Exclusive-Global investors write to the UN to demand a global plan on agricultural missions

Food production is responsible for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions and is the main threat to 86% of endangered species worldwide, the group says, while livestock farming is responsible three-quarters of the loss of the Amazon fort.

Climate scientists warned in April that the global goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7F) above the pre-industrial average by mid-century could not be achieved without marked changes in land use.

Despite this, a study by the FAIRR Initiative showed last year that the emission reduction plans of most G20 nations did not include agricultural emission reduction targets.

The letter to the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Qu Dongyu, coordinated by the FAIRR investor network, indicates that the agency is best placed to take the initiative to create a roadmap to ensure better planning.

“To keep the 1.5C target within reach, the global food system urgently needs a standardized roadmap that reduces emissions while protecting the health and livelihoods of people everywhere.” , declared Guenther Thallinger, president of the Alliance of the owners of net zero assets (NZAOA), convened by the United Nations, one of the signatories of the letter.

“We urge FAO to act on the science and work towards achieving this historic roadmap.”

In addition to the NZAOA, which counts among its members the insurers Allianz and Swiss Re, 33 other investors have signed up, including the American asset manager Capital Group and the British Aviva Investors.

The call to action was also backed by Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and one of the architects of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.


The launch of a similar report for the energy sector last year by the International Energy Agency showed the success of such a roadmap, investors said, and would prove a useful tool. crucial to help investors and other stakeholders change their practices more quickly.

Although investors consider FAO to be best placed among UN agencies to lead such work, Olivier De Schutter, co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, said it has historically delivered an “overview of the impacts of agriculture… on climate change”.

While she has generally encouraged approaches that rely on heavy machinery, large-scale irrigation, chemical fertilizers and pesticides to feed the world, all of which dramatically increase greenhouse gas emissions, she has also done push for low-input solutions that reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

“FAO has been far from consistent in this regard and there remains a huge gap between its promise to support agrocology and the reality of the advice and project support it gives to countries,” he said. . “My hope is that the initiative of these investors can force the FAO to rethink its policies.”

The FAO did not respond to a request for comment.

In addition to setting clear guidelines for companies and other stakeholders on the volume of emissions that must be mitigated to limit warming to 1.5C, the letter draws particular attention to the need for a pathway to reduce methane emissions.

Livestock are responsible for almost a third of the world’s man-made methane emissions, released in the form of livestock burps, manure and forage crops.

Methane stays in the atmosphere for two decades, while it takes centuries for carbon dioxide to be eliminated, but a single methane molecule traps much more heat.

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