June 22, 2015

22/06/2015: Dr Madeleine K Albright: companies need to do well by doing good

Delivering the keynote address at AgriVision 2015, Dr Madeleine K Albright, former Secretary of State of the United States (1997-2001), says she believes food security is as much a moral and political issue as it is defined by markets and international agreements. And businesses have an important contribution to make by using their know-how to increase efficiency in the global agricultural market.

Addressing a record delegation of 400 AgriVision attendees from 45 countries, Dr Albright shared her views on the role of the private sector.

"When it comes to the private sector's involvement in issues of food security, I am one who believes that businesses have a responsibility to achieve growth in the right way. Companies need to do well by doing good," she said.

"First, I think leaders in global food and agriculture should to do more to engage on food security issues at a substantive level - going beyond just press releases and corporate social responsibility reports. That means placing a high value on the nutritional quality of food, a sustainable food supply, sensibly using water, and working to ensure climate security in all aspects of your business.
Beachfront at Noordwijk aan Zee, the venue for this year's Agrivision (Image: Filippo Diotalevi)
"Second, I think that private sector leaders need to be in continuous and candid dialogue with leaders in the public and non-profit sectors. Food insecurity is one of the most complex challenges of this century because it is a combination of so many other seemingly insurmountable challenges - including climate change, inequality, disease, conflict, and political unrest. Everyone one of these issues, and especially food insecurity, will require a multi-sector approach with key stakeholders working in concert if we expect to make true progress.

"And third, I think that private sector leaders in food and agriculture need to pay special attention to the smallholder farmers, who are mostly women, who bear much of the global burden of agricultural production but see little of its profit."

Highlighting the importance of increasing efficiency, Dr Albright referred to the global trade in agriculture exceeding US$1 trillion each year. This is more than 200 times the annual operating budget of the World Food Program. That means a one percent annual gain in the efficiency of global agriculture markets could free up enough money to cover all global food aid costs many times over.

About AgriVision
AgriVision has been organised biennially by Nutreco since 2000 and facilitates an informed discussion at a strategic level on current and future concerns in the protein food chain. AgriVision aspires to shift mindsets, develop new ideas, build networks and inspire approaches for the benefit of all those involved in the feed-to-food chain. More information can be found HERE.

The Global Miller
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