A shoal of tuna fish © 123RF
A shoal of tuna fish © 123RF

$90m set aside to 'transform the markets' for food commodities

12 April 2016

More than $90m in grants has been set aside by a foundation to promote sustainable supply chains in the agriculture and seafood sectors.

The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which works to encourage environmental improvements, will provide grants to create of a series of collaborations to support its initiatives around forests, agriculture, oceans and seafood.

The foundation said it hoped these collaborations would “transform the markets for top traded commodites” by “changing the purchasing practices of major buyers”.

Collaborators include Ceres, the National Wildlife Federation, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and WWF.

A Forests and Agriculture Markets Initiative will work to promote more efficient, sustainable, deforestation-free production of beef and soy globally.

An Oceans and Seafood Markets Initiative aims to protect marine and coastal ecosystems by improving aquaculture practices and the health and abundance of wild-capture fish stocks.

Meanwhile, a Conservation and Finance Markets Initiative will use mainstream financial markets to help drive the food sector away from production practices that degrade natural ecosystems.

Agriculture currently makes up nearly 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and commercial agriculture causes half of all global forest loss, according to the foundation.

Overexploitation is common in global fisheries, despite efforts to allow target stocks to rebound, while global aquaculture has more than doubled since the mid-90s, bringing ecological consequences, it said.

Aileen Lee, program director for conservation and markets strategies at the foundation, said global population growth would create demand for richer diets and unprecedented pressures on natural resources.

“Now more than ever, the need to produce food without causing severe environmental degradation is essential to maintaining the productive capacity and integrity of the earth’s ecosystems,” she said.

“Forward-thinking businesses already recognise the imperative to change, and are taking steps toward cleaning their supply chains.

“To do this work with sufficient speed and at a meaningful scale, the core collaborations formed through these grants will build upon and amplify this momentum, to help to transform the markets for top traded commodities including beef, soy, tuna and shrimp, by changing the purchasing practices of major buyers, setting and strengthening standards for production, and shifting practices on the ground.”

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