US$1bn fund to boost sustainable farming launched by Rabobank and UN Environment

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18 Oct 2017 --- A new initiative is underway to help farmers transition to sustainable practices to keep pace with increasing demand from consumers and food companies for more supply chain transparency. Rabobank’s program, Kickstart Food, is all about accelerating the transition to a sustainable food supply. One of the first steps in this program will be the launch of a one billion dollar facility to initiate land restoration and forest protection initiatives.

Focus on four food issues
The facility is launched in partnership with UN Environment and marks the start of a three-year initiative to kick-start and scale-up Rabobank’s support for clients and partners in the transition to a more sustainable food and agricultural sector. 

The Kickstart Food initiative has four key focus areas: Earth, waste, stability and nutrition and the new facility is part of the first focus area, Earth, which is centered on sustainable and environmentally sound food production. 

The Waste program will focus on reducing food waste throughout the food supply chain, while the Stability program aims to create a more stable and resilient food and agricultural sector. The Nutrition program will focus on ensuing a healthy and balanced diet for everyone. 

“Our global lead role in financing food production urges us to accelerate developments on the sustainable food supply. With our knowledge, networks and financing capabilities we aim to further motivate and facilitate clients in adopting a more sustainable food production practice globally,” says Chairman of the Rabobank Executive Board, Wiebe Draijer.

“We are proud of this major initiative with the UN Environment. We will engage others to expand the initiative. It fits very well with our mission of growing a better world together.”  

With this mission, Rabobank embraces the UN Sustainable Development Goals. With the world’s population growing towards nine billion, the decline in available arable land, and the impact of agriculture on climate change and the environment; food production is now at a critical juncture. 

Therefore, Rabobank is increasing its support for efforts to increase food production by at least 60 percent towards 2050, while reducing the sector’s environmental footprint by 50 percent.

Rabobank is actively promoting sustainability certification for its clients around the world and is also advising them on sustainable production methods and soil management. 

The facility, together with UN Environment, aims to offer grants and open the door for clients to initiate large-scale land restoration and forest protection projects. It positively affects their risk profile, which leads to easier access to loans. 

Building on existing initiatives
Significant progress has already been made in many areas by Rabobank. For example, in Brazil Rabobank has been promoting and financing Integrated Crop, Livestock and Forestry (ICLF) farming. Working with the World Wildlife Fund and local partners it will endeavor to restore underutilized or degraded arable land under the management of Brazilian farmers owning 17 million hectares (42 million acres).

Together with clients and influential partners such as UN Environment, the WWF and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Rabobank will increase and scale similar efforts around the world. A kickstart with Justdiggit will also be prepared in Africa.
 
This joint effort with UN Environment is designed to be an open platform for others to join. Rabobank invites stakeholders from across the entire food and agricultural sector to join the Kickstart Food program.

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