Sustainability challenge and related SDGs

Around 930 million people around the world work in agriculture. That is about 27 % of all people employed. At the same time, about five billion hectares are used for agricultural production, representing 34% of the global land area, compared to 26% covered by forests and 18% which are wasteland. Agriculture, together with food production forms a key element for global well-being.

At the same time, the contribution to GDP and the wages earned are comparatively low. This means that exploitation is very likely in many parts of the global food and agriculture sector.
Exploitation doesn’t only affect workers, but also nature. This is not only unsustainable, but also involves significant risks on a global scale. Exploitation of land or marine ecosystems advances their destruction. Deforestation leads to soil degradation, flooding, erosion, and various other negative impacts on SDG 15 “Life on Land”. fields At the same time, underpaid workers fall into poverty and are malnourished. Hence, exploitation of workers hinders the achievement of SDG 1 “No Poverty” and SDG 2 “Zero Hunger”.


  • 1.No Poverty
  • 2.Zero Hunger
  • 15.Life On Land


Possible solutions and their contribution to achieving the SDGs

#CertifiedFood can solve several of these problems. Typical certified food products are coffee, cocoa or tropical fruits. Different certification systems around the world address the above issues, for example the Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or Global G.A.P. Each certification has a specific focus, but in general they endorse food produced using methods which support the three pillars of sustainability: economy, society and environment.
Economic stability and ecosystem health are often mutually dependent. Livelihoods are therefore an important aspect of the certifications. To lift rural populations out of poverty, certification can bring measurable financial benefits to farmers and forest communities.

#CertifiedFood is often built on community action: Individual members of a community are trained together and work together to achieve overarching local or regional goals. While no certification is a guarantee against human rights abuses, certification systems provide robust strategies for assessing worker safety, forced or child labour, low wages, gender inequality, or violations of indigenous peoples’ land rights.cacao beans
Forests are symbolic of the ecosystems that are protected under #CertifiedFood.

Education programs promote best practices to protect existing forests, prevent expansion of cropland into forests, and promote overall ecosystem health. Similarly, certification programs promote responsible land management practices, such as climate-smart agriculture that increases carbon storage in ecosystems that are already transformed. This increases resilience to drought, flooding, or erosion. Environmental considerations also include elements of food safety, waste and pollution management, and energy use.

Primarily related SDG Targets: 1.1, 1.2, 1.4, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, 15.6


Investment Rationale and Growth Potential

Over the past decade, most certification schemes have experienced steady growth. In the case of some crops certification has been driven by international agreements and regulations, which means certification is more common in these crops than in others. Overall, a sustainable global economy can only succeed if more food is certified. It is vital that ecosystems remain healthy, and workers can earn a dignified living. As more consumers become aware of important issues, we can expect a further increase in #CertifiedFood.

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