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Food, people and nature: how can businesses support sustainable food systems?

17:00 – 18:30 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 3 June 2021

Click HERE to access the recordings of the RBHR Forum on YouTube

Organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)




The UN Secretary-General has identified “making peace with nature” as the defining task of the 21st century1, and has called for collective action to radically change the way we produce, process, and consume food. This call to action will underlie the UN Food Systems Summit taking place later this year, and aiming to deliver progress on all 17 SDGs, each of which relies to some degree on healthier, more sustainable and equitable food systems.

The health of our environment, the health of our food systems, and the wellbeing of people are fundamentally interlinked. Unsustainable consumption and production, particularly related to agriculture and food, are accelerating environmental change, notably through climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss, and the impacts are falling disproportionately on already vulnerable communities. 

Businesses are key players in food systems, which can be defined as ‘the constellation of activities involved in producing, processing, transporting and consuming food’.2 Setting our food systems on a more sustainable pathway will be an essential component of addressing the multiple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and the impacts of COVID-19 and associated economic shocks.



Session Description

This session will highlight linkages between food systems, and impacts on people and nature, environmental rights, and discuss the role that businesses can play in driving more sustainable food systems that support positive outcomes for people and nature.

A series of ‘flash talks’ by presenters from the private sector, civil society and UN agencies will highlight key issues, and a facilitated/interactive discussion will then take place on opportunities to scale up action in this area.

Session Objectives

The key objectives of this session are to:


  • Highlight linkages between food systems, impacts on people and nature, environmental rights, and business operations;

  • Better understand the impacts and dependencies associated with operations in the food and agribusiness sector on natural, human and social capital;

  • Share existing and emerging opportunities for businesses to support positive outcomes for people and nature.




Panelists and participants will reflect on the following questions:

  • What are the linkages between our current food systems, including food production, supply and consumption, and outcomes for people and nature?

  • What kinds of environmental and human rights are relevant to discussions of current and future food systems?

  • How do business operations in the food and agricultural sector lead to risks to natural, human, social and produced capitals?

  • What kind of tools and approaches are available to support more responsible business conduct and more sustainable food systems? Are there any gaps/needs for these tools and approaches?

  • What other opportunities – e.g. entry points, ongoing initiatives, campaigns, changes – can we take advantage of to drive responsible business conduct and promote more sustainable food systems?

For questions, please contact unrbhrforum@undp.org