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24 leading global companies join together to accelerate transformational change in global food systems

Davos, 19 January 2017 – Today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, 24 leading global companies announced their collaborative commitment to accelerating transformational change in global food systems. 

The companies have joined together to launch FReSH- the Food Reform for Sustainability and Health program– under the leadership of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the EAT Foundation (EAT). The program is open for more companies to participate.

FReSH is designed to accelerate transformational change in global food systems, to reach healthy, enjoyable diets for all, that are produced responsibly within planetary boundaries. 

To achieve this ambitious goal, FReSH has brought business and science to work together. It draws on knowledge and efforts from premier research institutions, and is working with the business community to develop successful, high-impact solutions. 

The following companies are taking the lead:

The launch of FReSH follows the joint initiative announced by WBCSD and the EAT Foundation to create the “conference of parties” for food, in order to accelerate the transformation towards a healthy and sustainable global food system. The partnership was formally launched at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum on 14 June 2016.

‘What we eat and how we produce it drives some of our greatest health and environmental challenges. On the other hand, getting it right on food is our greatest opportunity to improve the health of people and planet. This will require concerted action across disciplines and sectors – and business will be a key part of the solution’ – Gunhild Stordalen, Founder and President, EAT Foundation.

Why FReSH? 

Close to 100% of the food consumed across the world is produced and supplied by the private sector. This puts large and small businesses at the heart of the potential for transformational change in food systems all over the world. 

FReSH is a platform for the private sector to achieve this transformation in a safe and pre-competitive space. In cooperation with science, academia, policy-makers and civil society, FReSH will catalyze change across the food systems, taking into account local eating patterns, by focusing on the following work streams:

  1. Developing guidelines on healthy and sustainable diets taking into account social and environmental considerations;
  2. Food production adjustment, including formulation and offering to help achieve healthy and sustainable diets; 
  3. Food consumption reorientation to strengthen demand for healthy and sustainable diets;
  4. Improvement of food sourcing and reduction of food loss and waste
  5. Measurement, reporting and communicating progress.

FReSH draws on the findings of the reputable EAT-Lancet Commission on Healthy Diets, where a multi-disciplinary group of world-leading scientists are synthesizing existing evidence to establish targets for healthy and sustainable food systems. 

‘Clear science-based targets will help businesses create ambitious yet implementable solutions, which can then be brought forward to guide policy makers to provide the framework for local or global food systems transformation’ – Peter Bakker, President and CEO, WBCSD.

The business answer 

The World Economic Forum has launched a scenario report on the future of global food systems. This report identifies two critical uncertainties for the future of food systems – demand shift and market connectivity – and explores four potential scenarios they could create. 

Furthermore, the Business & Sustainable Development Commission has called for business leaders to take up the food systems challenges ahead of us. Meeting these challenges sustainably could unlock 14 business opportunities worth US$2.3 trillion annually by 2030, generating almost 80 million jobs. FReSH provides direct answers to these calls with an action agenda for concrete, meaningful and comprehensive measures. Additionally, the program will support the development of a Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) sector roadmap.

“The private sector has a role to play to make healthy and sustainable diets affordable, available and aspirational. The market shift will create large-scale opportunities for early adopters in business, as the report of the Business and Sustainable Development Commission clearly shows” – Feike Sijbesma, Chief Executive Officer & Chairman of the Managing Board DSM and Member of the Scaling Up (SUN) Lead Group. 

Companies are invited to contact WBCSD for engagement opportunities and to learn more about the program.  


Fokko Wientjes, Program Director 
+41 79 572 8815

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Background information 


  • Over 60% of people who live in extreme poverty work in agriculture and global inequalities are only exacerbating.
  • 800M people are undernourished and suffer from hunger.
  • In 2014, more than 1.9B adults were overweight, of whom 600M were obese
  • 1/3 of food produced is lost or wasted. This amounts to about 1.3 billion tons annually, with a global cost of more than $400B.
  • The Land Use sector is responsible for a quarter GHG emissions. Climate change-related natural disasters will put 1.3 billion people and $158tn of assets at risk by 2020. 

Change is necessary

The land-use sector is responsible for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change-related natural disasters will put 1.3 billion people and $158tn of assets at risk by 2020. 

A full-scale transformation is required to enable healthy diets while contributing to the socio- economic development and minimizing environmental impact and waste. Where traditionally the focus was on from farm to fork, it is now time to look at from fork to farm by putting the consumers’ needs and desires first and by looking at consumption, transportation, production and agriculture. 

How to take part 

Our shared vision is a world where everyone can choose to enjoy food that is healthy, accessible, affordable & produced in sustainable ways. Achieving a goal this complex needs all the related stakeholders at the table. No expert, government or individual can single-handedly change the way the world eats. In addition, FReSH needs the business community at large to be successful and impactful. 

Notes to Editors

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world. With the contribution of non-business partners, WBCSD helps make its member companies more successful and sustainable by focusing on the maximum positive impact for shareholders, the environment and societies.

WBCSD has extensive experience in leading collaborative initiatives, bringing together various stakeholders from business, NGO, the scientific community and governments. 

In the run-up to Paris, WBCSD and its members successfully set up Low Carbon Technology Partnership initiative (LCTPi), to define and implement large-scale or scalable, impactful business solutions, to reduce emissions and deliver against the agreed 2C target. This success of mobilizing business to drive the improvements will be repeated for sustainable food systems.

About the EAT Foundation
EAT is a global strategic initiative linking food, health and sustainability across science, business, civil society and policy. The EAT Foundation grew out of the Stockholm Food Forum, launched in 2013. The purpose of the Forum was – and is – to create a safe neutral environment where diverse players from the fields of science, business, politics and civil society can come together in dialogue to discuss the necessary shift of food systems towards greater sustainability, security and equity within the boundaries of our planet. Its aim is to create the primary meeting point for leaders seeking solutions in this space.

The recently formed EAT Foundation seeks the development of evidence-based policies and strategies to catalyze a major global transformation to healthier and more sustainable food systems. To achieve this EAT creates partnerships across a multitude of key stakeholders to address issues in four key work streams: 1) Strategic Alignment of the Field; 2) Business Engagement; 3) Government Engagement (Global, National and Regional/Local); and 4) Demand-side/Consumer Incentives. 

Without industry, change is not possible; without the basic science there is no evidence to stimulate change; without governments, progress will be far too slow; without populations worldwide advocating for new opportunities, governments will not respond quickly. It is a whole collective of players that must catalyze our push for systemic transformation. EAT, as a strategic platform, is filling the need for a global nexus to bring action with a unity of purpose to the diverse group of actors in the food system.


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