Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good

To feed 10 billion people within our planetary boundaries by 2050, while ending hunger and tackling unhealthy diets, we will have to drastically change the food system, requiring coordinated and large scaled action by all stakeholders. The virtual pre-event Bold Actions for Food as a Force for Good on 23-24 November 2020 will be a key milestone leading to the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) in 2021. The event will convene leaders from governments, private sector, civil society, international organizations alongside innovators, farmers, financers, scientific experts and youth to initiate and accelerate action for food systems transformation.

Organised by WUR, WEFORUM, WBCSD, Unilever and others

Mon 23 November 2020 until Tue 24 November 2020

Wageningen University & Research is one of the 12 organizations hosting this virtual event. Various experts play an active role in the program. Special attention is given to the role of youth with the Student Challenge that is being organized.

During the two day event multiple sessions will be organized. A full overview of the program will be available here.

An overview of the sessions in which experts of WUR play a role:

Net Zero Agriculture: Aligning Banking Portfolios to 1.5 degrees

Monday 23 November 2020 | 08:30-10:00 CET
Organising partners: WUR, Rabobank and WBCSD, with Koen Boone and Alfons Beldman

The agriculture sector is faced with larger data gaps and more complexities around the estimation of emissions and decarbonization pathways than other sectors. For example, there are no readily available decarbonization pathways like those provided by the IEA for the energy and industry sectors. This makes the measurement and disclosure of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of banking portfolios in agriculture particularly challenging, and prevents targeted incentives that support financing the transition to a net-zero agricultural sector.

Session overview and high-level agenda:

  • Opening - Rabobank will kick off the session by sharing their experience on the challenges they faced when trying to align their agriculture lending portfolio to climate scenarios and introducing their coalition, solution-oriented initiative “Banking for Impact on Climate in Agriculture”.
  • Presentation - Wageningen University will present their feasibility study regarding data gaps in agriculture .
  • Close - WBCSD will close with a call to action for the finance institutions to collaborate and deliver on climate positive solutions for the agriculture food sector.

Audience: Financial Institutions, particularly banks, Food and Agriculture companies, food and climate experts and NGOS and government.

Outcomes: a galvanized group of banks and financial institutions joining the Banking for Impact on Climate in Agriculture (B4ICA) initiative; strengthened investment case for agriculture sector decarbonization; equitable value and just transition for growers, farmers and land managers.

This session is hosted by WBCSD, Rabobank and WUR.

Science-based Solutions for Nutritious and Sustainable Proteins

Monday November 23 | 10:00 - 11:30
Organising partners: DSM (with Ivo Demmers)

We need to nutritiously feed a growing population within planetary boundaries. To sustainably achieve this, for all, requires that the environmental footprint of proteins must significantly be reduced. The good news: this is possible. What is required? A systemic change with science as the key.

Many innovations and (digital) technologies that improve the sustainability of the food system are ready to be implemented, but acceptance and adoption is lagging.

Join the conversation with representatives from the value chain; How science-based solutions can secure nutritious and sustainable proteins for all. What are the calls for action to make it happen!?

From Science to Policy: Creating the Enabling Environment for Change (with Louise O. Fresco)

Monday November 23 | 16:15 - 17:30
Organising partners: WUR with WBCSD and OECD

A healthy food system is one with inclusive outcomes for healthy people and a healthy planet, including healthy businesses. To achieve this requires a fundamental transformation in how food is produced and consumed food. This shift needs to be informed by a collective understanding of current challenges and guided by an evidence-based common vision and collective-solutions space for business action. Collaboration between policy, science, industry and civic society is crucial.

Building on the work of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s Science-to-Policy Dialogues (September 2020) and the SDG conference organized in Wageningen (2018), this session will continue to build consensus and enlarge our common understanding of how each stakeholder can take action now and, together, create transformative pathways.

Session overview

Opening remarks by Diana Holdorf (WBCSD), Joachim von Braun (UNFSS, chair scientific group) and Marion Jansen (OECD). Panel session moderated by Louise O. Fresco (President Wageningen University & Research) with panel members Koen Doens (DG Devco, European Commission, TBC), Helena Leurent (President Consumers International, TBC), Johan Swinnen (DG IPFRI), and representatives from business.

The Student Food Systems Innovation Challenge

Monday 23 November and Tuesday 24 November

In support of involving next generation leaders in the UN Food System Summit, WUR in collaboration with its partners from the A5 Alliance organized a student challenge for teams from A5 partners and other interested universities; “the Food Systems Innovation Challenge”

In this challenge 20 student teams from Universities from all over the world (Brazil, South Africa, the United States, The Netherlands, India, Czech Republic, Uganda, Belgium, and China), compete by presenting innovative, practical, and outstanding ideas on Food System Transformations.

The final ideas of the teams will be presented on 23rd November in four different sessions, in the form of video pitches. A panel of experts from A5 universities has assessed these videos and will announce which innovative idea and team wins he challenge and will be awarded a prize of €2000 during the plenary. You can follow the livestream of the closing session of the 24th from 10:30-12:00.

In this closing session, also the winners of the “the Entrepreneurs Food System Challenge” that was organized by One Young World will be announced. Furthermore, a synthesis of all contributions will be presented which could provide input for follow-up actions towards the UNFSS next year. UN Youth representatives Eva Koffeman & Evi de Vet will react and discuss the outcomes of the challenges with members of the jury, participants, and winners of the challenge, and reflect on the results, and follow-ups.

Key questions we will tackle are:

  • With what innovative solutions for Food System Transformation do students come up?
  • What calls to action do youth prioritize in relation to the action tracks of the UNFSS?
  • What are the concrete next steps as follow up of the Food System Innovation Challenges?

Tune in to see the video contributions of the students the 23rd of November at:

You can also join the livestream, or watch the recording of the closing session of the 24th here.

For more detailed information on the challenge see: Food Systems Innovation Challenge 

    Evidence for Inclusive and Equitable Food System Transformation

    Tuesday November 24 | 12:00-13:30 CET
    Organising partners: WUR, IFAD

    Food system transformation is high on research and policy agendas. The ultimate desire is to move from current food systems to Food systems that ensure nutrition/health/food safety; sustainability/resilience, and equitability and inclusiveness.

    The challenge is to use evidence of current food system functioning to identify desirable pathways to transformation that can serve to guide the policies and investments needed to incentivize and enable stakeholders across the agri-food sector in making needed changes.

    As a run-up to the UN Food System Summit, IFAD and WUR are partnering in addressing the above question in the IFAD Rural Development Report (RDR) 2021 with a focus on the issue of ensuring inclusiveness and equity in the process of transformation in order to leave no one behind. The session will provide an overview of the emerging results and messages from RDR 2021, involving several key authors in the RDR process

    With Ken Giller, Eric Smaling, Inge Brouwer, Cees Leeuwis (all WUR) Romina Cavatassi (IFAD), and Leslie Lipper (IFAD)

    A Global Call to Action on Food Loss and Waste

    Tuesday November 24 | 10:30-12:00 CET
    Organising partners: WUR and WRI, with Toine Timmermans

    Around a third of all food is lost or wasted between the farm and plate. This costs the global economy approx. $940bn per year. It consumes ¼ of all water used in agriculture each year and requires land greater than the size of China, contributing to loss of ecosystems and biodiversity. Food loss and waste accounts for approx. 8% annual greenhouse gas emissions.

    COVID-19 has exposed weaknesses in the food system, driving up loss and waste in places, impacting farmer incomes and increasing the number of people who go to bed hungry.

    This session will build on the recently published Call to Action by the Champions 12.3 coalition, which called for:

    • Countries and companies to follow the target, measure, act approach.
    • Integration of food loss and waste into NDCs and climate strategies.
    • Pursuing of food loss and waste reduction as part of COVID-19 responses.

    Key questions we will tackle are:

    • Why should food loss and waste be tackled?
    • Which contribution can FLW make to tackling greenhouse gas emissions?
    • What can governments and companies do about it?

    Working together for Resilient Food Systems: Towards a Europe–Africa Platform for Research and Innovation

    Tuesday 24 November | 10:30 – 12:00 CET
    Organising partners: LEAP4FNSSA, EFARD, RUFORUM and WUR

    Covid-19 clearly shows the fragility of the food systems. It makes us aware of the interrelatedness of the different parts and scales of the systems. We expect that in the future, we will experience more shocks, such as natural disasters, conflicts, and diseases, with devastating consequences for vulnerable populations. The ambition of Action Track 5 is to ensure that food systems are able to deliver food security, nutrition and equitable livelihoods for all despite these crises.

    To find these solutions, all actors in food systems need to work together: from farmers to consumers, from policymakers to companies, researchers, social workers and school teachers. This session will explore the perspectives of different stakeholders within food systems on resilience pathways and discuss new ways of collaboration in the field of research and innovation.


    Ms. Prof Dr. Lindiwe Sibanda, Director: African Research Universities Alliance Centre of Excellence in Food Security & Co-Chair of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture 


    Mr. Dr. Godfrey Bahiigwa, Director of Agriculture, African Union Commission, Addis Ababa-Ethiopia

    Key Speaker, Introduction to Food Systems Resilience

    Mr. Prof. Dr. Patrick Caron, vice-president of the University of Montpellier (MUSE) and a member of the Scientific Group advising on the preparation of the UN Secretary-General's Food Systems Summit 2021


    • Hon. Jeanine Milly Cooper Minister of Agriculture – Liberia
    • Mr. Dr. Hans- Jörg Lutzeyer Research Programme Officer European Commission, DG, European Commission
    • Ms. Caroline Jacquet Project Manager in CSO Bio Innovation Zimbabwe
    • Mr. Anthony Mun-Gavin Vice president of food and refreshments Africa, UNILEVER
    • Mr. Hakim Baliraine Chairperson of ESAFF, the Eastern and Southern Africa small-scale Farmers Forum
    • Mr. Samuel Rigu Founder and CEO Safi Organics, Kenya

    Closing Remarks:

    Mr. Dr. Philippe Petithuguenin, Research and Strategy Deputy Director, The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and Coordinator of the LEAP4FNSSA Programme

    How Corporate Transparency and Accountability can drive Food Systems Transformation

    Tuesday 24 November 2020 | 10:30-11:30 CET
    Organising partners: The Sustainability Consortium, ANI and WBA with Koen Boone

    In order to drive the dramatic shift needed to align business with the goals of the food systems transformation agenda, transparency and accountability of company performance is key. The Sustainability Consortium, the Access to Nutrition Initiative and the World Benchmarking Alliance each produce tools for such measurement. This knowledge can facilitate dialogue between leading businesses and their stakeholders, prompting innovation and solutions for some of the toughest SDG challenges.

    For the private sector to play its part, we need consensus on what is expected of companies, in addition to better and more timely insights into actual performance. Accountability mechanisms, such as indices and their methodologies, are core to this as they translate the needs and expectations of stakeholders into a measurable business action, providing a recipe of change for the private sector.

    This session will build on the push for corporate transparency and accountability that aims to contribute to the delivery of all the Action Tracks.

    Key questions we will tackle are:

    • How can accountability help to strengthen the impact of the UN FSS?
    • Shifting accountability from a reporting burden to an opportunity through concrete examples; what actions or partnerships are being taken as a result of available data?
    • Influence of investors using data to shift corporate action?
    • What is needed to create an enabling environment for accelerated business action beyond accountability tools?

    Format and Speakers:
    A panel of food companies and one institutional investor exploring what it means to be a corporate leader on food systems transformation and the role of accountability mechanisms in that journey.

    The session is hosted by The Sustainability Consortium, Access to Nutrition (ATNI) and the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)