Healthy people, healthy planet. Our future depends on sustainable food systems

While right now the key factor is the survival of the supply chain, after overcoming the pandemic it will also be necessary to address the challenge of sustainable food systems, which play an essential role in maintaining the health of people and the planet – highlighted Diane Holdorf on 1 April, 2020 during BCSDH’s virtual business breakfast and Action 2020 Forum that focused on food and biodiversity, with close 100 participants.

Diane Holdorf, Managing Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Food and Nature program, delivered a highly successful and thoughtful presentation at the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Hungary’s (BCSDH) Virtual Business Breakfast and Action 2020 Forum. The business breakfast of the organization, which has 92 member companies responsible for 30% of Hungarian GDP, was followed by a workshop with company executives and experts. This served the purpose of helping the business sector to take real steps forward in the area of food sustainability and biodiversity.

In his opening remarks, Attila Chikán Jr., President of BCSDH, emphasized: “In the field of sustainable development, we often say that business as usual is no longer viable and cannot be allowed to continue. Now the world has turned on its head because of coronavirus. Business is anything but ordinary. While some sustainability aspirations are being neglected, it is our common responsibility to develop new impetus for climate protection and to create a sustainable world once our current problems are solved. Thus the professional work continues at BCSDH.”

Agriculture is estimated to be responsible for 23% of GHG emissions, as well as around 80% of deforestation and 70% of freshwater use worldwide. Hungary has one of the largest proportions of  obese people in Europe, and produces about 1.8 million tons of food waste each year, about a quarter of which comes from households. Around 46% of Hungary’s total area is arable land, about 60% of which is threatened by soil degradation, and has very low ecosystem service capacity and biodiversity.

“We are living in challenging times, and the pace of change has accelerated. Our future depends on our ability to create a system that supports healthy people and a healthy planet. We have been able to produce a great amount of food for the world’s population, and there are already solutions that allow us to feed the growing population. But our current systems make demands that go way beyond the resources of our planet” – explained Diane Holdorf.

The business breakfast was followed by a virtual Action 2020 Professional Forum, the primary purpose of which was to initiate joint thinking and work in the business sector that will make a real impact. A total of 60 corporate executives, professionals, academic and civilian experts participated in four groups at the forum. Sixty companies have already joined the program.

The main objective of the Action 2020 Hungary program is to promote the creation of a sustainable, safe, and local food production and supply system, which can provide everyone with a healthy, balanced diet, while also restoring and preserving biodiversity.