishing practices take too heavy a toll on the marine environment, wildlife populations and critical habitats decline, which jeopardizes jobs and a critical food supply.

Fishery improvement projects—called FIPs—are the most widely-used approach for raising standards in fisheries around the world so that species, habitats, and people can all thrive. WWF helped pioneer the approach more than a decade ago and today FIPs account for nearly one in every ten pounds of fish caught worldwide.

After more than a decade of leveraging seafood buying power to catalyze these improvements in fisheries, we now have a good idea of what is working and what parts of the approach need to be improved. There’s never been more incentive to get it right—and fast.

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  • Date: 09 January 2020
  • Author: Jason Clay

The Markets Institute at WWF identifies global issues and emerging trends around the most pressing challenges of our time to help us all learn and shift faster. As always, we'll be tracking a wide variety of food and soft commodity issues, trends, and tools as we move into 2020, dubbed the super-year for the environment. We know we will see more political volatility and financial crises, and the impacts of climate change to not only be felt more deeply but also recognized for what they are—a ticking time bomb for the future so long as they are not addressed. Here are just a few of the other issues, trends and tools we will be tracking this year:

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  • Date: 21 February 2017
  • Author: Jason Clay

When a large, global food company commits to deforestation-free commodities, its entire supply chain listens. And when McDonald’s does so, other global food companies follow suit. That’s why the company’s commitment to source only deforestation-free beef by 2020 in regions with identified risks relating to the preservation of forests holds such promise to protect critical habitats, including Latin America’s most valuable ecosystems.

While deforestation has slowed across parts of the Amazon, it remains the world’s largest arc of deforestation. Furthermore, as if to compensate for progress in the Brazilian Amazon, deforestation has intensified in other Amazon regions of countries neighboring Brazil, as well as the Cerrado savannah of Brazil, and the Chaco mixed grass and woodlands of Paraguay and Argentina.

Many factors drive deforestation, but beef production is the biggest. Cattle ranching occupies about 80 percent of the deforested area in the Amazon, and it has led to the conversion of nearly 200 million acres of Cerrado habitat. Between 1976 and 2011, more than 29 million acres of Chaco habitat were converted largely first for the production of beef and then soy, a feed source for livestock.

The environmental impacts of deforestation are clear: it contributes to climate change, drought, soil degradation and erosion, water pollution, the spread of disease, and the loss of biodiversity. There are a number of social impacts as well from land conflicts to bonded and child labor, the displacement of indigenous cultures, and deterioration of water quality for drinking and fish, the most common source of protein in many affected areas.

From multinational traders to smallholder farmers, businesses increasingly recognize the economic risks of deforestation, such as resource scarcity and soil degradation, supply chain instability, legal jeopardy, and reputational harm. Its impact on weather variability is particularly troublesome for Latin American farmers who largely rely on rain as opposed to irrigation. Indeed, research indicates that deforestation has contributed to several “once-in-a-century” droughts and floods in Brazil since 2000.

Global food companies are in a unique position to influence not only their own supply chains but also that of their rivals. McDonald’s need for ground beef from select cuts leaves the majority of each animal for other buyers. In other words, for every pound of deforestation-free beef raised on farms that supply to McDonald’s, several more pounds of food—as well as leather and other byproducts—are destined for other companies’ supply chains, facilitating a sector-wide move to conserve forests.

WWF is working to support the transition to deforestation-free commodities, such as beef, soy, palm oil, timber, and so on. As a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, for example, WWF works with producers, other industry players, environmental NGOs, and researchers to push for the adoption of locally appropriate indicators and metrics that help producers reduce the footprint of the beef they produce. In collaboration with National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy, and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, we are securing commitments from other companies in the beef and soy supply chains to eliminate deforestation in the Amazon, Cerrado, and Chaco ecosystems specifically.

Just as the global, interconnected food system means that environmental and economic impacts can reverberate around the world, so too can positive commitments to protect forests ripple out across the entire industry. As one of the largest single buyers of beef, McDonald’s influences producers, processors, distributors, and other companies at every point along the value chain. Today, it is sending a clear message to all of them: the future of beef is deforestation-free.

  • Date: 20 July 2016
  • Author: Casey Harrison, WWF

An aerial view of small farmers feilds being irrigated during the dry season in the Ruaha catchment, Tanzania.

Flying at 10,000 feet over Tanzania can give you a unique perspective on the country’s landscapes. On a recent flight over the Nguru Mountains, our pilot told us how he’d watched first-hand over the last 30 years as the region’s forests have retreated, soil has eroded, and rivers have grown murkier, all largely due to unfettered agricultural expansion. And that’s a big part of the reason my colleagues and I were there.

We were together in the Southern Highlands on a scoping journey for the CARE-WWF Alliance, learning from governmental, community, and agricultural leaders and identifying sustainable agricultural policies and practices that can conserve biodiversity and natural resources while creating jobs and food for vulnerable women and men.

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  • Date: 01 May 2015
  • Author: James Beard, WWF and Rafael A Grillo Avila, Environmental Defense Fund

If international aviation were a country, it would be a global top ten carbon emitter, with emissions expected to triple or quadruple by 2040. This is why the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has agreed to cap net carbon emissions from international aviation at 2020 levels.

ICAO aims to achieve this goal through technical and operational measures; carbon pricing through market-based measures (MBM’s); and biofuels. Many airlines see biofuels as a “silver bullet” for meeting their carbon goals. Already over 40 airlines have flown over 600,000 biofuel-powered flights.

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  • Date: 22 March 2015
  • Author: Imakando Sinyama, WWF Zambia

WWF and Sedex released a brief for World Water Day examining corporate water risks, and of the many important take-aways, the one that sticks with me most is this: Even if a business is highly water efficient or uses a relatively small amount of water, they may still be at risk.

This is counter-intuitive in the extreme, and clearly it is a message that hasn’t sunk in with most suppliers. To help get your head around this, let’s take a look at a very specific example: the Kafue Flats.

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  • Date: 04 November 2014
  • Author: Rod Snyder, president, Field to Market

One of the most significant challenges facing this generation is how we provide food, fiber and fuel for 9 billion people across the globe by 2050, while conserving finite natural resources.

Finding science-based solutions to sustainable food production is a complex and difficult task, one that requires collaboration and cooperation among all of us. One of the key steps is defining the sustainability framework, definitions, indicators and metrics for sustainable agriculture and food systems that can measure our continuous progress.

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  • Date: 25 September 2013

In the second installment of our Balancing Act interview series with corporate sustainability leaders, we asked Steve Peterson, director of sourcing and sustainability at General Mills to discuss how integrating sustainability into their business has changed the company, the industry, and how they are impacted by and responding to environmental issues like resource scarcity.

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