Research ArticleSCIENCE POLICY

Actions on sustainable food production and consumption for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

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Science Advances  19 Mar 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 12, eabc8259
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc8259
  • Fig. 1 Proposed key actions and enabling conditions.

    Together, these can support a transformative post-2020 global biodiversity framework to achieve sustainable food production and consumption. Actions 7 and 8 are cross-cutting strategic actions, which affect or are affected by the implementation of all other actions. Action 7 includes integrating biodiversity into national and local planning, development processes, and poverty reduction and accounts, and Action 8 refers to strengthening governance of the sustainable production and consumption of food systems to conserve and enhance biodiversity through the following: implementation of relevant laws and policies, agreeing to harmonized indicators to measure progress, allocating and funding monitoring bodies, and creating a system of robust and transparent reporting and use of enforcement mechanisms. The full list of proposed actions (including research, innovation, policy, and management) is available in table S2.

  • Table 1 Key actions from science-policy fora and their proposed targets and indicators.

    OECD, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    ActionCBD Updated Zero
    Draft target
    Proposed targetsProposed indicators
    1. Remove
    incentives that
    make food
    production and
    consumption
    harmful to
    biodiversity
    E. 12. (c) 17.By 2025, parties identify incentives harmful to
    biodiversity.
    Number of countries with policy plans for removal
    or reform of incentives harmful to biodiversity.
    Percentage of harmful subsidies removed and/or
    redirected (e.g., at least 50% by 2030, 100% for
    2050).
    By 2025, develop policy plans, including a prioritized list
    of measures, with timelines, leading to the eventual
    removal, phase-out, or reform of incentives harmful to
    biodiversity
    Sector-level government financial transfers to
    agriculture [Organisation for Economic
    Co-operation and Development (OECD)
    databases].
    By 2025, redirect capacity-enhancing subsidies (subsidy
    programs that lead to disinvestments in natural capital
    assets once the fishing capacity develops to a point
    where resource exploitation exceeds the Maximum
    Economic Yield) to support sustainable activities.
    Proportion of assessed fish stocks that are
    overfished [Food and Agriculture Organization
    of the United Nations (FAO) statistics].
    2. Accounting for
    true value and
    true costs of
    production by
    sector
    E. 12. (c) 13.By 2025, a system of natural capital accounting is
    developed including economic, cultural, social,
    intrinsic, and intergenerational values of biodiversity,
    including diverse conceptualization of multiple values
    of nature.
    Frequency of use of valuation tools that assess the
    diverse conceptualization of multiple values of
    nature and its benefits.
    Number of countries that have developed natural
    capital accounting systems in their National
    Development Plans, which take into account the
    explicit role of nature into poverty reduction
    strategies and other key development plans, by
    including economic, cultural, social, intrinsic,
    and intergenerational values of biodiversity.
    3. Reduce food
    waste and loss
    across supply
    chains
    Not explicitly
    mentioned. Other
    relevant targets: E.
    12. (b) 9, E. 12. (c)
    14, E. 12. (c) 15.
    By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail
    and consumer levels and reduce food losses along
    production and supply chains, including postharvest
    losses.
    Use of Accounting and Reporting Standard (Food
    Loss and Waste Protocol Standard).
    Number of countries reporting to Global Food Loss
    Index and National Food Loss Index.
    4. Strengthen
    sustainability
    standards and
    certification
    Not explicitly
    mentioned. relevant targets: E.
    12. (b) 9, E. 12. (c)
    14, E. 12. (c) 15.
    By 2025, sustainability certification standards strengthen
    biodiversity requirements, including No Net Loss as a
    minimum and management and monitoring of
    conservation areas (e.g., areas of High Conservation
    Value as specified in standards).
    Number of companies with biodiversity
    commitments/policies and their market share.
    By 2025, producing governments require minimum
    sustainability standard for export.
    Number of companies reporting against SMART
    biodiversity indicators.
    By 2025, consuming countries require sustainability
    certification for import of high-biodiversity risk
    commodities.
    % of ISEAL Alliance members with stronger
    biodiversity requirements, including No Net
    Loss as a minimum, and management and
    monitoring of conservation areas (e.g., High
    Conservation Value areas).
    By 2025, sustainable public procurement plans adopted
    by governments.
    By 2025, sustainability certification standards include
    recognition of need for enhancing agrobiodiversity,
    land sharing, and multifunctionality.
    Use of Biodiversity Impact Indicators for
    Commodity Production (BIICP).
    By 2025, standards include recognition and autonomous
    rights of indigenous people and local communities.
    5. Promote the use
    of life cycle
    assessments
    Not explicitly
    mentioned. Other
    relevant targets: E.
    12. (b) 9; E. 12. (c)
    14; E. 12. (c) 15.
    By 2025, Life Cycle Assessment and ecological footprints
    are made freely available to the consumer when
    buying a product.
    Ecological footprint across life cycle of product.
    By 2025, data are aggregated and monitored at municipal/
    national levels using standardized protocols.
    By 2025, Life Cycle Assessment reporting includes multiple
    stakeholders, e.g., small-scale farmers and informal markets.
    Number of products with life cycle assessments.
    By 2025, waste management is tracked and disclosed at
    all levels of Life Cycle Assessments.
    6. Promote
    sustainable and
    varied diets
    Not explicitly
    mentioned. Relevant
    targets: E. 12. (b) 8, E.
    12. (b) 9; E. 12. (c) 15.
    By 2025, develop dietary guidelines that address health
    and environmental sustainability, promoting a more
    diverse and nutritionally balanced diet of fruits,
    vegetables, meat, and seafood.
    Number of countries with dietary guidelines that
    address both health and sustainability.
    Meat consumption kilograms per capita.
    Seafood consumption kilograms/capita (FAO
    statistics).
    By 2025, develop incentives for redirecting reduction
    fisheries (i.e., fisheries, often on lower trophic levels,
    that process their catch into fish meal or fish oil) to
    direct human consumption.
    Quantities of reduction fisheries (FAO statistics).
    By 2025, develop incentives for increased mariculture of
    edible sea plants and filter feeders.
    Quantities of maricultured sea plants and filter
    feeders (FAO statistics).
    Financial incentives for environmentally friendly and
    healthy food production and consumption.
    SDG 12.1.1 Number of countries with sustainable
    consumption and production (SCP) national
    action plans or SCP mainstreamed as a priority
    or a target into national policies.
    By 2025, schools provide sustainable varied meals to
    children up to the age of 12, following the dietary
    guidelines.
    SDG 2.1.2 Prevalence of moderate or severe food
    insecurity in the population, based on the Food
    Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES).
    7. Mainstream
    biodiversity
    considerations
    in food systems
    (cross-cutting)
    E. 12. (c) 13, E. 12. (c)
    14, E. 12. (c) 15, E. 12.
    (c) 16; E. 12. (c) 17; E.
    12. (c) 18; E. 12. (c) 19,
    E. 12. (c) 20.
    Cross-cutting action: Implementation of actions contributes to mainstreaming biodiversity (Fig. 1). Includes
    integrating biodiversity into national and local planning, development processes, and poverty reduction and
    accounts.
    8. Strengthen
    governance of
    sustainable food
    production and
    consumption
    (cross-cutting)
    G. 14. (a), G. 14. (b), G.
    14. (g), H. 15, H. 16, H.
    17, H. 18.
    Cross-cutting action: Strengthening governance within and beyond the CBD contributes to the implementation
    of actions and creates “enabling conditions” for effectiveness (Fig. 1). Undertaken through implementation of
    relevant laws and policies, agreeing to harmonized indicators to measure progress, allocating and funding
    monitoring bodies, and creating a system of robust and transparent reporting and use of enforcement
    mechanisms.
  • Table 2 Summary of actions related to sustainable food production and consumption in the SDGs, Aichi Targets, the CBD Zero Draft, and the CBD Updated Zero Draft.

    Full policy wording in table S3.

    ActionsSDGsAichi TargetsCBD Zero DraftCBD Updated Zero Draft
    1. Remove incentives that make
    food production and
    consumption harmful to
    biodiversity
    2.b, 14.6.3D. 12. (c) 12.E. 12. (c) 17.
    2. Accounting for true value and
    true costs of production by
    sector
    15.92D. 12. (c) 13.E. 12. (c) 13.
    3. Reduce food waste and loss
    across supply chains
    12.3Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant target: 4.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: D.
    12. (b) 8, D. 12. (c) 14, D.
    12. (c) 17.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: E.
    12. (b) 9, E. 12. (c) 14, E 12.
    (c) 15.
    4. Strengthen sustainability
    standards and certification
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets:
    2.4, 12.6, 14.4.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: 4,
    6, 7
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: D.
    12 (b) 8, D. 12 (c) 14, D. 12
    (c) 17.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: E.
    12. (b) 9, E. 12. (c) 14, E. 12.
    (c) 15.
    5. Promote the use of life cycle
    assessments
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets:
    2.4, 8.4.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant target: 4.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: D.
    12. (c) 14; D. 12. (c) 17.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: E.
    12. (b) 9; E. 12. (c) 14; E. 12.
    (c) 15.
    6. Promote sustainable and varied
    diets
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets:
    2.4, 14.4.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Other relevant targets: 6,
    7.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Relevant target: D. 12. (c)
    17.
    Not explicitly mentioned.
    Relevant targets: E. 12. (b)
    8, E. 12. (b) 9; E. 12. (c) 15.
    7. Mainstream biodiversity
    considerations in food systems
    (cross-cutting)
    8.44, 19.I. 8. (i), D. 12. (c) 12, D. 12. (c)
    13, D. 12. (c) 14, D. 12. (c)
    15, D. 12. (c) 16, D. 12. (c)
    17, D. 12. (c) 18, D. 12. (c)
    19, D. 12. (c) 20.
    E. 12. (c) 13, E. 12. (c) 14, E. 12.
    (c) 15, E. 12. (c) 16; E. 12. (c)
    17; E. 12. (c) 18; E. 12. (c)
    19, E. 12. (c) 20.
    8. Strengthen governance of
    sustainable food production
    and consumption (cross-cutting)
    2.4, 8.4, 9.4, 12.2, 16.6,
    16.7, 16.8.
    4, 7, 13, 17, 18.8. (d), 8. (f), 8. (g), F. 14. (g), G.
    16. (a), G. 16. (b), Annex I
    I. B. 3.
    G. 14. (a), G. 14. (b), G. 14. (g),
    H. 15, H. 16, H. 17, H. 18.
  • Table 3 Cross-cutting challenges and enabling conditions in implementing actions for the sustainable production and consumption of food.

    NGOs, nongovernment organizations.

    ChallengesEnabling conditions to overcome challengesSupporting key actions
    Existing economic development trajectories,
    including “agriculture for development” through
    large-scale high-input farming.
    Consideration of more diverse and equitable development pathways
    including consideration of biodiversity in food production systems and
    development projects (ecological intensification, agroecology).
    1, 7, 8
    Synergies with other global sustainability agendas.7, 8
    Focusing on accountability of key (and sometimes less visible) industries in
    demanding sustainable change (e.g., commodity traders).
    7, 8
    Clear standards and protocols for reporting against targets on biodiversity
    and sustainable production and consumption, to be developed and used
    by all actors and stakeholders in the production and consumption chain.
    3, 4, 5, 7, 8
    Gathering more data and establishing harmonized indicators to measure
    effectiveness and track progress of policies on sustainable consumption
    and production and links with biodiversity.
    4, 7, 8
    Lack of/weak regulation of unsustainable
    production and consumption.
    Political will and integrative governance.7, 8
    Lack of a unified food system perspective using
    important complementarities of agriculture, fishery,
    and aquaculture to optimize nutritional value and
    biodiversity.
    Progressive regulation by governments to support more sustainable
    production and consumption (i.e., national strategies and action plans
    for sustainable consumption and production) to enhance the power of
    environmental norms.
    8
    Conflicting objectives between stakeholders
    (e.g., nongovernmental organizations and
    companies) and within stakeholder groups (e.g.,
    between government departments).
    Taxation and levies to support biodiversity monitoring and research and
    pro-poor objectives in food supply chains; incorporating and supporting
    Life Cycle Assessment and standards.
    4, 5, 7, 8
    Lack of compliance by governments against CBD
    requirements related to food production and
    consumption.
    Setting specific goals to national contexts, matching global targets; more
    effective compliance mechanisms within and beyond the CBD through
    greater accountability for industry and government practices.
    7, 8
    Strong resistance from corporate actors and lack of
    accountability for private sector and effects on
    biodiversity; industry lobbying and political power
    maintains business as usual.
    Greater engagement and inclusive processes in CBD by agents beyond
    conservation professionals, including policy-makers and practitioners in
    economic, industry, and trade sectors.
    7, 8
    Lack of transparency of trade agreements, supply
    chains, and commodity prices.
    Partnerships, businesses demonstrating leadership through use of
    science-based equitable commitments (including to “no net loss” and
    restoration activities), strengthening accountability, compliance, transparency, Life Cycle Assessment, and standards.
    4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Progressive laws and regulations to hold private sector to account
    (including in no net loss and restoration activities).
    8
    Uncertainties/complexity in understanding the
    direct and indirect impacts of food production and
    consumption patterns.
    Mutual learning and support: connecting science and policy actors,
    indigenous and local knowledge; appreciating and exchanging
    respective multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary knowledges.
    7, 8
    Interdisciplinary scientific and local/indigenous
    knowledge undervalued.
    Change in behavior at all levels (governments, business, producers, and
    consumers).
    7, 8
    Sociocultural factors and perceptions of individual
    rights, e.g., increasing meat consumption globally;
    inequality and uneven consumption patterns; and
    lack of consideration of food waste.
    Shifts in individuals’ perspectives, including appreciation of diverse
    conceptualizations of links between food and nature through
    community education activities.
    7, 8
    Learning how diverse and alternative visions and narratives of sustainability
    consider trade-offs and outcomes in relation to sustainable production
    and consumption of food.
    7, 8
  • Table 4 Agents and actions for change to create enabling conditions for transformative changes in food production and consumption for the post-2020 biodiversity framework.

    AgentsActions for changeKey actions
    Small-/medium-scale farmersDiversification of production activities; recognizing importance of biodiversity; collective
    action with other farmers, including to establish wildlife corridors with other land users;
    and engagement with standards and ecological intensification
    3, 4
    Large-scale producersDiversification of production activities; integrating values/costs of biodiversity; science-
    based commitments and targets and transparent reporting on progress (including to no
    net loss and restoration activities); promote agrobiodiversity, ecological intensification,
    agroecology; compliance with sustainability standards and legal requirements; and
    scrutiny over transactions including “publish what you pay” for agribusiness
    2, 3, 4, 5, 7
    CitizensAwareness of biodiversity impacts in supply chains; shifts in perceptions and behavior
    (reduced consumption of unsustainable foods, diet); social learning; citizens assemblies;
    hold industry and government to account; citizens assemblies; local green politics;
    urban farming
    3, 6, 8
    Local communities and indigenous
    peoples
    Hold industry and government to account; citizens assemblies; local green politics; urban
    farming; and value and maintain local and traditional knowledge related to food
    2, 4, 8
    Local/regional governmentsHold industry to account; sustainable procurement; taxation; awareness campaigns; and
    stronger anti-corruption measures
    7, 8
    Non-governmental organizations/
    Civil society organizations
    Holding governments and industry to account to recognize and address biodiversity loss
    and links with production and consumption of food; education of consumers;
    supporting activist groups; strengthening standards; and strict requirements for
    engaging with business
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    BusinessesLegal compliance; companies adopt doughnut economics model; science-based
    commitments (including to no net loss and restoration activities); companies held to
    account and able to demonstrate compliance with regulations and standards;
    transparency of reporting; resources dedicated to implementation of strong
    commitments including social aspects and meaningful engagement with diverse range
    of stakeholders; financing independent legal support where needed; internalizing costs
    of monitoring; sustainable procurement; and diverse business models including social
    enterprises and cooperatives
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Consultants/ExpertsGreater independence and codes of conduct on representation of private interests; peer
    review; and integrating local and traditional knowledge
    2, 3
    GovernmentsMonitoring; review current incentive programs; enforcement of regulations; support to
    low-income groups for sustainable healthy diets; stronger controls of advertising
    encouraging unsustainable product purchases; taxation/levies; supporting alternative
    development pathways: GDP alternatives (incorporation of quality of life/well-being/
    just sustainability); anticorruption measures; delivering awareness campaigns to citizens
    and businesses; develop and democratize natural capital accounting systems that
    incorporate noneconomic values; regulate companies to reduce and report on food loss
    and waste reduction; and require, develop and support standards for sustainable
    production and consumption
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Standards bodiesStrengthen compliance and assurance mechanisms of standards; introducing stronger
    biodiversity aspects in standards; strengthen transparency measures; shift from single
    commodity certification to valuing diverse landscape use and agroecology; and valuing
    diverse perspective and knowledges
    3, 4, 8
    Research communitiesExchanging multidisciplinary knowledge with policy communities; valuing diverse
    perspective and knowledges; supporting social and technological innovation; and
    attention to justice and equity concerns, capacity building, methodologies for
    accountability including in no net loss and restoration activities
    2, 5, 6, 8
    Funding agenciesConsistently including biodiversity concerns in financing decisions; use of mitigation
    hierarchy (for limiting as far as possible the negative impacts on biodiversity from
    development projects) including clear “no development” option if biodiversity loss
    too great; considerations of funding habitat restoration; and microcredit schemes
    for biodiversity
    7, 8
    Private investorsEngagement with biodiversity issues and sustainable production and consumption;
    incorporating strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria into screening
    processes; divestment from most harmful industries; promotion of or engagement in
    development and inclusion of biodiversity driven standards along the supply chain, Life
    Cycle Assessment; and invest in income-sensitive, efficient storage technologies
    5, 7, 8

Supplementary Materials

  • Supplementary Materials

    Actions on sustainable food production and consumption for the post-2020 global biodiversity framework

    Izabela Delabre, Lily O. Rodriguez, Joanna Miller Smallwood, Jörn P. W. Scharlemann, Joseph Alcamo, Alexander S. Antonarakis, Pedram Rowhani, Richard J. Hazell, Dag L. Aksnes, Patricia Balvanera, Carolyn J. Lundquist, Charlotte Gresham, Anthony E. Alexander, Nils C. Stenseth

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