At the First Movers Coalition for Food panel at the World Economic Forum on incentives for sustainable agricultural production, Tomazoni cautioned against initiatives that would raise food costs, potentially hindering access to proper nutrition for more people. In the photos: the panel on Thursday in Switzerland
The importance of providing knowledge and access to financing to support small producers in the transition to sustainable food production, without allowing the cost of food to increase, was highlighted by Gilberto Tomazoni during a panel of the First Movers Coalition for Food on Thursday (18) at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
The Global CEO of JBS emphasized that the necessary technologies are already available. According to Tomazoni, “it’s a matter of coming together” – private and public sectors – to provide the necessary initial funding for farmers to adopt more sustainable practices, such as integrated Crop-Livestoph-Forest systems and regenerative agriculture. He also detailed the work that JBS and the industry in general are doing to test additives for cattle feed with the aim of reducing enteric methane emissions.
Tomazoni argued that it is essential to accelerate support for regenerative practices, especially on small rural properties, highlighting that agriculture is a key solution to two major global challenges – combating climate change and feeding the growing global population, which is expected to reach nearly 10 billion people by 2050, according to the UN.
The First Movers Coalition for Food is focused on leveraging the purchasing power of large companies and governments worldwide to encourage the adoption of more sustainable production methods, driving the development of low-carbon products. Food systems are responsible for 30% of greenhouse gas emissions but receive less than 4% of climate financing, Tomazoni emphasized. “Especially for small producers, access to initial capital is essential for transitioning to more sustainable practices, such as cocoa cultivation in addition to cattle farming, reducing the need for deforestation and ensuring productivity and income generation for small producers,” he said.
During the session, participants agreed that the role of food systems is at a turning point. The World Economic Forum estimates that $10 trillion, more than 12% of global GDP, is generated by the sector, which represents 40% of all jobs globally. Food production still accounts for over 70% of total global freshwater consumption.
“Throughout the entire food chain, we must help our producer partners adopt new technologies and manage their operations more sustainably, in accordance with the highest environmental standards,” said Tomazoni during the event. JBS sees sustainability as a significant opportunity to make processes more efficient. For the company, feeding the growing global population and contributing to climate change are challenges and opportunities that will only be seized in partnership with producers, as intended by the coalition.
JBS joined the First Movers Coalition for Food during COP28, held in Dubai at the end of last year, under the leadership of the World Economic Forum and with the support of the government of the United Arab Emirates and 19 other companies. According to Tomazoni, joint action will be crucial to overcome global challenges. “We need to join forces because this is one of the challenges we need to solve together – society, public sector, and private initiative. It is a fact that we need to feed the global population and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most important thing is to place farmers – people – at the center,” he emphasized.
Tomazoni also cited the example of the Green Offices in Brazil, an initiative by JBS aimed at supporting small producers in socio-environmental regularization and promoting low-carbon livestock practices. In addition, the JBS CEO commented on the company’s investment in Pará, which includes a pilot project for individual traceability of the cattle herd. In the state, the JBS Fund for the Amazon supports a project by the NGO Solidaridad benefiting 1,500 families.
The panel in Davos also featured Ramón Laguarta, President and CEO of PepsiCo; Megan Scarsella, Executive Director of the Eleven Foundation, and Axton Salim, Director and Board Member of Indofood.