FMI – The Food Industry Association has joined forces with an alliance comprising farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates, known as the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA).
Formed this past February, FACA is co-chaired by the four founding groups: the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the National Farmers Union. The alliance has since grown to include not only FMI, but also the National Alliance of Forest Owners, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy.
Acknowledging the major role that the entire food-supply chain plays in climate solutions, the alliance’s partners have come together to develop and advance shared climate policy priorities. The group will present Congress with more than 40 recommendations regarding agricultural and forestry climate policy.
These recommendations include providing voluntary incentive-based tools and additional technical assistance for farmers, ranchers and foresters to maximize the sequestration of carbon and the reduction of other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and to increase climate resilience; fostering the development of private-sector greenhouse-gas markets, which should ensure that verifiable reductions occur, and provide farmers and forest owners with the necessary technical support to take part; incentivizing farmers to lower energy consumption and increase on-farm renewable energy production, and make continued progress toward reducing the lifecycle GHG emissions of agriculture- and forestry-based renewable energy; reducing the GHG impact of food waste and loss by streamlining confusing consumer packaging and forming a public-private partnership to achieve a workable food date-labeling program; and boosting federal investment in agriculture, forestry and food-related research considerably and on an ongoing basis.
“The wide array of perspectives represented in this group — farmers, ranchers, forest owners and environmental advocates — sends a powerful message to Capitol Hill about the urgent need for bipartisan climate legislation,” said Fred Krupp, FACA co-chair and president of the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. “More resilient farms and forests protect the agricultural economy, reduce risk from the climate impacts that are already here and help prevent worsening climate impacts in the future.”
“Addressing food and environmental concerns across the supply chain isn’t simple work,” noted Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of Arlington, Virginia-based FMI, in comments about climate change. “It will quite literally take farm to fork working together to make change.”
Added Sarasin: “Estimates show that anywhere from 25% to as much as 40% of food grown in the United States ends up as food waste. As a result, the resources invested in growing, raising, manufacturing and transporting this food are essentially wasted. Among the easiest and most important steps toward creating a safe, affordable and sustainable food supply is to ensure our existing resources are utilized as efficiently as possible. Tackling food waste is, therefore, an important step toward achieving the larger goals of FACA.”
According to Sarasin, the alliance understands that to deal with this issue, it’s important to help change shopper behavior, as “food waste education is key to encouraging consumers – and young people in particular – to focus on ways they can be successful agents of change in the broader climate change discussion.”