The loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest challenges of our time. Humans are causing species loss 1,000 times faster than would occur naturally, and many ecosystems are at risk of collapse.
Biodiversity is not just an environmental issue – it’s a requirement for our nutrition and overall quality of life. And while the agricultural sector, food producers and food retailers have a great impact on biodiversity, its protection is not yet among their main interests.
The “Biodiversity in standards and labels for the food industry“ initiative, supported by the European Commission, is working to change this. By supporting standard-setting organizations in including biodiversity criteria into their schemes, and motivating food companies and retailers to include biodiversity criteria into their sourcing guidelines, it aims to improve the biodiversity performance standards and labels in the food industry.
For a comprehensive overview of how protection of biodiversity is currently addressed in food sector standards and company supply chains, download the Baseline Report.
COUNTRY CASE STUDY
The Industrial Reconversion Program is an action plan to improve the environmental performance of companies in the industrial and services sectors, and to transform operations to reduce environmental and social impacts through a voluntary programme.
Supporting governments in their commitment to reduce carbon emissions is crucial. WWF, with support from Germany’s Ministry for the Environment, has launched projects to help Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines reduce carbon emissions and protect biodiversity by improving forest management and agricultural practices.
In Thailand, the project focuses on crop diversity. Thailand is one of the world’s biggest meat suppliers, and many local farmers now grow corn for animal feed. But this monoculture depletes the soil, drives reliance on chemical fertilizers, and results in illegal burning of forests and fields. The environmental results are disastrous, devastating biodiversity and producing smog that hangs in the air for days, damaging the environment and residents’ health.
WWF helps farmers transition to sustainable crops, with free workshops that teach other options. WWF also teams up with local restaurants, schools and hospitals to sell the crops without middlemen and promote sustainability.
“The transition was difficult, especially because we had no money coming during that period. But thanks to the support we got, we managed it.”
– Thirasak Suwanno, former corn feed farmer now growing organic bananas