Investor Letter

Global Roadmap to 2050 for Food and Agriculture

In this letter, investors representing $18 trillion in combined assets called on the FAO to produce a Global Roadmap to 1.5˚C, Nature and Nutrition Security Goals.

On Wednesday 9 November at COP27, FAO Deputy Director, Zitouni Ould-Dada, confirmed work is underway to produce a roadmap for the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector to align with 1.5C by 2050 – aiming for publication by COP28.

Investor Letter

Letter to Mr Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization

We, the undersigned, representing over US$18 trillion in combined assets, welcome the steps the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has taken over the past years in strengthening food security, building resilience, and striving to mitigate climate change. In order to support the achievement of these goals, we are calling on the FAO to deliver a clear roadmap for the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector to a sustainable global food system by 2050. Given its mandate and reputation as the UN agency leading global efforts to build resilience, defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security, the FAO is well placed to produce such a landmark report.

Currently, food systems account for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is the main threat to 86% of species at risk of extinction, whilst around three-quarters of the deforestation in the Amazon between 1978-2020 was caused by cattle ranching. Moreover, as the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land showed, all assessed modelled pathways that limit warming to 1.5ºC or well below 2°C require land-based mitigation and land-use change. While the environmental degradation caused by food systems is multifactorial, evidence shows that even if fossil fuel emissions were eliminated immediately, food system emissions alone would make it impossible to reach 1.5°C, and sustainable diets play a key role. In addition, agriculture is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, which has implications for food security.

As investors, we recognise the financially material risks to which the food system is exposed, from climate change, biodiversity loss, malnutrition, and antimicrobial resistance, as well as the material impacts that food system activities have on the environment. Accordingly, we urge the FAO to produce a global roadmap to 2050 that mitigates these risks and sets a standard for the industry. It is crucial that this roadmap aligns with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5˚C while ensuring the protection and restoration of nature, and achieving food and nutrition security goals.

At COP26, investors with more than US$12 trillion in collective assets called on G20 nations to disclose GHG emissions reduction targets in agriculture within or alongside their National Determined Contributions (NDCs), recognising the critical need to reduce the level of greenhouse gases emitted by the global agricultural supply chain. However, this highlighted the lack of a clear global roadmap to achieving the 1.5˚C goal in the agriculture and land-use sector, making it harder to set national and subnational targets. Moreover, a clear pathway is also needed for methane emissions, as agriculture accounts for about 40% of human-generated methane emissions and the UN has warned methane must be reduced in order to keep the 1.5˚C goal within reach.

Investors are increasingly aligning portfolios to address climate and nature risks. A central roadmap with key milestones can help investors align portfolios and engage with portfolio companies to minimise environmental impacts and exposure to climate and biodiversity risk. It should be clear to companies and other stakeholders in the sector, what volume of emissions must be mitigated to limit warming to 1.5°C, and the role each subsector must play in this mitigation. The International Energy Agency’s Net Zero roadmap has proven invaluable in demonstrating the pathway for the energy sector, and a similar pathway is now needed for agriculture. Investors have already played a crucial role in accelerating the energy transition in recent years, and with the right tools, investors can support a global food system transition.

Given its mandate and reputation, the FAO would be well placed to deliver this landmark roadmap, building on its 2018 report exploring ‘Alternative Pathways to 2050’ and other existing research. As investors, we are ready to support such efforts.

Thank you for considering our request, and we look forward to your response and our continued collaboration on this important topic.

Yours Sincerely,

Investor Signatories

Align ImpactAlliance Bernstein
Allianz Investment Management SEAlwyn Capital
AP7a.s.r. Asset Management
Atlas Responsible InvestorsAustralian Ethical
Aviva InvestorsB & Capital
Baseline Wealth ManagementBig Idea Ventures
BNP Paribas Asset ManagementBoston Trust Walden
Canada Post Corporation Pension PlanCANDRIAM
Capital Fund Management (CFM) S.A.Capital Group
CapzaCastlefield Investment Partners
Clear Skies Investment ManagementColler Capital
ComgestDegroof Petercam Asset Management (DPAM)
Domini Impact Investments LLCEdenTree Investment Management Ltd
EFG Asset ManagementEOS at the International Business of Federated Hermes
Evenlode Investment Management LtdFederated Hermes Limited
Fidelity InternationalFuture Super
Genesis Investment Management, LLPGreater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF)
Impact InvestorsLAPFF
Impax Asset ManagementLänsförsäkringar AB
Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM)LocalTapiola Asset Management Ltd
MirovaMontanaro Asset Management
Natural Investments LLCNational Employment Savings Trust (NEST)
Northern LGPSOssiamt
Pictet GroupResona Asset Managemen
River and Mercantile LLCRize ETF
Strathclyde Pension FundSwedbank Robur Fonder AB
Unovis Asset ManagementVancity Investment Management
VeronorteThe UN-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance